Mail Tribune outdoors writer Mark Freeman won five national writing awards in the Excellence in Craft contest for 2006 by the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

Mail Tribune outdoors writer Mark Freeman won five national writing awards in the Excellence in Craft contest for 2006 by the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

Freeman won three second-place awards and two third-place awards in four categories among newspaper submissions by OWAA members throughout North America.

Freeman won second and third place in the Wilderness writing category. Second place went to a column about a study on whether a new fungi compound could solve overflowing pit-toilet problems in the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River; third place went to a story about volunteers backpacking in rainbow trout to help the Forest Service stock Babyfoot Lake.

Freeman's second-place entry in the Conservation/Environment category was for "Arson in the Name of Activism," a story tracing some of the arsonists since convicted as eco-terrorists for burning buildings in the name of the Earth Liberation Front or Animal Liberation Front.

Second place in the Fishing category came for "Derby Dudes," a story on a group of Northern California anglers who follow age-old rituals while wearing derby hats during annual trips to Howard Prairie Lake.

Freeman won third place in Outdoor Ethics for a piece titled "Fatal Goodwill" about a reformed deer-feeder trying to get her Jacksonville neighbors to stop feeding local blacktails.

The winning entries can be viewed at the archives of the Mail Tribune's Web site at www.mailtribune.com.

The awards were presented June 17 at the OWAA annual conference in Roanoke, Va. In all, Freeman has won 19 writing awards during his 14 years of OWAA membership.

Also at the conference, Freeman was re-elected western chairman of the association's newspapers section for the third consecutive year.