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Followers strive to keep Sigurd Olson's legacy alive

By Doug Smith
Star Tribune
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Followers strive to keep Sigurd Olson's legacy alive

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 14, 2012 - 4:12 PM

Some 500 souls a year make a pilgrimage north to visit Olson's one-room log cabin and rocky, pine-studded "Listening Point'' retreat on Burntside Lake near Ely.

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Sigurd Olson's cabin at Listening Point near Ely, Minn.

Photo: Dennis Anderson, Star Tribune

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They keep coming.

Thirty years after legendary author, conservationist and wilderness advocate Sigurd Olson died while snowshoeing near his Ely home, some 500 souls a year make a pilgrimage north to visit Olson's one-room log cabin and rocky, pine-studded "Listening Point'' retreat on Burntside Lake near Ely.

Many come because, like Douglas Wood, they are touched by Olson's writings. When he first heard Olson's words decades ago, tears came to his eyes, and his life changed.

"There was an immediate, deep connection I felt,'' said Wood, who eventually quit his job as a music teacher and became a successful writer himself.

Wood, 60, of St. Cloud, is among a throng of devoted advocates trying to keep Olson's legacy -- and message -- alive. He chairs the board of directors of the Listening Point Foundation, a nonprofit group that now owns and operates Olson's treasured lakeshore property. The cabin, on a 27-acre rocky point, was donated by Olson's family in 1998 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

"People go to the wilderness for many things, but the greatest of these is the goodness of their souls,'' Olson wrote.

Read the full article here.

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