Welcome to the Listening Point Foundation

Located in Ely, Minnesota, we are the Sigurd F. Olson legacy organization. Founded in 1998, Listening Point Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works to keep his legacy and philosophy alive in the world today while preserving the properties where he lived, wrote, and reflected on the relationship between wilderness and the human spirit.
Listening Point was a place of connection for Sig, continually renewing his sense of wonder and gratitude for the natural world. Honoring that, our vision is to foster people’s connection to wild places by inspiring them to find their own listening point.

Sigurd Olson (1899-1982) was a well-known environmentalist, award-winning conservation activist, and best-selling author. Though he lived in Ely, Minnesota and took numerous trips within the Quetico-Superior wilderness, he traveled widely and influenced the creation and preservation of natural areas across the country. Learn more about Sigurd Olson here.
Sigurd Olson created Listening Point in 1956 as a private retreat on the shores of Burntside Lake. It became widely known and celebrated after Alfred Knopf published Olson’s book, “Listening Point” in 1958. Learn more about Listening Point and how to visit here.
Founded in 1998 by Sig’s younger son, Robert K. Olson, the Listening Point Foundation continues to promote Sigurd F. Olson’s legacy. Located in Ely, MN, the Foundation headquarters in the Olson family homestead, and continues to preserve Sig’s Writing Shack and the Listening Point property, along with providing educational tours and opportunities to the community. Learn more about the Listening Point Foundation here.

We are dedicated...

To preserving Listening Point and advancing Sigurd Olson's wilderness philosophy.

Listening Point Foundation works to create strong connections with our community and supporters near and far. Our volunteer tour guides take visitors to Ely out in all seasons to experience the coziness of the Olson family home, the historic Writing Shack, and the wonder and beauty of Listening Point. Here in Ely, we now offer annual scholarships to the local high school and community college. We enjoy welcoming teachers and student groups to guided tours that explore Sig's national impact on wilderness preservation in Minnesota and across North America.


Annual Visitors


In Scholarships


Volunteer Hours

Keep the legacy alive by donating

We are working hard to create a sustainable financial future for the Listening Point Foundation.

Your donation helps us keep the mission alive and the Foundation moving forward. You can also make a lasting impression by donating a brick to our patio engraved with a message of your choice. Learn more by clicking below!

Upcoming Events

Sorry, there is no event under your selected page.

Our Community & Volunteers

We are grateful!

Tour guiding, service projects, building maintenance, garden tending, office organization, event volunteering, and so much more! Giving their time, efforts, and energy, Listening Point Foundation volunteers are an important and cherished part of our organization.

Learn more about what is going on in our community and how to volunteer!

From the Guest Book