A North Country Almanac: Reflections of an Old-School Conservationist in a Modern World includes the musings of an independent mind on wilderness, the conservation ethic, and the joys of loving the outdoors. Although a lifelong conservationist, Thomas C. Bailey has never unquestioningly accepted environmental dogma. The essays here often challenge familiar assumptions about stewardship of natural resources. The former National Park ranger, fishing guide, and conservancy director offers a rich variety of perspectives on an interesting array of topics, returning always to his fundamental belief that conservation pioneers such as John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, and Aldo Leopold had it right when they affirmed Walt Whitman's observation that "the secret of making the best person [...] is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth".
Thomas C. Bailey has been Executive Director of the Little Traverse Conservancy for more than thirty years, having previously worked for the U.S. National Park Service and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He was appointed to the Board of Trustees of Lake Superior State University in 2016 and to the Governor's Blue Ribbon Panel on Michigan State Parks and Outdoor Recreation in 2011. He is a cofounder of the Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy and the Top of Michigan Trails Council.
"Bailey believes the preservation of the land is not just for the conservationist, it's for everyone. We can't all tramp through forests, but we should be able to. Wallace Stegner says, 'Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed [...] We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.'"
– Gloria Whelan, from the foreword