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RIP Dutch Salmon, 1945-2019

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of author, environmental activist and publisher Dutch Salmon.

black and white portrait of Dutch SalmonSalmon was best-known for his 1986 memoir Gila Descending (High Lonesome Books), the chronicle of his canoe trip down 200 miles of wild river accompanied by his dog Rojo and a tomcat (“that damn cat”). At the time, it appeared as if a proposal to divert the river would pass, so Salmon made his farewell trip: “I wanted to say goodbye to the river.” It turned out he didn’t need to.

Describing himself as “a redneck environmentalist,” Salmon co-founded the Gila Conservation Coalition, which he chaired for over three decades. Of the Gila River he said, “It’s the last river in New Mexico to show us what a natural river should look like,” and he railed against the proposed dam in his 2008 book Gila Libre: New Mexico’s Last Wild River (UNM Press).

Salmon had grown up in New York and Massachusetts. His father was a hunter and fisherman and the son would follow in his footsteps. After graduating from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, Salmon taught high school Humanities for three years. He then turned to a life of writing and the outdoors. On moving to Silver City in the early 1980s, he began his long association with the Gila River. This inspired not just Gila Descending but also a series of novels and numerous columns and essays in publications such as The Silver City Daily Press, The Albuquerque Journal, Field & Stream, and Outdoor Life.

Salmon was also an activist for literacy. Besides family and the Gila, his abiding passion was books. As the founder and publisher of High Lonesome Books, he turned out up to four titles a year – mainly Old West history and the outdoors. His legacy as a writer and environmentalist is incalculable, and his work inspiring.

All of us at the Southwest Festival of the Written Word offer our sincerest condolences to Cherie, Dutch’s wife, and to their son, John.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Southwest Word Fiesta™ or its steering committee.

Enriching Life Through Learning in Community

We respectfully acknowledge that the entirety of southwestern New Mexico is the traditional territory, since time immemorial, of the Chis-Nde, also known as the people of the Chiricahua Apache Nation. The Chiricahua Apache Nation is recognized as a sovereign Native Nation by the United States in the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Friendship of 1 July 1852 (10 Stat. 979) (Treaty of Santa Fe ratified 23 March 1853 and proclaimed by President Franklin Pierce 25 March 1853).

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Mimbres Press of Western New Mexico University is a traditional academic press that welcomes agented and unagented submissions in the following genres: literary fiction, creative non-fiction, essays, memoir, poetry, children’s books, historical fiction, and academic books. We are particularly interested in academic work and commercial work with a strong social message, including but not limited to works of history, reportage, biography, anthropology, culture, human rights, and the natural world. We will also consider selective works of national and global significance.