When Ed Kanze moved to the Adirondacks in 2000, he was moving to an area his ancestors had been connected to since 1797. It was like coming home, even though he had grown up in New York’s Westchester County and had traveled and worked all over the country and abroad.
In his new memoir, Adirondack: Life and Wildlife in the Wild, Wild East (SUNY Press, 2014), Kanze brings the unique history of this area to life by sharing stories about many of his ancestors, including an aunt treated for tuberculosis and a great-great-grandfather who owned tanneries, a lumber business and a hotel, and who also served as a judge and assemblyman.
A naturalist and licensed guide, Kanze got his love of the outdoors from his grandfather, who took him on long fishing trips when he was a kid. In addition to the history in Adirondack, he also provides a crash course in Adirondack geology, climate, flora, and fauna.
“One thing I was trying to accomplish was to give the Adirondack region the highly personal naturalist narrative it deserves. The Catskills have John Burroughs’s works, Yosemite and Alaska John Muir’s celebrations, Walden Pond and the Maine woods Thoreau’s exquisite treatments, yet the Adirondacks have largely gone unsung by naturalists,” Kanze says. “In Adirondack, I’ve attempted to do a bit of the singing my home place deserves.”
Ed Kanze lives on the Saranac River with his wife, Debbie, and their children, Tasman and Ned. He’s been a contributing writer and columnist for the Adirondack Explorer for more than a decade, and his stories have also appeared in Adirondack Life, the Conservationist, and here at Adirondack Almanack among others. His weekly newspaper column “All Things Natural” has been published continuously for a quarter century and currently appears in Bedford’s Record-Review. He’s the author of several books, and this summer you will find him leading nature walks at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake.
Note: Books noticed at Adirondack Almanack have been provided by their publishers.