Anne LaBastille | Environmentalist, 75

Jane Scott , in 2001,in her red glasses.
Jane Scott , in 2001,in her red glasses.
Posted: July 08, 2011

Anne LaBastille, 75, the environmentalist, sometime hermit, and author whose Woodswoman autobiographies inspired others to venture into the wilderness, has died at a nursing home in Plattsburgh, N.Y.

The city clerk's office confirmed a death certificate was filed for Dr. LaBastille, who died last Friday, but did not release details. Friends said she was ill the last few years but still owned a farm near Lake Champlain, as well as the cabin that she and friends built on Twitchell Lake in the western Adirondacks.

Her autobiographies began with Woodswoman, a 1976 account of cabin life on what she euphemistically called Black Bear Lake. It has sold more than 100,000 copies.

"Probably the most important thing is, she was a role model, an inspiration for a great many other women, young women," said Dick Beamish, a friend and founder of Adirondack Explorer magazine. "She had a devoted following, both male and female. I think she inspired a generation or maybe two of young women who love nature with what they could do with their lives, how to put it to good use, be independent and not live in the shadow of husbands or others."

Dr. LaBastille wrote a dozen books, as well as articles and essays for National Geographic and other magazines. She cut a striking figure with long blond, later white, hair and often was accompanied by her German shepherds.

Born in Montclair, N.J., in 1935, Dr. LaBastille earned a Ph.D. from Cornell University in wildlife ecology.

She was a commissioner of New York's Adirondack Park Agency for 17 years, with an unpaid seat on its board from 1975 to 1993. The APA regulates land use in the six-million-acre Adirondack Park.

- AP

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