Fred 'Skip' Pessl

Fred ‘Skip’ Pessl

This year’s Luste Lecture welcomed Fred ‘Skip’ Pessl who gave us his account of a wilderness journey in his new book, Barren Grounds. We also welcomed the Wilderness Canoe Association who also received a tour of our collection.

James Raffan said it best when welcoming everyone to this year’s Luste Lecture…

The Luste Lecture was conceived as a way to bring the Wilderness Canoe Association and the regular participants of its sister initiative the Wilderness Canoe Symposium closer to the Canadian Canoe Museum in celebration of the remarkable lifetime contribution Dr. George Luste has made to all three organizations.

As a paddler, publisher, bibliophile and founder of the Wilderness Canoe Symposium, George Luste has been a leader in the wilderness canoeing realm for fifty years or more.  And, having published George Grinnell’s book about the 1955 Moffat Tragedy, Death on the Barrens: A true story of courage and tragedy in the Canadian Arctic, some years ago, he has particular interest and unique knowledge of this story.  It is in recognition of George’s huge contribution to canoeing that members of the Wilderness Canoe Association came together with donations in his honour to create the Luste Lecture in partnership with the Canadian Canoe Museum.

“Barren Grounds is the story of the ill-fated Arctic expedition of Arthur Moffatt and a group of college students, who in 1955 set out to follow the path of the 1893 Tyrell expedition and to film and photograph the group’s progress. Along the epic 900-mile journey across the Barren Lands of Arctic Canada, Moffatt and his crew suffered setback after setback, threatened by the harsh elements and a dwindling food supply—and ultimately a fatal mistake was made. Two canoes capsized, dumping four crew members into frigid waters. Moffatt died of exposure. It took the survivors ten days of arduous travel with minimum food and equipment to reach the safety of the Hudson’s Bay Company post.  Written by one of those survivors, Skip Pessl, this book features passages from the journals of fellow crew members and excerpts from the 1893 expedition of Joseph Burr Tyrell, and altogether makes for a cautionary tale and nail-biting adventure story”

You can order Barren Grounds from our online store.

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