GATES OF THE ARCTIC NATIONAL PARK
BOOK SIGNING & TALK AT LIBRARY
APRIL 24th (TUESDAY) BEGINS @5:30PM
Joe Wilkins is the author of a newly released book – Gates of the Arctic National Park: Twelve Years of Wilderness Exploration. This is the first book ever written about the second largest National Park in the entire United States. The author will appear at the Flora Public Library on April 24 (Tuesday) at 210 North Main Street in Flora. The book event will be from 5:30 pm until 7:00 pm. Wilkins will make a presentation about this magnificent park, his book, and answer questions about Alaska in general. Books will be available for purchase.
Centered in the heart of the Brooks Range, Gates of the Arctic National Park is nearly the size of Switzerland and is one of the premier wilderness areas of the entire world. The publication of his book, following his more than a half-century of backpacking experience in this region, firmly establishes Wilkins as one of the most noted authorities on this park and the surrounding region.
Wilkins was born on a small farm several miles east of Cobden in deep southern Illinois and has had a life-long interest in Alaska. On his 5th birthday he received a book about Alaska from his Mother. As she read and reread the book to him, he began to dream of spending time in that awesome wilderness. He first entered the Brooks Range region in 1966 when, as a young USAF Officer, he received Arctic Wilderness Survival Training in northern Alaska. Over the years he began spending more and more time in this area. Gates of the Arctic National Park was created in 1980 – almost fifteen years after Wilkins first began spending extensive time in this wild, remote and rugged arctic wilderness.
Wilkins retired from the University of Illinois at Springfield as a Professor Emeritus in 2003; and, after that, he began serving as a Volunteer Backcountry Patroller with the National Park Service in Gates of the Arctic National Park.
All net proceeds from the sale of his book will be donated to the endowed “Joe Wilkins Veterans Scholarship Fund” at the University of Illinois at Springfield which has been awarding scholarships to veterans for fourteen years.
Wilkins is married to Jean Ellen Smith Wilkins, retired Director of the Illinois State Library.