Wilderness Days by Sigurd F. Olson

This title is part of BHA's Jim Posewitz Digital Library: Required Reading for Conservationists

Already familiar with the writings of Leopold, Abbey, Kimmerer, and Rinella, among others, just this year I discovered Sigurd Olson. How his work escaped me for this long is somewhat disturbing: Olson's contribution to the wilderness conservation movement is critical, especially concerning the conservation of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Wilderness Days is a collection of chapters from his various books organized by season, paired with new essays introducing each section. It serves as an excellent introduction to his work, and it features beautiful photography, though nothing matches his magnificent and illustrative prose. Olson captures the sights, sounds, and most importantly, the feeling of wilderness in all its magnificent glory and legend. His writings speak to the importance of wilderness to the human condition, to our mind and spirit. His words are especially calming and reassuring during this time of upheaval and uncertainty (Covid-19 pandemic, April 2020).

All of Olson's works are a reminder of why we love the backcountry, especially when we can't be there in person; they guide us down a path of fond reflection and provide us with eager inspiration to plan our next adventure. Just as easily, the reader can envision returning to Olson's words under the stars, next to a crackling campfire or in the tent with the soft drumming of rain overhead. No conservation reading list is complete without at least one work from Olson, and Wilderness Days is an excellent place to start. 

Thank you for all that you and BHA do. Conservation is more important now than ever, and I will always be a proud BHA member. 

-ROB WUNDER, BHA Missouri chapter member, Eagle Scout, Master Naturalist and Leave No Trace Trainer 


Purchase Wilderness Days on Amazon Smile, and register Backcountry Hunters & Anglers as your preferred non-profit to give back to your wild public lands, waters and wildlife. 

About Zack Williams

Backcountry Journal editor

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