May 24, 2013

Tom Myrick, communications director
International Wolf Center
3410 Winnetka Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55427
Office: 763-560-7374 ext. 225
Cell: 763-560-7368
Tom Myrick

The International Wolf Center is proud to announce the opening of a fascinating new exhibit highlighting American author and environmentalist, Sigurd Olson. Among other photos and artifacts, The Sigurd Olson Legacy: Wilderness, Writing and Wolves Exhibit, May 19 through October 31, features a recreation of Olson’s famous writing shack.

Sigurd F. Olson was one of America’s most beloved nature writers and most influential conservationists of the 20th century. Best known as the author of The Singing Wilderness and eight other books, Olson also played an important role in the preservation of a number of national parks, seashores, and wilderness areas.

Experience the Sigurd Olson you didn’t knowExperience the Sigurd Olson you didn’t know

According to Nancy jo Tubbs, the Center’s board chair, those who know Olson as a popular writer and successful activist for the conservation of wild­lands will get a peek into the Olson most don’t know.

“For example, Olson first agreed with the public’s disapproval of wolves and support of their extermination until he began work toward his master’s thesis in 1930. Olson’s pio­neering wolf research, though unsophisticated by today’s standards, transformed him into an admirer of the species and resulted in the first-ever scientific study of wolves. His thesis, ‘The Life History of the Timber Wolf and the Coyote: A Study in Predatory Animal Control,’ on display at the exhibit, ended with the proposal that Minnesota’s Superior National Forest be designated as a sanctuary for carnivores,” says Tubbs.

As an author and speaker, Olson was unsurpassed in capturing the sense of awe, wonder and connectedness that close contact with nature can bring to people, explains Tubbs.

“Olson struggled for many years to find his personal literary voice and become a regularly pub­lished writer. A replicated corner of his ‘writing shack’ is on display in the exhibit. ‘The only thing that will give me real joy is the painting of word pictures, moods and emotions,’ he wrote in his journal. The lyricism of his essays lets his readers feel the splash of a lake wave on the hull of a canoe and find rejuvenation and meaning in the yodel of the loon or the spark of a campfire after a long portage at the end of the day.”

Olson’s first book of 34 essays on wilderness and the Quetico-Superior canoe country, The Singing Wilderness, was published in 1956 when he was 57. As a wilderness activist and advisor to presidents, policymakers and environmental organizations, Olson was instrumental in the creation of wilderness areas across the continent, including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Quetico-Superior. He fought for wildlands in legislative and policy battles over dams, logging, development and mining, much like those in contention today.

The exhibit also includes eight Francis Lee Jaques, pen and ink originals, which were used to illustrate two of Sigurd Olson’s books: The Singing Wilderness and Listening Point. Visitors will also see a wolf research timeline for the United States, a map of Olson-influenced wilderness areas, and the story of the Listening Point Foundation, which advances Olson’s legacy of wilderness education and preserves his cabin at Listening Point near Ely.

The exhibit was created by the foundation in celebration of LPF’s 15th anniversary. Support for this exhibit was provided by LPF members Donna Arbaugh and Walt and Lin Pomeroy. Additional funding was granted by the Henry and Sarah Wheeler Historical Awareness Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation and by the Arts and Culture Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008, and administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.


The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future.