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This wild land


"Vietze's story is at once inspirational, frankly heartfelt, and endlessly entertaining"

Paul Doiron, Edgar-Award-winning author of Dead Man's Wake

Almost twenty years ago, Andrew Vietze made an unexpected career change: from punk rock magazine editor to park ranger at Baxter State Park in Maine. Home to Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, Baxter State Park sees some 60,000 visitors each summer alone, keeping the park rangers beyond busy. From midnight search-and-rescue missions to trail maintenance to cleaning toilets, Baxter rangers do it all… and, over the decades, Vietze has seen it all.

Nice feature at Newscenter Maine WCSH. A Baxter Park Ranger Looks Back at the Highs and Lows of the Job. . .

Appreciated Pete at Wellesley Books, one of New England's finest indie bookstores, making This Wild Land one of his staff picks. He has a sense of humor much like mine: "As both a writer and long-time ranger, Vietze has the perfect perspective on life in the shadow of Katahdin. It's not only mountain rescues and amazing views, you've also got daily toilet cleanings and the occasional battle with a beaver. Not to be confused with my work days in the windowless basement of a bookstore."

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As a fan of all things ranger-y, it was fun to be asked to write about my favorite ranger books by the bibliophiles at

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Reviews coming in for This Wild Land

Paul Doiron, Edgar-Award-winning author of Dead Man's Wake:

"Eighteen years ago, Andrew Vietze did something many people dream of but few of us have the guts to do; he left a prestigious office job to take an entry-level position working in the Maine North Woods. This Wild Land records his adventures and misadventures as a ranger at Baxter State Park: home to legendary Mount Katahdin, beloved by both Henry David Thoreau and Teddy Roosevelt, and arguably the last wild place in the Eastern US. Vietze’s story is at once inspirational, frankly heartfelt, and endlessly entertaining. In other words, it has all the makings of a new Maine classic."

New York Times bestselling author Kate Braestrup:

"When young people ask for advice about becoming a writer, my response is generally as follows: Write (and read) all the time. And get a real job. Usually, I recommend plumbing, because it’s lucrative and also because there are always good stories to be found in kitchens and bathrooms…Having read Vietze’s fine storytelling, I think I might recommend his path instead. Beginning as a magazine writer, Vietze found a real, and really wonderful, job, patrolling and protecting Baxter State Park. One of the most beautiful places on earth, Baxter also boasts Mount Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. The work of a Baxter ranger is varied, challenging and sometimes life-saving…and has provided Andrew Vietze with an abundance of good stories. He offers these with humor, verve, an eye for the telling detail, and an infectious delight in this rugged corner of the natural world, and its human and non-human inhabitants."

​Andrea Lankford, former NPS ranger and New York Times bestselling author of Trail of the Lost called it "essential. . . a fascinating and intimate account of the triumphs and tribulations faced by a park ranger committed to protecting Maine’s premier state park and the colorful characters who visit it."

Michael Finkel: New York Times bestselling author of The Stranger in the Woods:

"The experience of reading This Wild Land, floating in the eddies of Andrew Vietze’s profoundly captivating and elegantly unpretentious prose – seeing through his eyes the natural world’s quiet beauty and ruthless tragedy – offers an ideal escape from the unrelenting madness of modern life. Only an observant, gifted writer who has spent eighteen years working beneath the foreboding summit of Mount Katahdin can achieve the humility to write such a perfect tribute to the magnificent park in the middle of Maine."

This Wild Land reviews on Goodreads

the wild land

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