Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Joe Wilkins  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Non-Fiction



Illinois Connection

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.

Biographical and Professional Information

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.

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