Walter Forrest Altman

February 2, 1924January 19, 2014

W. Forrest Altman, 89, of Carrboro, (formerly of Caswell Co.) NC, died January 19, 2014. He is survived by his daughter, Lydian and her two daughters, Brooke and Christine; and his son Reed and his wife, Elizabeth, and their two children, Sebastian and Marisol. Forrest’s career as an educator, talent as a writer and love of nature led him to publish many books about the natural world including The Dan River Book and 26 Wilderness Adventures. He was a dedicated bio-regionalist who lived out his belief in saving the planet through conservation, preservation, and participation. His desire for Green Burial exemplifies that, in death as in life, Forrest strived to leave a gentle footprint. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to Dan River Basin Association. Online condolences can be offered at: A service of remembrance will be held at Eno River State Park, Cole Mill access, in Durham, on Sunday, February 2, 2014 from 2-3 pm.


Walter Forrest Altman

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Charlie Williams

February 25, 2014

I always enjoyed his company. I learned something from him each time we met. I was and continue to be proud to have know him.

Paul Johnson

February 4, 2014

Many of my best river memories involve paddling with Forrest, whose books are a treasure for everyone who loves the Dan River region. His vision of bio-regionalism was inspirational to Virginians as much as to Carolinians, and he will be remembered and missed for years to come.

Douglas Shumate

February 3, 2014

Paddling with Forrest always provided an opportunity to learn much. He loved passing on information not only about the river but also many other subjects. His books, his stories, his paddling companionship, and his friendship will be treasured for a long time. Troublesome Creek's Facebook page posted a picture of Forrest with a little girl in the bow of his canoe . Both were having much fun which gives a picture of how Forrest loved people, life, and the river.

T and Lindley Butler

February 2, 2014

The Dan River Basin Association owes a great debt to Forrest for his tireless work on behalf of the region (See for a tribute to him). His writings, his many friends and fellow travelers along the river corridor and beyond,and his sense of urgency have inspired many to join in the effort to preserve and promote the region's resources. Forrest always kept an eye on the future and emphasized the importance of educating and nurturing our youth to care for the planet. We all benefit from his example and his legacy. We miss the twinkle in his eye, his graceful gait, the poetry that accompanied us on our rivers and trails, his expert paddling form, and his scolding when he thought we should do more!

John Stephens

January 31, 2014

For Reed and Lydian, and others in the loving orbit of Mr. Altman: I am so sorry that you are bearing the passing of both parents. May you hold on to what is loving--in them, in you, and in your children--to lift spirits amidst the grief. Please call upon all who care for you to lighten your weight, as best as possible. - John Stephens

Bill and Becky Feldman

January 30, 2014

We will remember Uncle Walter for his often challenging perspectives on life, his love of writing, our mutual interest in the environment, including bicycling, and his stories of his adventures on the Dan River. He will be missed.

Mike Goodman

January 29, 2014

I didn't know Forrest well, but admired him from the few times I got to speak with him on the river. A great mind, a fine gentleman.

Ann Somers

January 29, 2014

Forrest was a force of nature himself. Every time we paddled together we talked about his new writing projects, spirituality, the river and Thomas Berry, whom he admired greatly. Truly a lifelong leaner he always seemed to want to provoke others into deeper thought. The word is a better place for his contributions to conservation.

Katherine Mull

January 28, 2014

Forrest was an inspiration to so many. His dedication to his community was the reason why so many good things have happened in NC over the decades. I will never forget his smile, the twinkle in his eye, and his kind words. He continues to inspire, and I feel truly blessed to have known him during my years in NC.

Brian Williams

January 28, 2014

I met Forrest through our mutual love of rivers and trails, paddling with him on several occasions,he always had keen insights and observations to offer. The first ever recipient of the "Spirit of the Dan" award, and well deserved, Forrest was a tireless proponent of clean water, trails and outdoor adventure. Happy Paddling Forrest !