On May 17, 1968 Richard (Dick) Proenneke left the rush of city life behind and headed into the Alaska wilderness. His dream was to build a log cabin at Upper Twin Lakes, live off the land and truly test his self-reliance.
After being picked up at Merrill Field in Anchorage, he spent a few days at Port Alsworth on Lake Clark with Babe and Mary Alsworth at their homestead. On May 21, flying a vintage Taylorcraft, Babe flew Richard to Upper Twin Lakes and found a sliver of open water on Lower Twin Lakes. Babe set down the T-Craft with the expertise earned only by years of Alaska bush flying.
During that spring and summer Dick stayed in the cabin of Spike & Hope Carrithers while he built his cabin using the white spruce he felled the previous spring. His skill and craftsmanship made it possible for him, using only hand tools, to construct a cabin of the finest quality which still stands today and has visitors from all over the world.
Dick was committed to a meticulous stewardship of the land and its resources. He would often clean up after careless groups of hunters to the area and eventually became the unofficial guardian of Twin Lakes. During the 30 years Dick lived there, the area became part of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.
One Man's Wilderness is Dick's story taken directly from his journals and memories of his close friend Sam Keith. The National Park Service produced a film titled One Man's Alaska and a videotape, The Frozen North is also available. All feature the life of Richard (Dick) Proennek.