The Last Wilderness: Alaska's Rugged Coast


The Last Wilderness is the remarkable memior by conservation expert Michael McBride of pursuing a dream of living on the land and raising a family in wilderness isolation. After fifteen years of dedication and struggle, they built the environmentally conscious Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge. Their story conveys the beauty, joy, and dangers of Alaska and the people they came to know. Beautifully written with humorous stories of people and events, this is a book everyone who likes ...

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The Last Wilderness is the remarkable memior by conservation expert Michael McBride of pursuing a dream of living on the land and raising a family in wilderness isolation. After fifteen years of dedication and struggle, they built the environmentally conscious Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge. Their story conveys the beauty, joy, and dangers of Alaska and the people they came to know. Beautifully written with humorous stories of people and events, this is a book everyone who likes adventure and eco-travel must read.

When I first saw [Kachemak Bay], I fell hopelessly in love. . . . Standing on the bluff overlooking the bay, I pointed to the prettiest place I could see across the miles of blue-green water and thought to myself, "I'm going to spend the rest of my life right down there."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this engaging homespun memoir, Vietnam vet McBride recounts building a life for his family in an isolated yet cherished part of Alaska. McBride first fell for Alaska while stationed in Anchorage, so in 1969, he and his young bride, Diane, moved to China Poot Bay, where they became the first Caucasian settlers. There, the couple dined on moose, collected eggs on Gull Island, and moved into an abandoned cabin by Kachemak Bay, a salmon-rich inlet with a view of glaciers. They eventually transformed this area into a home for their two children and a renowned travel destination. Blazing miles of trails, they established a retreat where guests used cameras to shoot bears instead of guns. Within five years, Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge was a working business and McBride was on his way to becoming a master guide. From a labor of love that endured four decades, McBride carved a career as a leader in conservation. The endearing and thrilling book includes stories about a plane crash, struggles with local government, maps, and family photos. In today’s technophile world, McBride’s story is a refreshing testimony to how one man’s vision helped to preserve a piece of paradise. Photos. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

"An attractive aspect of the book is the appreciation and admiration for the wilderness of Alaska. The need to preserve it weaves through the book. Yet it is a rational approach to conservation, the approach of an independent thinker based on his personal observations. Through the McBride lodges, many visitors from near and far are experiencing the Alaskan wilderness and more will have an opportunity to do so through reading this book. I highly recommend it." —Dr. Vera Alexander, University of Alaska-Fairbanks

"Michael McBride is a poetic missionary. His sensitivity to the world around him and appreciation of the gifts of Mother Nature are infectious. His love of Alaska and its wonders are beautifully expressed in this book. The Last Wilderness draws you in and keeps you there." —Tim Ryan, NBC Sports

"Michael McBride's tale of adventure, courage, and high ideals is as striking as the flash of Northern Lights in the Alaskan sky. Just like those lights, his memoir is authentic and brilliant - the tale of a lifelong quest and a powerful dream made real." —T.A. Baron, Author of The Merlin Saga

"In his book The Last Wilderness, Michael McBride passionately and vividly recounts the roots of his decades-long romance with Alaska. Interwoven with his passion for the land (and sea), the wild inhabitants, and the old-timers, is another love central to this story, his family. This book is a tribute to them all: the land, the wildlife, and the people." —Bill Sherwonit, Author of Living with Wildness: An Alaska Odyssey

"This book is a tribute to life, family, and a man's love and commitment to preserving the wilderness not only in Alaska, but in the world. It is an eloquent plea to all of us to recognize the need for saving the wilderness. But, the book is also a personal adventure story of an incredible man and his incredible family." —David D. Goodenough, Founder of Goodenough Company, Inc.

