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David Austin will be making a presentation on Primitive Camping at the Lyons Heritage Society meeting on March 19th at 7:00 p.m. at the Lyons Public Library. This meeting is open it the public.

David Austin is an avid historian and outdoors-man. He grew up in Cooperstown canoeing on Otsego Lake and roaming the hills that were the backdrop for James Fenimore Cooper's book Deer-Slayer. Dave got an early introduction to the material culture of early American life. His father, Erwin, was an artist immersed in history while illustrating the historical books, The Golden Age of Homespun, Spooks of the Valley and Things That Go Bump in the Night. Dave's mother, Elizabeth, loved history and was the explorer in the family. She would often take Dave to the actual places where history happened.

When Dave graduated from college he joined the Nordic Ski Club and Ski Patrol in Rochester where he found a community of like minded outdoors people and became involved with hiking and backpacking. After several intense years of backpacking in the Adirondacks, Northern Pennsylvania and playing the “keep up with technology” equipment race – backpacking became too easy.

He often pondered to friends around a campfire, what would it be like to go out in the woods with only a knife and a blanket?

Looking for something different Dave joined a group of “living historians”- people who re-produce, as best they can, material culture, life styles and historical events in order to better understand the human experience. Combining his love of history and the outdoors he became a French & Indian war re- enactor. As a living historian he reads the historical accounts in the 17th , 18th & 19th century diaries of common people. He makes the material culture: period clothing, moccasins, food, pouches and leather items and has figures out how to make those systems work in the woods.

One of the accounts Dave read was about a small British scouting party in 1759 that was sent from Crown Point New York, on Lake Champlain to Fort La Presentation, Ogdensberg New York. The scouting party rowed batteau up Lake Champlain, followed the Ausable river, portaged Ausable Chasm, crossed the Adirondacks east to west and arrived at their destination 28 days later, out of food, and were captured by a French patrol. Dave's partial re-enactment of that trip was written about in an article in Adirondack Life magazine. That account was the stimulus for Dave and his fellow time- travelers to set a goal to climb the Adirondack 46 High-Peaks in 18th century attire. Dave and his companions have climbed 38 of the high-Peaks. During those trips and numerous period outings they have re-discovered primitive camping.

Primitive Camping Presentation: Dave Austin will share his experiences, equipment, clothing and techniques for an 18th century outing.

Dave is an artist / designer and lives with his family in Fairport New York. He can be contacted by email at Dave@AustinDesign3D.com or by phone at 585-694-0747.


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