By: Steffi O'Brien
This article was published in the Summer 2008 Listening Point Foundation newsletter.
By Kevin Proescholdt
It’s official: Listening Point, the land and cabin on Burntside Lake near Ely that provided respite and inspiration for conservationist and author Sigurd F. Olson, has been named to the National Register of Historic Places.
“We are delighted by this official recognition of the importance of both Sigurd Olson and of Listening Point,” said Chuck Wick of Ely, Vice-Chair of the Listening Point Foundation and a lifelong friend of Olson’s. “On the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Listening Point Foundation, it is a strong validation by the federal government of the importance of our work.”
“Not every property nominated makes it to the National Register,” explained Tim Rudnicki, Chair of the Listening Point Foundation. “We
submitted a lengthy and detailed application to the National Register, and our application then underwent a rigorous evaluation process. This
honor will aid our foundation in its work of preserving the Listening Point property as well as Sigurd Olson’s legacy of wilderness education.”
Sigurd Olson (1899-1982) was a nationally recognized wilderness advocate who actively promoted wilderness conservation with national organizations like the Izaak Walton League, National Parks Association, and the Wilderness Society. Though he worked on wilderness issues across the country, he worked for many decades to protect his beloved Quetico-Superior region, the international area that includes the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Quetico Provincial Park, and Voyageurs National Park.
Olson also became one of the nation’s most loved wilderness authors. His evocative writing captured the canoe country in nine books like The Singing Wilderness (1956), Listening Point (1958), and Reflections from the North Country (1976). Sigurd Olson created Listening Point in
1956 as a private retreat. It became widely known and celebrated after Alfred Knopf published Olson’s book of the same name two years later.
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of historic properties recognized by the federal government as worthy of preservation for their significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture. The National Register was created in 1966 and is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect our significant historic places under the provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act.
The Listening Point Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit charitable organization, was established in 1998 and is dedicated to furthering Sigurd Olson’s legacy of wilderness education, and preserving Listening Point, the rugged northern Minnesota lakeshore property. The Listening Point Foundation owns and cares for Listening Point, conducts visits for the interested public, publishes wilderness education materials, and sponsors
wilderness educational programs.