Farley Mowat on “Grey Owl And Me”

At one time, there were very few Canadians who had not heard the name Grey Owl. Today, there are very few Canadians who have not heard the name Farley Mowat. As a Canadian author and environmentalist whose works have been translated into 52 languages with more than 17 million books sold, Farley has also been a long time patron of EARTHROOTS. Thus, as co-founder of the important environmental group EARTHROOTS, Hap became associated with Farley, who then became a bit of a mentor for Hap. So it was with great honour that Hap received this short scribbled note (see below) from Mr. Mowat upon reading Hap’s book, Grey Owl and Me: Stories From the Trail and Beyond .


Scribbled note from Farley Mowat

‘Hap! “Grey Owl” is great — really enjoyed it. Many Thanks. F.’

But Farley Mowat isn’t the only one who thinks Hap’s Stories From the Trail and Beyond is a great read. Below are some more reviews taken from various sources across the internet and other mediums:

Wilson doesn’t go so far as to admit to being Grey Owl’s modern-day equal, but in many ways he’s picked up where Belaney left off. As celebrated he was as an author and orator in England, Belaney died young, consumed by alcoholism and depression. Wilson, on the other hand, has logged almost 40,000 wilderness miles and is still going strong. In his outspoken passion for the land, lakes and rivers of northern Canada, he’s inspired a new generation of canoe trippers-and no doubt more to come. — Conor Mihell



“Now Im sitting here with 10 good quotes and double entendres from Grey Owl that I would like to drop into this review, but Im pretty sure none of them would fly with the editor (whats French for seal again?) so Im going to leave them out. Suffice it to say that even though there is a strong environmental aspect to the book and that environmental awareness is clearly the main order here, Grey Owl and Me is often just way too fun to be clean, and the really clean parts arent that quotable. But thats just how Hap [Wilson] rolls. If you want environmentalism with some edge, I cant think of a better place to jump in than right here.” — Chronicle-Journal (Thunder Bay)


Wilson’s stream of conscious writing style has the feel of a campfire story: It’s impossible not to be engaged by his tales, which range from idyllic summer canoe trips to winter dogsled expeditions, and standing at the frontlines of environmental debates with the likes of Paul Watson, the founder of the notoriously radical Sea Shepherd Society. The book is hard to put down. — Canoe and Kayak Magazine, 20100801


If you enjoyed [Hap Wilsons] other hilarious and jaw-dropping memoirs, you wont be disappointed. This one, too, is sprinkled with sparks of brilliant and insightful writing. — Ottertooth.com


Grey Owl and Me

As expected, Hap’s call for environmental conservation is reflected in the very materials of this book, which has been printed on paper from well-managed forests and other controlled sources as approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). For more information about Mixed Sources and the FSC, visit their website: www.fsc.org. Don’t forget that you may purchase books directly from the author, and Hap always includes a personalized message and/or signature for those who ask.  Contact Hap for purchasing and details.

Of Guide Books & Other “Ings”

Upper Ottawa Valley Guide Book

Upper Ottawa Valley Guide Book

Hap has always applied himself to his environmentalism as an art; creating change and awareness in people’s minds by use of his stories, his honest attitude to his writings, his ability tocapture the spirit of the land – in both words and in illustrations – mapping the routes to make it easier for our needful souls to connect with the earth, to live more simply, and to celebrate Nature (and our place in it) by remembering our more ancient selves like Hap has…. Always his motivation being to protect Her.

Through his guide books, his stories and art, Hap has helped to paint the very canvas of what our waterways and lands have become today… where rivers and trails are still being utilized by people and their canoes – yet to be completely handed over to industry. By just getting out in a canoe and using these ancient and modern-day routes with respect, you are doing (a little bit of) your part. Because Hap knows, and so do you, that if we don’t use it, we are subject to losing it.


“The Rivers book came about as a response to the heavy traffic on the Dumoine after my first river guidebook came out in the late 1980’s (dedicated just to the Dumoine). To relieve the pressure off the Dumoine I mapped out the “sister” rivers (primarily the Black and the Coulonge), equally exciting rivers, in order to displace more user-traffic…and it worked nicely. It also offered the paddler more choice, and it was easier on the environment; as well, it generated an awareness for river protection in a province bent on damming all rivers for hydro-power. All my books had and still have a huge environmental “push” in a political climate where it has become a User-based system of management…and I use the word management very loosely. Basically…it’s a ‘use it or lose it’ mentality, hopefully where adventure tourism edges out industrial motives. Path of the Paddle is straddled in complex bureaucratic red tape that I’m wading through, hopefully making some gains in changing an outdated government system that has always bolstered a consumptive use of the wilderness.” ~ Hap Wilson (2013)

If you have yet to pick up a guide book by Hap, you will not quite understand the depth he takes to connect the reader to the land and the trail. An honest review, blogged at A Whole Bunch Of Ings, captures just how advantageous having a guide book by Hap can be (in this case, The Rivers Of The Upper Ottawa Valley).

“I picked up a book today which was unreal. I have rediscovered our local library over the past couple weeks, and stumbled on Rivers of the upper Ottawa valley (myths,magic and adventure.) … The title says it all basically. This is a comprehensive,detailed,cornucopia of awesomeness. Everything from maps of what Algonquin tribe lived where (and a bit about each) to legends,to safety, oh and it’s a guide book as well! … It’s the kind of book which get’s you excited about a area, and honestly has given me so much information about things I never knew existed in my own backyard.” ~ A Whole Bunch Of Ings

Read the full review here: Rivers of the Upper Ottawa Valley or contact Hap Wilson – EcoTrailbuilders. See you on the water!