Michael Lanza
Michael Lanza

Praise for Before They’re Gone: A Family’s Year-Long Quest to Explore America’s Most Endangered National Parks, by Michael Lanza:

“Michael Lanza is a skilled wordsmith and his finely fashioned handiwork is on full display in Before They’re Gone. Lanza takes his wife and two young children to some of the country’s most famous National Parks. They hike, sea kayak, climb, canoe and cross-country ski. It’s a heartwarming narrative of a family and their explorations of wild places. It’s also a cautionary story of what might happen, and is happening, to those spectacular places that they visit as the earth continues to warm.”
National Outdoor Book Awards

"Before They're Gone is a beautifully written, moving meditation on the meaning of parenthood, our parks, and the first generation of children to grow up in the age of global warming."
Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle and Last Child in the Woods

“Wilderness adventurers like Lanza are the advance scouts of global warming, bringing back first-hand testimony from pristine landscapes that powerfully corroborates what climate scientists are telling us about our changing planet. But this eyewitness report is much more than an impassioned polemic. It’s also an entertaining collection of backcountry anecdotes—surprise encounters with grizzlies, anxious moments on glaciers and wild coastlines, jaw-dropping views from remote summits—that bring climate change to life in a way that’s more palpable and persuasive than any data chart. Above all, Before They’re Gone is a fetching love letter to Mike’s wife, son and daughter, and friends—and to the wild places he treasures as only a hiker, climber, and explorer can.”
—Jonathan Dorn, former editor-in-chief, BACKPACKER

“Delightful… a fresh and engaging way to tell the climate change story.”
—Laura Helmuth, Senior Science Editor, Smithsonian magazine

“Blending anecdotes and ecology lessons, Lanza sheds light on his family's charming dynamic (from his daughter's sensible suggestion that they depart from bear territory to his son's preference to attack the brutes), the wonder of the natural world, and the ethical responsibility we all have to mitigate the forces that are changing our planet ‘faster even than scientists or computer models have anticipated.’ This is a terrific blend of adventure ("Seeing a bison gallop thirty miles an hour—as they can—is like seeing a grand piano suddenly sprout horns and charge you with the speed of a horse.") and ecological forecasting (and forewarning) that aptly conveys the passion of a devoted outdoorsman, and serves as a wake-up call to the state of our planet.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“Lanza establishes his profoundly compelling narrative strategy of mixing in-the-moment accounts of their demanding hikes and intrepid Nate and Alex’s exuberant pleasure in nature with scientifically based and heart-clenching observations of ‘climatic anarchy.’… ‘Climate change,’ Lanza wisely concludes, ‘forces us to confront our deepest values.’”

“Michael Lanza braids a story of family, wilderness, and climate that's at once heartwarming and terrifying... [He] makes abundantly clear that our children deserve better than the legacy we’re leaving them.”
—John Harlin, author, The Eiger Obsession: Facing the mountain that killed my father, and editor, The American Alpine Journal

“Lanza is a fine writer and an excellent observer both of nature and of family life… a heartbreaking, compelling story.”
AMC Great Kids, Great Outdoors blog

Read an excerpt from Before They're GoneA Family's Year-Long Quest to Explore America's Most Endangered National Parks (April 2012, Beacon Press).

For information about or a review copy of Before They’re Gone: A Family’s Year-Long Quest to Explore America’s Most Endangered National Parks, or to schedule an interview with Michael Lanza, please contact Caitlin Meyer, Publicist, Beacon Press, Boston, (617) 742-2110, cmeyer@beacon.org.

Michael Lanza is a freelance writer and photographer, award-winning author, public speaker, and for many years was the Northwest Editor of Backpacker Magazine. He created and runs The Big Outside, where he blogs about his outdoor adventures, including many with his family. His book, Before They're GoneA Family's Year-Long Quest to Explore America's Most Endangered National Parks, winner of a National Outdoor Book Award, chronicles his wilderness adventures with his wife and their young son and daughter in national parks threatened by climate change. He is an engaging storyteller and gives talks and slideshows about his work and travels as an outdoor writer and photographer, the impacts of climate change on nature, and getting children out into the wilderness.

Read an excerpt from Before They're Gone and find links to media coverage of it.

Buy the book.

See stories and images from the trips taken for his book and other outdoor adventures at The Big Outside.

He has written about topics as diverse as record floods at Mt. Rainier, the controversy over snowmobiles in Yellowstone, and the impacts of climate change on Glacier National Park and other wild lands. His articles about global warming helped Backpacker earn a National Magazine Award for general excellence in 2008. He has published stories in several magazines about adventure travels on four continents. See this site's Photos page for samples of his images.

He's also the author of Seven Summits—The High Peaks of the Pacific Northwest; Winter Hiking and Camping; and Day Hiker’s Handbook. His past experience includes syndicating a weekly outdoor column in 20 daily newspapers across New England, editing an outdoor magazine, co-hosting a call-in show about the outdoors on New Hampshire Public Radio, and working as a reporter and editor at Massachusetts and New Hampshire newspapers. Michael has a B.S. in photojournalism from Syracuse University.

An avid backpacker, climber, backcountry skier, and cyclist, he has hiked and climbed extensively in the U.S. West and Northeast, and in the Alps, Italy's Dolomites, Canadian Rockies, Himalaya, Iceland, Patagonia, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, and the Scottish Highlands.

Michael lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife, Penny Beach, and their son, Nate, and daughter, Alex.

Contact Michael Lanza:

(208) 861-2064 (Mountain Time)


Visit Michael Lanza's amazon.com author page

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