Hi! My name’s Dave Mance III. I’m the new Managing Editor at Northern Woodlands magazine, which is to say that I’m the new Anne Margolis (except not quite as organized and, well, a man). I like Russian novels and acoustic guitars. I’m partial to Stihl chainsaws and “green” tractors. I like photographing wildlife. In the springtime I help run a family maple sugaring operation (we tap about 2,500 trees). I’m a deer hunter, a trout fisherman and a pig farmer. In my free time I enjoy cutting firewood and making pickles.
Oh, and I’m thrilled to have this new job.
I live in Shaftsbury, Vermont, a little town north of Bennington. Geologists call this area the “Valley of Vermont” - a term that refers to all of the flat land that’s sandwiched between the Taconic and Green Mountain ranges. It’s a very different place, physically, than Corinth - where the magazine is based. In Shaftsbury, I stare at substantial peaks (substantial by Vermont standards): Red Mountain (2,850) and Equinox (3,850) to my north and west, Glastenbury (3,750) and Stratton (3,900) to my north and east; but up here, in Corinth, it’s one big network of hills. If you looked down at Orange County, Vermont from an airplane, I bet it would look like a mogul field on a ski slope.
But beyond the geological differences, the rural way of life is the same in both towns. People in both places still turn to the woods for respite and peace, for sustenance and fuel. People in both places still see the forest as something familiar - as a part of their lives. This ethos connects every little rural town across the Northeast, and it’s something I’m proud to have in my blood, proud to be a part of.
When you take a new job at a magazine, you’re excited, in a professional sense, to put your fingerprints on the document: to nudge, to influence, to take things in exciting new directions. You wouldn’t take the job otherwise. But fans of the magazine should know that besides this creative ambition, I bring to the job a healthy dose of reverence. Northern Woodlands has been my favorite magazine for many years now, and because of this, my stewardship role is akin to that of a forester entrusted to manage an already healthy, vibrant woodlot. It’s a privilege to join such a fine staff, a privilege to have the opportunity to work with such wonderful writers and photographers. Good editors are invisible. If, over the coming months, this blog is the only reason you know the magazine has changed managing editors, I’ll have done my job well.