Who is Anne LaBastille?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

Dr. Anne LaBastille is a nature photographer, ecologist, lecturer, and author who was born in New Jersey in 1935. Dr. LaBastille holds a B.S. in Conservation of Natural Resources from Cornell University, and an M.S. in Wildlife Management from Colorado State University. Her Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology is also from Cornell University. Dr. Anne LaBastille has also been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Ripon College in Wisconsin.

Part of Anne LaBastille's work involves protecting tropical rain forests.
Part of Anne LaBastille's work involves protecting tropical rain forests.

Dr. LaBastille has dedicated her life to natural conservation, the protection of wildlife, ecological study, and the preservation of wild lands. She has also worked on conservation projects in foreign countries, worked to protect tropical rain forests, and assisted in the efforts to find solutions for and ways to prevent acid rain. LaBastille has also worked in lake and land use planning.

She is best known for her autobiographical Woodswoman trilogy in which she chronicles and discusses her experiences building her own cabin on Black Bear Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. LaBastille’s life in her cabin on Black Bear Lake, which she built in 1965, has been likened to Thoreau’s life on Walden Pond. The first book in the trilogy, Woodswoman, was published in 1976. It was followed up by Beyond Black Bear Lake, which came out in 1987. A decade later, in 1997, the third book, Woodswoman III, was released.

In addition to the Woodswoman series, Dr. LaBastille has published books for children, other non-fiction titles, a book of essays, and a series of profiles of other women who have made their lives in the wilderness. LaBastille has also penned dozens of articles and over 25 scientific papers. Among other publications, her articles have appeared in National Geographic and Sierra Club. She has been honored for her work both in America and Guatemala by the Explorers Club and the National Wildlife Federation. Dr. Anne LaBastille has been awarded the Gold Medal from the Society of Woman Geographers, which she received in 1993. The following year, in 1994, she was honored with the Roger Tory Peterson Award for National Nature Educator.

A list of Dr. Anne LaBastille’s book-length publications is as follows:

  • Woodswoman: Living Alone in the Adirondack Wilderness
  • Woodswoman II: Beyond Black Bear Lake
  • Woodswoman III: Book Three of the Woodswoman's Adventures
  • Women and Wilderness
  • Jaguar Totem : The Woodswoman Explores New Wildlands & Wildlife
  • Mama Poc: An Ecologist's Account of the Extinction of a Species
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments


Having just discovered her books, I am saddened to learn that Ms. Bastille has passed away. I think she was an extraordinary woman -- not too many people give up indoor plumbing and electricity for so many years as she did, not to mention using an outhouse! I am sorry to learn she died in a nursing home.

No doubt, she would have preferred to pass away at her beloved cabin on the lake, surrounded by all of the animals she loved.


Many of you might not know this, but Anne died July 1, 2011. So sad.


I got to know Anne back in the 1960s when we met on the Adirondack trail during a severe thunderstorm and spent the night trying to stay dry and warm in one of the trails lean-tos. She is quite a lady and I am fortunate to have several of her books, each autographed with a very touching tribute to the friendship which grew out of that night many years ago.

Annie and I lost touch with each other in the last 15 years or so, thus it was rather sad to learn that she is now confined to a nursing home. Always a free-spirit, this is so untypical Annie. You are in my prayers, sweet lady.


Last time I heard anything about her she was in a retirement home due to her health. I have read many of her books (have signed copies) She was truly a beautiful woman!


Does anyone know what happened to Dr. LaBastille? What an amazing woman!


Anne was a wonderful individual whose life has been well worth following. Her photography works are worth seeing along with her work in Central America for the environment. To know her a long time ago was indeed a total pleasure.


Just loved her life. I was very opposite of Anne, and while I enjoyed my GS dog (Mara), I lived in the "burbs". Wished many nights, that I could have been "Anne", instead of just "Rosemary". Even own, and still wear, a true "Woodswoman hat" (dark green). Thanks for the memories.

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