Gusty Island


Introducing a special new addition to the Listening Point Foundation.

In partnership with the Trust for Public Land and the Minnesota Land Trust, Listening Point Foundation is excited to announce that we have taken over stewardship of Gusty Island on Burntside Lake.

In 2019, Trust for Public Land donated Gusty Island to Listening Point Foundation, after first placing it under a conservation easement with the Minnesota Land Trust. We have been working closely with both organizations to put measures in place that protect the present ecological systems, allow regulated public access, and give us the flexibility to use the island for future environmental education purposes.

About Gusty Island

Gusty Island is an undeveloped 4.5 acre property on Burntside Lake, near Ely, Minnesota. Tucked in near a protected cluster of islands, it sits less than a mile from Sigurd Olson’s beloved Listening Point. 

The island contains rolling, relatively rugged topography, with many rock outcroppings and domed hills that rise as much as 30-40 feet above the shoreline of the lake. Gusty is almost entirely forested, largely with even-aged red pine over 100 years old. White pine and cedar are also present, along with balsam, birch, spruce, and aspen. In the fairly open understory, widespread and undisturbed lichen and moss make up much of the forest floor. It is a classic Canadian Shield, north woods scene. 

Future Possibilities

The future possibilities for Gusty Island are numerous and exciting. The vision is gradually developing, and we are looking forward to sharing our progress with you as we advance into the years ahead. It is certain that this island will allow Listening Point Foundation to further our mission of advancing Sig’s wilderness philosophy by being a place that inspires wonder and connection. We invite you to get involved and stay tuned as the story unfolds!

Become part of the story by donating

We're excited to continue sharing the story of Gusty Island as it unfolds.

Your donation helps us keep the mission alive and the Foundation moving forward into this exciting future! You can also make a lasting impression by donating an Engraved Brick to our patio. Learn more by clicking below!


Special thanks to The Trust for Public Land, Minnesota Land Trust, the Outdoor Heritage Fund, and the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.

About Listening Point


Sigurd Olson's historic cabin retreat and property on the edge of the wilderness in northern Minnesota. Guided Tours are available through the Listening Point Foundation in Ely, Minnesota.

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.

About The Foundation


The Listening Point Foundation works to preserve Listening Point and promote the legacy of Sigurd F. Olson in the world today.

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.