Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Celebrity Paddles: Sigurd Olson's Canoe Paddle

Most wilderness canoeists certainly know about the paddling exploits, wilderness writings and environmental advocacy  of Sigurd Olson (April 4, 1899 – January 13, 1982).

1942 photo of Sigurd Olson in a Border Lakes Outfitting Company Canoe

Well known on both sides of the U.S. / Canada border, he was instrumental in the establishment of today's Boundary Waters wilderness parks as well as being the most famous member of the "Voyageurs", a group of hardy canoeists that retraced historical Canadian trade routes in the 1950s & 1960s.

There is a quaint 2 part wilderness film on Vimeo entitled "Wilderness Canoe Country" featuring Olson in some beautiful vintage footage.

Turns out the online collections of the  Minnesota Historical Society has a paddle belonging to Olson. It's a graceful hardwood paddle but unfortunately cannot be specifically dated. Here is a pic with details below.

Hardwood stern paddle is long and made of single piece of wood. Belonged to Minnesota Nature writer Sigurd Olson. Date unknown.
Length: 71-1/2 inches 
Blade Width: 6 inches 
Shaft diameter: 1 1/2 inches 
Dates Creation: 1900 - Not later than 1978
ID Number 1978.81.3

As an aside, there are some more posts on the site about other "Celebrity Paddles" like Bill Mason's Clement paddle sold at auction or this writeup of Archie "Grey Owl" Belaney's paddles.

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