The woods were a bit stiller, the waters a bit calmer and the wildlife just a bit quieter across the North Country this past weekend, as news spread that the Press Republican's long-time, outdoor writer, Dennis Aprill, had died unexpectedly Saturday, July 3 from a form of pancreatic cancer.
Anglers and guides, paddlers and hikers, birders, hunters and fellow outdoor writers were saddened with the news. Aprill first began his popular, award winning "Outdoor Perspective" column in the Sunday issue of the Press Republican Sept. 9, 1990. He continued to regularly produce a full page of outdoor news for the Sunday issue, for more than 20 years, without missing a single week.
His columns offered a little bit of something for all audiences. Whether it was big game hunting, bird watching, wild flowers or flyfishing, Aprill managed to collect something to entertain and enlighten his readers every Sunday for more than 1,000 weeks in a row. He never missed a beat.
It is a feat that is difficult to fathom, especially considering the fact that most of the outdoor writers I know are incredible procrastinators. Most writers prefer to be in the field or on the water, rather than sitting around writing about the same. However, Aprill, with seeming ease and recognized excellence, managed to do both. At the same time, he also worked full-time as a professor of journalism at Plattsburgh State and managed to raise a fine family.
Always an excellent source of information about the outdoors, Aprill worked hard to bring together many of the region's finest fishing authorities to author chapters of his book, Good Fishing in the Adirondacks. He updated and released a second edition of the book this past spring. He had also authored several hiking guidebooks including Paths Less Traveled, Short Treks in the Adirondacks and Beyond and had co-authored a field guide, Mammals of the Adirondacks.