Illinois Authors

The Illinois Center for the Book banner

Joe Wilkins

Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Wilkins lives in Pleasant Plains. He is a professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Springfield and grew up in what is now the Shawnee National Forest of southern Illinois.

Biography: Joe Wilkins served as an Air Force officer and is a Vietnam combat veteran. He has a life-time of wilderness experience and has hiked, climbed and backpacked in national parks and other wilderness areas throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Beginning in 1966 with his training in arctic-wilderness-survival as a young military officer, Wilkins focused his arctic wilderness explorations in and around the mountains of the Brooks Range in northern Alaska - prior even to the creation of Gates of the Arctic National Park in 1980. After retiring from the teaching faculty of the University of Illinois at Springfield, Wilkins was invited by the National Park Service to serve as a Volunteer Backcountry Patroller and assisted the backcountry operations of the National Park Service. Between 2005 and 2017, he completed more than fifty trips through some of the most remote and rugged mountainous wilderness areas of North America.


Primary Literary Genre(s): Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers

Joe Wilkins on WorldCat:

Selected Titles

Gates of the Arctic National Park :
ISBN: 9781612549736 OCLC: 1009029136

Joe Wilkins has now accumulated more than half a century of experience in the wilds of northern Alaska since receiving training in arctic wilderness survival in 1966. During the 1970s he began hiking, backpacking and camping in the region which, in 1980, was officially designated Gates of the Arctic National Park. A complex land of breathtaking contrasts, this frontier is exceptional in no other region in North America does it get colder, darker, or wilder. Its remote beauty and extensive human history imbue the land with an elemental and visceral sense of inspiration for those who visit. Gates of the Arctic National Park: Twelve Years of Wilderness Exploration provides thorough, accurate and detailed information about Gates of the Arctic National Park along with a collection of Wilkins' own personal photographs. Wilkins has created a definitive, perennial book about one of the country's most enchanting national parks that will stand the test of