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Spirit of the Siskiyous

The Journals of a Mountain Naturalist

Mary Paetzel

Edited by Lee Webb and Jackie Elliott. Preface by Robert Michael Pyle.

7 × 10 inches. Full-color illustrations. Map. 192 pages.

1998. ISBN 978-0-87071-449-8. Paperback, $21.95.

For 25 years, Mary Paetzel roamed the Siskiyou Mountains of southwest Oregon, tracking rare plants and insects. A rugged land of peaks, canyons, and rushing rivers, the Siskiyous are renowned for their unusual plant life. A self-taught naturalist, Paetzel first came to these mountains as a pollen contractor for a pharmaceutical company. Traversing logging roads in an old Volkswagen bus and hiking the high country with her beloved dog Sal, Paetzel came to know the Siskiyous — their wildflowers, butterflies, bees and wasps, lichens, and birds — as few ever have.

Mary Paetzel recorded her wilderness experiences in a series of illustrated journals. Spirit of the Siskiyous gathers the best of these writings along with selections of Paetzel's paintings and drawings into a single volume. An important natural history of the Siskiyou Mountains, the book also documents a unique personal journey through a little-known, but fascinating, landscape.

Although at times outspoken in her criticism of the Forest Service, Paetzel later worked for the agency conducting species surveys in the Siskiyou National Forest. During this time, she discovered a rare colony of Mariposa copper butterflies and was instrumental in establishing several protected botanical sites.

It's to make readers aware of the fragile beauty of the Siskiyous and the urgent need to protect these wild places that Mary Paetzel has made her private journals — with their keen observations, fine wit, and demonstrated love of the land — available in this remarkable book.

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