Verne, a professional river guide for 45 years, has run more than a hundred rivers in 22 states and three Canadian provinces. A former National Park Service ranger/naturalist, he has guided trips on the Snake River in Hells Canyon and served as historian and naturalist for trips on the upper Missouri. With wilderness historian Roderick Nash, he has cruised the Columbia River, following the route of Lewis and Clark as field research for his book, On the River with Lewis and Clark (2003).
During his 10-year career as an environmental mediator, he assisted parties in reaching an agreement that controls development in the Columbia River estuary. Author of seven books and editor of two more, he has been called "the dean of river writers." His Rivers of Texas won the 2000 T. R. Fehrenbach Book Award from the Texas State Historical Commission. He has lived in Greece and England and throughout the western United States. His 22-year career teaching English, history, science, and negotiating skills included three years on the faculty of the University of Washington.