About the Listening Point Foundation


Listening Point Foundation is dedicated to preserving Listening Point and advancing Sigurd F. Olson's legacy of wilderness education.

The Listening Point Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)3 educational organization, was established in 1998 by Sig’s younger son, Robert K. Olson. The Foundation owns and cares for Listening Point, the rugged northern Minnesota lake shore property and the historic cabin and sauna there.

In 2014, Listening Point Foundation had the rare opportunity to obtain the home where Sig and Elizabeth lived for decades in Ely, Minnesota. This is also where Sig’s cozy “Writing Shack” is located; the converted one-car garage where he wrote all nine of his bestselling books.

Now headquartered there, the Listening Point Foundation conducts guided tours for the interested public of the Olson family home, Writing Shack, and nearby Listening Point. We publish wilderness education materials and sponsor wilderness education programs, and our mission keeps us looking for news ways to connect the past to the present.

If you would like to visit Listening Point, the cabin, the Sigurd Olson family home and Sig’s “writing shack” in town, we welcome you! Learn how to visit here.

Also, please explore our community page to stay engaged with upcoming events and programs, follow us on social media, and stay tuned for news and updates!

About Sigurd F. Olson


A writer with a deep, lifelong passion for the importance of wilderness to the human spirit, and the desire to share it with the world.

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.

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.

We are dedicated...

To preserving Listening Point and advancing Sigurd Olson's legacy of wilderness education.

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, and 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

Foundation Leadership

Our Board of Directors, Executive Director, and Advisory Board are passionate about continuing the legacy of Sigurd F. Olson in the world today. We also have a host of volunteers who keep our community strong. Learn more about our volunteer opportunities here.

Board of Directors

  • Douglas Wood, President
  • Charles Wick, Vice President
  • Patsy Mogush, Secretary
  • Casey Campbell, Treasurer
  • Robert K. Olson, President Emeritus
  • Mark Allsup
  • Alan Brew
  • Lindsey Marschka
  • Cori Mattke
  • Sharon Rome
  • JoyGenea Schumer
  • Bryan Stenlund

Executive Director

  • Steffi O’Brien


  • Paul Anderson – Bloomington, MN
  • Dr. David Backes – Milwaukee, WI
  • John “Jeb” Barzen – Spring Green, WI
  • Tim Barzen – Edina, MN
  • Jim Brandenburg – Ely, MN
  • Larry Dolphin – Austin, MN
  • Karen Friedrich, Ely, MN
  • Jon Helminiak – Mequon, WI
  • Mike Link – Willow River, MN
  • Vance G. Martin – Boulder, CO
  • Walter Pomeroy – Mechanicsburg, PA
  • Kevin Proescholdt – St. Paul, MN
  • Clayton Russell – Ashland, WI
  • Steve Waddell – Bellbrook, OH
  • John Wilke – St. Paul, MN
  • Bryan Wood – Lindstrom, MN
  • Dave Zentner – Duluth, MN
  • Franco Zunino – Murialdo, Italy

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!