The Singing Wilderness   Monica Jakuc
  Nov 04, 2005 14:41 PST 

Dear ENTS,

Now that I've finally negotiated my way through myriad offers and ads,
and with Bob's help, I've found the list. I'd like to share this quote
from a book that Lee Frelich gave us after his October ENTS visit.

from "The Singing Wilderness" by Sigurd F. Olson, p. 9

"Some years later I discovered a stand of virgin forest known as the
Northwest Corner. Here were tremendous trees, the last of the old
primeval stand, and on the ground huge moss-covered logs soft and spongy
with decay. This spot was different from any other I had known.......I
used to tiptoe into that timber and creep stealthily from bole to bole,
thrilled with strange and indefinable sensations, some of fear and some
of wonder and delight. Those ancient trees, the green-gold twilight
among them, the silence of that cushioned place did something to my
boyish soul which I have never forgotten."

Does anybody know where the Northwest Corner is?

Sigurd F. Olson is one of my favorite nature writers. As a musician, I
love his concept of the "singing wilderness." The passage above
describes one such song, for much of the song is in the silence.

Re: The Singing Wilderness   Edward Frank
  Nov 04, 2005 17:23 PST 

Check out:
Re: The Singing Wilderness   Lee E. Frelich
  Nov 07, 2005 06:53 PST 


I am not sure where the northwest corner is, but it is likely to be on
Burntside Lake, north of Ely, MN. Some 250-300 year old pine stands still
exist there, and their understories are totally moss covered so that its
like walking on a mattress. I know some people who were friends of Olson
and I will ask if they know exactly where the northwest corner is.

Olson also lived in northwestern WI near Hayward, where Uhrenholdt Memorial
Forest is named after Olson's father in law, but that forest is not old
enough to have had moss covered logs in Olson's time (its only 140 years
old today, and it is not far from Paul Jost's land and some of my earthworm
research sites). As a small child Olson lived on the Door Peninsula only
a few miles from my family's house, and his mention of that area is in a
different essay where he describes a shoreline of large limestone boulders
with waves and seagulls that he views from an old dock, which is in Sister
Bay, WI, where he says he first heard the Singing. That area has ancient
cedars, but the understory is not moss covered, so that can't be the
northwest corner.

Incidentally, The Chair of The Wilderness Society has officially designated
me as The Sigurd Olson Memorial Lecturer for 2006.


RE: The Singing Wilderness   Monica Jakuc
  Nov 07, 2005 10:18 PST 

Dear Lee,

Maybe someday I'll get to see that lovely forest.   Burntside Lake
sounds like a good candidate, but I'll await your consultation with
Olson's friends. And then I'll start hatching plans to go there.....

I'm thrilled that the Wilderness Society had the vision to make you The
Sigurd Olson Memorial Lecturer for 2006--it's a perfect fit.