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  Paul Petzoldt
The Year was 1965…

The Wilderness Act was one year old. Americans were beginning to turn more attention to the outdoors and the environment, pressing for laws to protect clean air and water and sparking a decade or more of environmental enlightenment.

Paul Petzoldt, a legendary mountaineer, had a dream. He wanted to train leaders. He wanted to help people learn to care about and protect the wilderness. Petzoldt saw his dream come to life in Wyoming that year. He called it the National Outdoor Leadership School.

NOLS History
Learn how the school grew from about 100 students the first summer to become the leader in outdoor education with nearly 200,000 graduates worldwide…
Timeline
Check out the NOLS timeline–it’s a fun way to view the list of events that makes NOLS what it is today.

Paul Petzoldt, founder of NOLS
Paul first climbed Wyoming’s Grand Teton at the age of 16 wearing cowboy boots. Learn more about the man who started it all…

 
97% of NOLS grads would recommend a NOLS course to their friends.
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WHAT MAKES NOLS THE LEADER?

Our 45 years of experience and time-tested curriculum has produced nearly 200,000 leaders.
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