As a writer (and in my waking hours, a book seller), my love of the outdoors has been informed by reading as much as by exploring. Before I hiked Katahdin or camped in the Maine winter, ‘Lost on a Mountain in Maine’ and ‘Sign of the Beaver’ encouraged my awe and affection for the Maine woods.

We’re lucky to have classic books and novels that depict nature in our state, and to be inundated with new guidebooks and stories each year. Here are a few titles to keep your eyes out for this summer:

n The 11th edition of the AMC’s irreplaceable Maine Mountain Guide will be published this July. Revised and expanded significantly since the 10th edition, the new edition includes nearly 1,500 miles of Maine hiking, over some 300 mountains and 600-plus trails. Compiled and edited by Maine Sunday Telegram hiking columnist Carey Kish, the book promises to be as essential for Maine hikers as the earlier editions, deserving of a space in your bag next to DeLorme’s Maine Atlas and Gazetteer.

n For hikers with families, Yarmouth’s Islandport Press has just published Jennifer Hazard’s Maine Play Book. Hazard, an award-winning writer and blogger, covers family-friendly nature preserves, farms and parks, along with events and activities for the whole gang. The Maine Play Book doesn’t focus on any single Maine region, instead recommending activities throughout the state.

n Though it isn’t strictly an outdoors book (nor is it only about Maine), Porter Fox’s forthcoming “Northland” deserves a mention. Fox, the son of a boat builder and a Maine native, wrote the book after spending three years traveling the 4,000-mile northern U.S. border, from Maine to California. Fox traveled by canoe, motorcycle, sloop, freighter and car, and looked at the border from a range of perspectives – environmental, historical and cultural. In Maine, the author covers Lubec and Passamaquoddy Bay, among other locales. It’s a travelogue in the great tradition of Horwitz and Theroux.

n For more of a classic take on the Maine outdoors, two recently republished titles are worthy of attention. Publisher Gibbs Smith has just put out a gorgeous paper-over-board edition of Thoreau’s “Canoeing in the Wilderness,” the naturalist’s account of the woods and waters of Maine. If you’ve never read it, this is a great time to pick it up – Thoreau’s wit and humor shine through, even a century and a half later. The Library of America has recently published “Rachel Carson: Silent Spring and Other Writings on the Environment,” a handsome hardcover that collects letters, speeches and other writings from the environmental leader alongside her most famous work. Carson spent a great deal of time in Maine, and her work is worth revisiting for her descriptions of the state’s old-growth forest and shoreline, if nothing else.

n Along with books about exploring Maine, a few printed maps are worth your attention. My favorite maps for hiking in Maine and New Hampshire have long been those produced by Peaks Island’s Map Adventures. The glossy, colorful maps – many of them waterproof – are clear and easily navigable, with topography and trails surveyed by the mapmakers themselves. Suggested tours and trails provide useful descriptions, and the trail lengths – marked on the map both as a whole and by segment – are incredibly useful for gauging distance and time.

Just last month Map Adventures published the first recreational map for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, sorely needed since its founding in 2016. Created in partnership with the nonprofit Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters, the map is free to those who become members of the nonprofit by the end of June. Otherwise it retails for $9.95.

n For mountain bikers, free print copies of Wendy Clark’s Wending maps have been popping up around southern Maine throughout May. The 12 maps feature mountain biking trails in more than 50 parks and preserves, from Kennebunkport to Bath, and are available at sponsor businesses like CycleMania in Portland, Evergreen Subaru in Auburn and the new Sebago Brewing Company brewery in Gorham.

Clark, a mountain biker for a quarter-century and member of the New England Mountain Bike Association, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the Maine Outdoor Adventure Club, designed and distributed the maps to shed more light on local trails, because as she writes on her website, “where to mountain bike shouldn’t be secret.” Locations to pick up the maps are listed on, and more locations – including shops, schools and trailhead kiosks – will be added in June.

Josh Christie is a freelance writer living in Portland. Along with his brother, Jake, he writes about great Maine destinations for outdoors enthusiasts. Josh can be reached at:

[email protected]

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