This year marks an exciting time in NOLS history.
We celebrate two important anniversaries this year — the
school’s 39th year teaching wilderness education
and the 40th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
is a strong and timeless connection between NOLS
and the Wilderness Act. It’s no coincidence that
NOLS was born in 1965, just a year after Congress passed
the Wilderness Act to ensure future generations “the
benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness.” NOLS
founder Paul Petzoldt testified before Congress in
favor of the Act. He had a vision to connect people
with wilderness in an enduring way, and today that
vision lives on as NOLS students explore the world’s
Over the years, NOLS has evolved in many ways — techniques
have been refined, woolen Army surplus clothing has
given way to Capilene and Gore-Tex, and our geographical
scope has broadened — but our foundation remains
rooted in wilderness and its preservation.
years teaching wilderness skills and leadership,
NOLS graduates have become a population of wilderness
advocates — voices
in defense of the National Wilderness Preservation