Mist over the water


Restoration Leadership Award, 2002

“I am here tonight to join RESTORE in honoring Alexandra and Garrett Conover, whom I count not only among my closest and dearest friends but also among the greatest teachers and inspirations of my life.

restoration awardIn 1980, shortly after Garrett and Alexandra both graduated from College of the Atlantic, they founded their guiding service, North Woods Ways. In the years since, the fame of the Conovers and North Woods Ways has spread among wilderness paddlers and snowshoe travelers from Maine to Minnesota and across the Canadian North. For anyone who has enjoyed the privilege of a North Woods Ways trip, winter or summer, the reasons for that fame are obvious: The Conovers simply do everything better than anyone else. As Jym (St. Pierre, Maine Director of RESTORE: The North Woods) so rightly pointed out in his notes for this award, Alexandra and Garrett are not only masters of traditional north woods canoeing and camp craft, not only superb artisans who build their own wood–and–canvas canoes and make their own paddles and ash pack baskets, not only generous teachers who have passed their skills and knowledge on to apprentices and clients alike, not only the authors of those instant northwoods classic books Beyond the Paddle and Snow Walker’s Companion, not only public–spirited consultants to the Maine Professional Guides Association, the Maine Critical Areas Program, and the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, they are also untiring advocates for wilderness in Maine. We can all be grateful that, as Jym aptly puts it, they preach what they practice.

“Last year,” Jym wrote, “when RESTORE produced a video about changes happening in the Maine Woods and our proposed Maine Woods National Park, both Alexandra and Garrett agreed to be interviewed. Their comments in the film about the importance of getting away to the quiet places were inspiring.”

What I find so inspiring in Garrett and Alexandra’s example is how harmoniously they blend the wild and domestic. To travel with them is not to leave civilization behind and venture into the hostile and alien realm of the wild. It is, instead, a homecoming. They show us how, equipped with a few simple tools and the skills to use them, we humans can live in this continent’s wildest regions in safety and comfort. We can live there efficiently, gracefully, and elegantly, leaving hardly a trace of our presence behind us. That, it seems to me, is a mark of high culture.

So for these and many other gifts of friendship far too numerous to mention, I’ve dedicated this book, (Living Wild and Domestic: The Education of a Hunter-Gardener, available from North Woods Ways) to Alexandra and Garrett Conover. And so it gives me no end of pleasure tonight, too, to join with RESTORE in presenting them with a 2002 Restoration Leadership Award.”

Robert Kimber, author

Great Ones: 20th Century Heroes for a New Millenium, Outside Magazine, 1999

article featured in Outside Magazine(chosen with 5 others from the US)


Conservation Award, Natural Resources Council of Maine, 1997

conservation award


Caring for the Earth Award, 1995

caring for the earth awardQuebec/Labrador Foundation/Atlantic Center for the Environment. Finalist — for leadership in sustainable development and conservation in eastern Canada & New England. 1995


60 People who make New England New England,Yankee Magazine, 1995

conservation award