Josh Olsen

I was born and raised in North Central Montana and grew up exploring wild spaces from the Bears Paw to the Beartooth Mountains. Montana’s public lands have shaped my personal and professional life. I knew from a young age that I did not want a job where I had to comb my hair and couldn’t bring my dog. I have worked as an educator in the backcountry for over 15 years instructing backpacking, kayaking, climbing in addition to teaching avalanche education and wilderness medicine. I have had the privilege of instructing youth and adults in the remote landscapes throughout the American West, India, Tibet, China and Morocco. From these opportunities, I have learned that Montana’s vast public lands are truly unique and need to be protected.  When I am not working as an educator, I work at Bridger Bowl Ski Area as professional ski patroller and avalanche rescue dog handler. When not working you typically find me in the backcountry with my wife and two dogs.

In 2014, I co-founded the Montana Wilderness School, a 501(c)3 nonprofit outdoor education organization based in Bozeman. MWS provides multi-week wilderness expeditions for youth. MWS’ expeditions foster personal growth and cultivate a conservation ethic through connecting youth with remote landscapes and wild places. The driving force for me to help start this organization was to ensure Montana youth, the future decision makers of this state, had opportunities to access public lands and experience the transformative forces of nature. I am happy to promote the Montana Outdoor Heritage Project, because Montanans need to have a frank conversation about the future of our state and our public lands.  We have a choice. Will we do the hard work of protecting our public land, improving access and maintaining our outdoor heritage today?  Or are we going to look back in 20 years with regret.