This site is currently  

 under construction  


My name is James Ross, a long time friend of Dr. William Forgey M.D. I’m creating this website to tell the story of how the Forgey-Cabin came to be, and the many people and adventures that have occurred there over more than 30 years. I met the doctor during a fierce winter snow storm, buffeting northwest Indiana, during a lecture and slide presentation, given by Dr. Forgey, early in 1978. He was speaking of his building a wilderness cabin in northernmost Manitoba, Canada. It had been his dream over many years to build a remote wilderness log cabin, and live in it for a year.


After his presentation, I was introduced to “Doc”, as his friends call him, by a mutual friend, who had  spent a part of the previous two summers constructing that cabin. Over the next few months, Doc and I became friends, sharing our interests and adventures of time spent out-of-doors. Thus, this is how I met  and began a long fulfilling friendship with one of the most intelligent persons I know (next to my father),  as well as the “Father of Wilderness Medicine” as he is often referred to as.


Self portrait, along Lake Michigan shorline, Portage Indiana, May 2010 - James Ross


James Ross Holding large Northern Pike fish caught in the cold waters of the Little Beaver River,

which flowed alongside the Forgey Cabin,

July, 1978, Manitoba, Canada. Taken by Greg Filter.


As Doc and I were talking one evening over dinner, he spoke of how he had noticed my keen interest in the cabin during his presentation, by my wide eyed, on the edge of my seat interest. Doc spoke of how he would never be able to take a year away from his responsibilities, as the head of a local emergency clinic, to complete his dream of living in the cabin for a year. As he paused, setting down his utensils and folding his hands before him, he asked how I would like to spend a year living in his cabin. As part of a two man team, the other person was a man just a couple years older than I, Greg Filter, who had headed up the actual building of the cabin. Beginning early that summer, we would finish the work needed to make the cabin livable, comfortable, and capable of providing a protective shelter, where two men could survive a winter in that extreme winter climate.


I was awe stricken, as one could expect. This opportunity took me by surprise. Sure, I had thought of doing something like this, as most outdoor enthusiasts do. But having it actually offered to me, with a recently built cabin available, stunned me. He quickly told me not to answer him right now, but to think it over, talk with my parents and friends about it, and let him know after allowing some time to really think it over.


As he stated while we talked, there was a lot to consider, having just graduated from high school less than a year previous. There was quitting my jobs, saying good-bye to my girlfriend, ending moto-cross racing, and leaving behind friends and family. Walking away from my life in suburbia, he told me, and entering a world of absolute wilderness had its consequences, as well as perceived and un-expected rewards.


But let me take things in order. The up-coming pages will be to hi-lite the trips in the order they occurred, including the people involved, that have had the great opportunity to be involved in one way or another with the Forgey Cabin project. And, a lot needs to occur before I'm offered the opportunity to be a part of the Forgey Cabin experience.


Dr. William W. Forgey M.D.


William W. Forgey, MD, is currently on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Medical Assistance for Travelers (IAMAT), Toronto. He is an Associate Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine. He serves as the Medical Director of the Community Health Department of St Mary Medical Center, Hobart, Indiana and he practices Family and Travel Medicine in Merrillville, Indiana.


He was a member of the Board of the Wilderness Medical Society (WMS), from 1993 until 2004. He served as President from 2000 until 2002. He has served as program chair for several meetings and has lectured at many WMS programs.


He is on the Health and Safety Committee of the National Board of the Boy Scouts of America. He was named a Fellow of the Explorers Club in Oct 1975 and in 2005 named one of America's 20 outstanding living explorers.


The 2005 Boy Scout National Jamboree named Sub-camp 13 in his honor. He is the National Medical Counsel for the Outdoor Writers of America and the National Medical Advisor for the Student Conservation Association. He was formerly an adjunct faculty member at Western Illinois University and Slippery Rock (Pennsylvania) University.


Doc Forgey is currently a Volunteer Associate Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, Northwest Center for Medical Education, Gary, Indiana. He was awarded the Volunteer Professor of the Year in 2000, by the Alpha-Omega-Alpha Medical Honorary of the Indiana University School of Medicine, the first year that this honor was bestowed.


He has authored 22 books, including The Basic Illustrated Wilderness First Aid (Falcon Press, May 2008), Wilderness Medicine, Beyond First Aid, and two chapters in Expedition Medicine (Cambridge University Press, 2008). He has edited the last three editions of the Wilderness Medical Society Practice Guidelines (1995, 2001, and 2006). 


Forgey – Haiti


As of this writing; Nov. 24, 2010, Dr. Forgey is en-route to Verrets, Haiti, to assist in the treating of residents there as a result of the cholera outbreak. As a Volunteer Associate Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, Northwest Center for Medical Education, Gary, Indiana, he is an instructor of medical students in a Medical Ethics class. As a part of that class, a Medical Student Mission was created by the 19 members of the I.U. School of Medicine class of 2013, to provide medical assistance to the victims of the massive earthquake that shook that country to its foundations earlier this year.


St. Mary Medical Center, Hobart, Indiana, where Dr. Forgey serves as a physician, has been the primary supporter of this mission through financial contributions, as well as medical supplies. Local Northwestern Indiana businesses, and individuals, have also been supporters of this effort through financial contributions. Lorenzo Marcolongo, a representative of the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT), based in Toronto, Canada, will be traveling with and assisting Dr. Forgey, in part as a translator, as well as a supporting member of IAMAT.


The students, under Dr. Forgey’s leadership, will be operating a clinic for maternal health and sick child assessments, concerning general health, and medical needs, including earthquake relief, and now support for victims of the cholera epidemic.


Anyone wishing to participate in this endeavor may make financial contributions that will be used for medical supplies, nutritional needs, and health education for Haitian patients utilizing the medical student supported clinic, can visit  WWW.MEDICALSTUDENTMISSIONS.ORG.  Any donations would be greatly appreciated by the medical students, and the people of Haiti.

Another website that doesn't forget Haiti is which is supported by the Students Medical Missions organization, of which Dr. Forgey is a leading member of. If you are interested in serving the wonderful people of Haiti, we have the perfect opportunity for you. You don't need you have a medical background, as all types of volunteers are needed.


Dr. Forgey has a deep love of wilderness, adventure, medicine, travel, and sharing himself with others through his medical practice, support and involvement of travel adventures, giving to the community through his work with local hospitals and educational institutions, and personal mentoring in all these areas, while  maintaining  many lasting individual friendships.


Dr. Forgey with a favorite travel companion and best of friends, Jack.

He will be lovingly remembered.

Doc and long time friend Tom Todd, having fun loading a duluth pack into canoe.

Tom originally owned Jack the dog (above). Alas, Jack always wanted to be with Doc.

When friends were all together, and time came for Tom to head home, he'd say to Jack;

"Come on Jack - lets go home". Jack would hang his head sullenly.

Tom would ask; "or do you want to stay with Doc?"

Jack would jump up and down with excitement.

How do you argue with that?