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Sigurd F. Olson, 1889-1982

"The movement of a canoe is like a reed in the wind. Silence is part of it, and the sounds of lapping water, bird songs, and wind in the trees. It is part of the medium through which it floats, the sky, the water, the shores....There is magic in the feel of a paddle and the movement of a canoe, a magic compounded of distance, adventure, solitude, and peace. The way of a canoe is the way of the wilderness, and of a freedom almost forgotten. It is an antidote to insecurity, the open door to waterways of ages past and a way of life with profound and abiding satisfactions. When a man is part of his canoe, he is part of all that canoes have ever known." -Sigurd Olson, The Singing Wilderness, 1956

From the 1920's, wilderness ecologist Sigurd F. Olson of Ely fought for the wilderness areas he loved. Through his work with the Isaak Walton League, the Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, and government committees, Sigurd helped establish/protect the Quetico Provincial Park, Superior National Forest, Alaskan Artic Wildlife Refuge, and Voyageur's National Park. Credited partly to Sigurd is the creation of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978.

Author of many wonderful books, Sigurd passed away of a heart attack at age 93 while snowshoeing in Ely, Minnesota.


Related Links
Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute Chronology of Sigurd Olson's Life
Sigurd Olson Photo Essays Conservation Hall of Fame
Sigurd Olson Biographical Notes Classic Books of the BWCA
Sigurd Olson Website Ernest Oberholtzer


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