"Michael McBride is a thinker, but he's also a doer, and what he's done could fill a book: this one. I've stayed at the Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge, spent time with Michael, enjoyed his wisdom, his stories, his song, his hospitality. These pages brought me right back to his side, right back to the fireside, right back to China Poot Bay, right back to paradise. Beautifully written, generous in spirit, even magnanimous, The Last Wilderness is a richly satisfying read. And it might just send you on your way to Alaska." —Bill Roorbach, Author of Life Among Giants

"Southern Alaska has a strong claim to the title of 'Best Remaining Place in the World.' And few have known it as intimately, as well-or as lovingly-as Michael McBride. Read his story, but don't just read it-go out and ground-truth what he says see for yourself what he means. Alaska is one of the few places that really needs you. And we need it. McBride's narrative explains why, and in doing so, it succeeds wonderfully." —Carl Safina, Author of Song for the Blue Ocean

"The charisma and energy that made Michael McBride an Alaskan outdoor legend flow through these pages like a school of salmon charging upstream, powered by the love and ecstatic joy that link him to his home shores of Kachemak Bay. If John Muir were alive today, this is how he would live and this is how he would write." —Charles Wohlforth, Author of The Fate of Nature

"The Last Wilderness combines natural history, adventure, poetry and environmental policy with the personal memoirs of a family that has lived a part of Alaska's past and present with fearless enthusiasm and passionate commitment to the values of conservation." —Fran Ulmer, Former Lieutenant Governor of Alaska

"McBride's book is a rhapsodic symphony celebrating his half century odyssey to create an idyllic family life in the Alaskan wilderness. There he began with virtually nothing and built a 'something' that is now a model of ecotourism. Open this work at any place and you are treated with a philosophy of the natural life that would be the envy of a John Burroughs or John Muir." —Captain Dan Walsh, PhD, Oceanographer/Explorer

"Michael McBride is the perfect person to chronicle this creative and loving relationship between human stewardship at its educational best with the beauty of wilderness at its most extraordinarily profound." —Vernon D. Swaback, Author of The Creative Community: Designing for Life

"Michael McBride gave his heart to Alaska half a century ago, and he fulfilled his dream in a remote spot of wilderness. Like an old-time pioneer, he was adept at survival, building his own lodge, becoming a bush pilot, raising a family. I read of his joyful struggles with greatest admiration as with compassion he describes his life, that of the local peoples and the wild animals. And he never relents in his fight to protect Alaska's beauty." —George Schaller, Author of Tibet Wild

"I am impressed by how Michael has been able to combine business development with concepts of environmental protection in his work. It is incumbent on each one of us think about the environment in our day-to-day lives, and what things we can do - big or small - to make the world a better place to live for our children. Michael's efforts in Kachemak Bay demonstrate this principle." —Peter Gilruth, United Nations Environment Programme

"A captivating account of decades in the Alaska wilderness as Michael and Diana McBride literally respond to the 'call of the wild'….destined to be not just an Alaskan classic but one of nature and wilderness writ large. A must for any Nature bookshelf." —Tom Lovejoy, Founder of the Public Television series NATURE

“It’s likely most of you have no realistic illusions of ever moving into the wilderness, but this book may inspire you to spend a few days or weeks in an isolated outpost of civilization someday, such as the Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge.” - Jeff at

“The McBrides’ story conveys the beauty, joy, and dangers of Alaska and the people they came to know, and blends adventure, eco-travel and conservation.”- Sierra Borealis, the newsletter of the Alaska Chapter of the Sierra Club

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781938486371
  • Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/15/2013
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 486,348
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

For almost 50 years Michael McBride has lived beside a road-less estuary across Kachemak Bay from Homer, Alaska, at his award winning Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge. The lodge has won more awards and accolades, and has been the focus of more magazine, newspaper, and film attention, than any in Alaska largely because of its environmental activism. The New York Times named the lodge one of the “l000 Places to See Before You Die,” and the Travel Channel dedicated an entire episode to the lodge.

McBride is a member of the Explorers Club, and Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society. He has extensive experience as a wilderness guide, bush pilot, a licensed Coast Guard captain, a marine biologist, a conservationist, and a voice for nature.

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