Wisconsin’s Wild Penokee Hills Book Showcases Area’s Beauty
and Importance to Lake Superior Watershed
In its 2014 release, Discovering the Penokees, Sweetwater Visions introduces readers to one of North America’s least known wild treasures, the Penokee Hills of northern Wisconsin. With over 100 stunning images, photographer/author Joel Austin details the beauty of the Penokees--both intimate and grand, accessible and remote, rugged and extremely fragile.
In these hills that are remnants of a 1.8 billion year-old mountain range, Austin explores the trails less travelled. His photos capture spring waterfalls in headlong rush and languid summer lakes mottled with lily pads; his images take readers to hard-won overlooks above a blaze of autumn and to ribboned rivers in winter white.
But Austin does more than show readers the beauty of the Penokees; he also sheds light on the very real threat to the area from a proposed open-pit taconite mine--the largest of its kind in the world. If this highly disruptive form of mining is allowed to go forward, Austin argues, more than just natural beauty will be destroyed.
Discovering the Penokees includes essays and other information on the economic, public health, and environmental impact of open-pit mining on local communities including the Bad River Indian Reservation, and on the watershed's rivers, forests, and associated wetlands (designated a “Wetland of International Importance” by the Ramsar Convention). The book also includes a map of the region and other references.
“I'm unapologetically anti-mine,” Austin concludes “but my main goal in this book is to inspire you to look at the facts yourself--and, using those facts, come to your own conclusion.”
In Joel’s words: “Whether you know the Penokees well or are just now learning about them, I hope that this book will motivate you to care what happens to this beautiful, wild place.” Mining is not the only possible future for the Penokees, and we can choose a better, more sustainable future for this area, focusing on the economic advantages of having such a beautiful natural landscape nearby. Joel writes: “Mining, by definition, cannot create a truly sustainable-in-the-long-term economy. Beauty and an intact and healthy ecosystem can.”
Foreword by Douglas Wood, bestselling author of Old Turtle and 30 other books.
The book inspires us to leave open other future possibilities for developing a sustainable economy, to preserve this landscape for future generations so they are able to stay, work and play here.
(Softcover, 160 pages, 126 color photos, map, guest essays, references)-- normally $28.95, currently on sale for $19.95
ON sale $19.95
Recommendations and Praise for Discovering the Penokees:
“The Penokee Hills are the source of clean, cold water that sustains the way of life and well-being of all creatures downstream--brook trout, sturgeon, wild rice, and humans on the Bad River Reservation as well as the surrounding communities. It charges the many wetlands, streams, waterfalls, artesian wells, the Kakagon Soughs, and ultimately Lake Superior. What happens in the Penokees happens to us all. What is at stake is both the way of life we all value up here and our survival. If a picture is worth a thousand words, Joel Austin’s new book, Discovering the Penokees, speaks volumes, and I hope it will capture the hearts and minds of others to take a stand for the Penokees.”
--Professor Joseph M. Rose, Tribal Elder of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe
“The Penokees are likely what you think of when you visualize the beauty of northern Wisconsin. Rising 1,200 feet above Lake Superior, the hills are thickly forested and give rise to dozens of streams and numerous waterfalls and harbor dozens of endangered species.The outstanding photographs in this book help illustrate what is at stake if we allow an out-of-state mining company to desecrate our natural heritage for their profit.”
--Spencer Black, former Wisconsin State Assembly Representative
“Discovering the Penokees captures the history, beauty, and importance of this now threatened place in a way that leaves no question as to why those who know the Penokees are forever committed to protecting them.”
--Anne Sayers, Program Director,
Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters
“Joel Austin has beautifully captured, in original text and quotes and, most particularly, in stunning photography, the essence of a little-known place, the Penokee Hills of northern Wisconsin....Joel Austin knows these hills and has adopted them in his heart. And he has taken it upon himself to help expand the circle of others who know and love them in a simple belief: that once people know and understand, they will do the right thing--act to protect and preserve a resource that, once lost, will be lost forever.”
--Douglas Wood, author of Old Turtleand 30 other books
“There are many strategies we can use to protect our natural resources for this generation and the next. We need everyone standing together: voters, check writers, sign makers and even attorneys. But we cannot forget that the power of art is as important as the power of the law. Joel Austin’s photography reminds us of the magnificent value of Wisconsin’s Penokee Hills and why our pristine wilderness is so important to defend.”
--Kimberlee Wright, Executive Director,
Midwest Environmental Advocates
“Now a new book on the Penokees is delivering a clarion call for big picture thinking, to care for the lake, the planet, and future generations. I have hiked the Penokees and explored its many gorgeous areas. The desecration of these highlands is destruction we cannot afford to let happen... I applaud and recommend this ambitious and important book.”
--Mike Link, author, Full Circle Superior
“If you want to know what’s at stake in the mining debate, you have only to page through Joel Austin’s Discovering the Penokees. His collection of exquisite photographs captures the essence of this rare, beautiful landscape artfully organized around the seasons. This is a book and a place to treasure.”
--Patty Loew, documentary film producer, author, and tribal member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe