by Robert Countryman
In April of 1956 Sigurd F. Olson released his first book, The Singing Wilderness, which for many became the Bible of wilderness spirituality.? It was Sigurd?s belief that man was genetically tied to the land, to the uncharted and untamed wilderness; that something ? some spiritual connection ? existed on the cellular level between humans and the natural world.? It was also his belief that as a race we were losing this connection, that the bond between man and nature was frayed almost to the breaking point.? As an author and leader at the forefront of the conservation movement of his time, Sigurd spent his life?s energy trying to convince the world that nature does matter, that wilderness has vital meaning in our lives.? He believed that by breaking our bond with nature people would be losing something essential, a spiritual connection rooted in the human soul.
It has been some 50 years since Sigurd released that first book.? It is appropriate then to step back and reflect on his work and life.? If Sigurd?s name and work are not remembered or discussed as they once were perhaps it was time to renew the discussion.? Joining with filmmaker Peter Olsen, we embarked upon a journey to capture the spirit of Sigurd?s work, in a first step to reacquaint the world with his writing and his beliefs, and to bring the beauty and essence of the natural world to life for the screen.? Our format would be a documentary.? Our quest was to answer the question ? does wilderness still have meaning??? This first trip would be an experiment, a test of the feasibility of bringing high-end, broadcast quality (read: large and heavy) video gear on a wilderness expedition.