Wilderness Guide

bill_on_monument_portage-323x477Bill’s first canoe trip was at the age of sixteen and he’s been hooked on wilderness canoeing ever since.

Bill graduated from Mankato State University and became an art teacher in southeast Minnesota. He rewarded himself with a canoe of his own after completing his first year of teaching.

Bill, his family and friends enjoyed many trips to the BWCA. These trips eventually led to guiding and outfitting trips for church, Boy Scout, and school groups. His passion for canoeing is exemplified by the fact that he canoed every month of the year for five years.

Bill and a co-worker outfitted and guided trips for his school district for fifteen years. The program offered both winter camping and canoe trips for high school students. These students had experiences that included winter camping, canoeing and portaging, fishing, orienteering, and developing respect and appreciation for the wilderness.

Many former students have since become avid canoeists themselves.


After a rewarding career as an art teacher, Bill and his wife RuthAnn have moved to acreage near Ely. They are enjoying the opportunity of partaking in the wilderness experience on a daily basis.

Bill’s teaching experience provides him with skills that help him work well with groups of adults and young people. He is organized, patient and able to help his group develop the skills needed to enjoy the wilderness experience of a BWCA trip. Bill’s goal as a guide is to provide his group with experiences that reveal the beauty, serenity, and personal connection that you can have with a wilderness area. He believes every trip should provide a sense of accomplishment, relaxation, and inner peace for all group members.

There is magic in the feel of a paddle and the movement of a canoe, a magic compounded of distance, adventure, solitude and peace. The way of a canoe is the way of the wilderness and of a freedom almost forgotten, the open door to waterways of ages past and a way of life with profound and abiding satisfaction.

-Sigurd Olson