This film is an academic exploration of our namesake, written, produced, edited, and burned right here in Nessmuk's home and stomping grounds in the heart of the Pennsylvania Wilds. If you are interested in the man who was the grandfather of the ultralight movement, as well as the outdoors for everyone movement, who was a whaler at the same time as Melville, and argued for nature with the same vim as Muir, you have to watch this information packed documentary.
From the back:
Nessmuk: In Defense of Nature in the Pennsylvania Wilds (86 minutes)
This film explores the life and ideas of the 19th century American naturalist George Washington Sears (1821-1890), better known by his pen name Nessmuk. Through his extensive writings in Forest & Stream, Nessmuk became a fierce critic of uncontrolled deforestation, and the impact of dams, railroads, sawmills and tanneries on the natural environment. Like Dickens, he urged greater opportunity for the less fortunate to enjoy the beauty of Nature. Like contemporary naturalists, he was concerned about "nature deficiency disorders" experienced by city dwellers. As a conservationist, Nessmuk strongly advocated for fish and game laws to protect wildlife threatened with extinction. Concerned that outdoor recreation was too often an enjoyment of the elite, he supported the creation of public parks; and, in order to assure greater access and use of the parks by the laboring class, he promoted minimalism. He contended that the enjoyment of hunting, fishing, camping, and canoeing entailed too much expensive duffle and unnecessary cost. Published in 1884, Nessmuk's book Woodcraft became a "Bible for outdoor recreation" and has been widely reprinted. In fact, it was a source for the early Boy Scout movement. Nessmuk's legacy is reflected in the wide variety of canoes, backpacks, knives, and hatchets that bear his name, as well as the many books and articles that highlight his naturalist ideas. Nessmuk's book of poetry, Forest Runes, reflects his romantic poetic impulse as well as his love of Nature. With a script primarily using Nessmuk's words from his writings, the film is presented in first person. "Nessmuk " tells of his life experiences growing up, whaling, helping a slave escape, experiences as a Civil War volunteer, travels to Brazil, canoe trips in the Adirondacks and the Pennsylvania Wilds, and the contents of his unusual will.
Written, directed, & produced by: Gale Largey
Voice of "Nessmuk": Brian Morral
Editor: Mark Polonia
© 2021 Gale Largey
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