News from The North Woods Call:
Marguerite Gahagan's wrting desk at her cabin near Roscommon, Michigan. Gahagan wrote and published The North Woods Call from here for ten years -- 1959 to 1969.
September 11, 2012
From the Traverse City Record-Eagle
By LORAINE ANDERSON
TRAVERSE CITY — The North Woods Call, an unabashed defender of Michigan's natural resources for almost 60 years, is back in new form.
New owner Mike VanBuren of Kalamazoo delivered his first nine-page PDF issue last week by email.
The Call had been out of publication for about 18 months since the January 2011 death of its outspoken conservation advocate and publisher Glen Sheppard.
VanBuren bought the name and subscription list from Sheppard's wife Mary Lou.
The purchase fulfills a dream VanBuren has had since his early reporting days when he met Glen Sheppard.
Early in his career, VanBuren spent almost a decade as a writer, editor and photographer at several Michigan newspapers, including the Antrim County News, Kalkaska Leader and the Kalkaskian, Flint Journal and Kalamazoo Gazette. He worked for nearly 23 years as writer, communication manager and documentary video producer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek.
He also has been a commentator for Michigan Public Radio's Great Lakes Radio Consortium and Living on Earth, a National Public Radio program.
VanBuren is a former president of the Kalamazoo River Protection Association and a recipient of the Ben East Prize for excellence in conservation journalism.
The inaugural September issue includes a variety of stories, ranging from cleanups along the Au Sable and Manistee rivers to a profile on Keith Creagh, the former state agricultural director who recently was named to replace Rodney Stokes as Department of Natural Resources director.
Other stories and columns feature his predecessors: Marguerite Gahagan, who founded the North Woods Call in 1953 and published it until 1969 when she sold it to Sheppard, who owned it 42 years.
Both Gahagan and Sheppard were hard-hitting reporters dedicated to stewardship of Michigan's natural resources.
Gahagan was a novelist who began her career reporting for The Detroit Times. "Shep" described The Call as "an admittedly biased newspaper dedicated to the proposition that there is only one side in any issue involving resources — "NATURE'S."
In his first editorial, VanBuren said he has "big shoes to fill."
"We can't claim to fit neatly into those shoes or to view the outdoor world and the myriad issues affecting it quite like these legendary former publishers. We have our own unique viewpoints and approaches." he wrote. "But we have a profound respect for all they accomplished, and wish to honor their drive and determination with a bit of our own tenacity."
He plans on writing, editing and electronically publishing the biweekly in Kalamazoo, at least for now. He said he hopes to develop a strong group of environmental writers to contribute articles, features and opinion pieces.
His long-term goal is to make The Call "the go-to source for news and information about outdoor and conservation issues in Michigan — and beyond."
Electronic subscriptions cost $35, per year. Printed copies sent through the U.S. Postal Service are $55 per year.
More information is available at: www.mynorthwoodscall.com.
October 28, 2011
Michigan’s premier conservation newspaper will return soon.
The North Woods Call, which has been out-of-publication since longtime editor and publisher Glen Sheppard died earlier this year, is being re-launched under new ownership.
Sheppard’s widow, Mary Lou Sheppard, recently sold the newspaper to former journalist and award-winning writer Mike VanBuren of Kalamazoo. VanBuren is re-tooling the operation and looks forward to continuing The Call’s well-respected legacy, which dates back to 1953.
“We hope that The Call's former subscribers will stick with us and that we can expand the community of conservation-minded citizens who appreciate the insightful news and information for which the newspaper is noted,” VanBuren said.
For more than 58 years, The North Woods Call has been a must-read for people who love Michigan’s north country. It has been at the vanguard of conservation-related battles throughout its history, and has earned a much-deserved reputation as a staunch defender of nature.
“We greatly respect The Call's longstanding tradition of unvarnished news coverage and are committed to making sure Michigan doesn’t lose this important voice,” VanBuren said.
Glen and Mary Lou Sheppard published The Call for more than four decades after purchasing it from founder Marguerite Gahagan in 1969. Gahagan had operated the newspaper for 16 years prior to that.
Glen Sheppard died January 5, 2011, and The Call ceased publication shortly thereafter. For several months, the future of the newspaper was uncertain.
“The North Woods Call has been a dynamic force in the history and day-to-day realities of the nibbling and outlandish massive assaults on the integrity and beauty of Michigan’s precious natural bounty,” said noted Michigan environmental lawyer Jim Olson of Traverse City. “It is a tribute to Glen Sheppard and his wife Mary Lou that Mike VanBuren has the passion, talent and ability to continue The North Woods Call newspaper.”
For more information, visit The Call's website at mynorthwoodscall.com.