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Legacy of the Lakes: Exploring Gordon MacQuarrie's Outdoor Chronicles

Gordon MacQuarrie
Gordon MacQuarrie

Gordon MacQuarrie's tales from Middle Eau Claire Lake in Northwest Wisconsin offer more than just a narrative about hunting and fishing—they are a vibrant portrayal of outdoor life that blends natural beauty with rich, anecdotal storytelling. His work, particularly characterized by the semi-fictional Old Duck Hunters’ Association, Inc. (ODHA), encapsulates an era where the wilderness was both a backdrop and a character in its own right. This article delves into MacQuarrie's life, his impact on outdoor writing, and how his stories continue to resonate with modern audiences.

Early Life and Career

Gordon MacQuarrie's early years laid a solid foundation for his later work as a pioneering outdoor journalist. Born in 1900, MacQuarrie's passion for the outdoors was evident from a young age, fostered by his father's influence and the rugged landscapes of Wisconsin. He began his career in journalism in the early 1920s, quickly establishing himself as a gifted writer with a unique voice in the outdoor genre.

The Heart of MacQuarrie Country

The core of MacQuarrie's writings often revolved around his beloved cabin on Middle Eau Claire Lake. This location not only provided a refuge from the bustling world but also served as the headquarters for the fictional ODHA. His stories frequently featured a cast of characters based on real-life figures like his father-in-law, Al Peck, and friends who embodied the spirit and quirks of seasoned outdoorsmen.

Literary Contributions and Style

MacQuarrie's writing style is notable for its wit, warmth, and wisdom, bringing to life the simple joys and profound experiences of outdoor adventures. His stories blend factual hunting and fishing experiences with philosophical reflections, making them enduring classics in outdoor literature. His most famous works include the collections published in "Stories of the Old Duck Hunters" which continue to captivate readers with their timeless appeal.

Influence and Legacy

MacQuarrie's influence extends beyond his narratives. He was a staunch advocate for conservation, a theme often woven into his stories. His advocacy helped shape early environmental policies and inspired future generations to value and protect natural habitats. His impact is commemorated in various ways, including the Gordon MacQuarrie Memorial Wetlands and his induction into the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame.

Modern-Day Pilgrimage to MacQuarrie Country

Today, enthusiasts and scholars alike make pilgrimages to Middle Eau Claire Lake and other locations immortalized in MacQuarrie's tales. These visits are not only about seeing the places firsthand but also about experiencing the living tradition of outdoor sportsmanship and environmental stewardship that MacQuarrie championed.

Resources and Further Reading

For those interested in exploring Gordon MacQuarrie’s works further, several resources are available:

  • Books by Gordon MacQuarrie: Collections such as "Dog's , Drink & other drivel" are available for purchase on platforms like Amazon and local bookstores.

  • Barnes Area Historical Association: This organization maintains archives and exhibits related to MacQuarrie's life and work. More information can be found on their official website, which also includes details on visiting the museum dedicated to MacQuarrie’s legacy.

  • Educational Programs and Tours: Various educational programs are offered in the region, focusing on MacQuarrie’s conservation efforts and literary contributions. These programs often include tours of key locations from his stories.


Gordon MacQuarrie’s stories are more than historical artifacts; they are vibrant narratives that continue to teach, inspire, and entertain. By visiting the places he wrote about, reading his works, or participating in conservation activities, individuals can connect with a pivotal era in outdoor writing and gain a deeper appreciation for nature and heritage.

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