A friend and neighbor of pianist Rose Chancler, Anne LaBastille (1935-2011) was quite a force of nature in her own right. In the New York Times, Dennis Hevesi writes, “The gratifying struggle for Anne LaBastille was how to balance her yearning for the serenity of solitude in the wilderness with her mission to let the world know, as best she could, that it must preserve wilderness.”
For most of her life, Anne LaBastille lived alone alongside the shores of a remote lake in the Adirondacks in a small log cabin that she, quite literally, built herself. It was in the Adirondacks that she wrote her four-volume Woodswoman autobiography.
A licensed Adirondack wilderness guide, Anne was an outspoken defender of her natural Adirondack surroundings and world renown and respected conservationist, advocate, and author. She served as a commission of the Adirondack Park Agency from 1975 to 1993. Honored by the World Wildlife Fund and the Explorers Club for her pioneering work in wildlife ecology both in the United States and Guatemala, she was also a contributing writer to the Sierra Club, National Geographic, and Backpacker as well as many other magazines and scientific journals. She also wrote a series of children’s books for Ranger Rick and published by the National Wildlife Foundation. Anne gave wilderness workshops, guided tours, and lectures for over forty years within the Adirondack Mountains and traveled around the world and worked with many non-profit organizations to study and alleviate the destructive effects of acid rain and pollution on lakes and wildlife.
Anne was also a noted wildlife photographer and participated in the Environmental Protection Agency’s DOCUMERICA program. The majority of these photos were taken in Upstate New York documenting a variety of subjects from wildlife and natural beauty of the region to environmental problems, urban sprawl, and everyday life in small towns.
In her later years, Anne bought a farm near Lake Champlain (still within the Adirondack Park) where she could take a break from the Adirondack Mountains harsh winters and gain the advantage and use of things such as electricity, phones and faxes so she could promote her books. It was there, by chance, she met Rose Chancler walking her dog.
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