Written By Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune on Mar 18, 2018

When Will Steger goes on spring break, he knows how to avoid crowds. He heads in a familiar direction — North.

Ely’s Steger, who has led successful dogsled expeditions to the North Pole and across Antarctica, will leave northern Saskatchewan on Wednesday for a 1,000-mile solo trek across Canada’s treeless barrenlands. He plans to reach Baker Lake, near Hudson Bay, 70 days later in early June.

Now a fit 73, Steger will haul a custom-built canoe-sled loaded with 200 pounds of gear and food over lakes, rivers and portages. His route passes through no villages. He will be resupplied twice by a bush plane on skis.

Even by Steger’s standards, this journey will offer significant challenges.

He will face temperatures of 40 below to 40 above, he estimates, traveling unpeopled, unforgiving country known for its fierce winds. He will negotiate rivers that could be in spring break-up near the end of his trip. Thus, he tows the canoe, a Northstar design by Minnesotan Ted Bell fitted with runners so Steger can pull it or paddle it.

“This is serious,” Steger said in a telephone interview from Ely. “In these rivers, you could fall in. It can be life and death. This pushes all my skills.” He spent six months trying to find a suitably formidable route across the barrens, he said. For the past five springs, he has made similar journeys closer to home — in wooded country — finishing near his Ely homestead. He’s unlikely to see a tree for most of this trip.

Steger will have to average about 14 miles a day, mostly skiing or walking, to complete his trip on schedule.

“That’s quite a chunk,” Steger said. “But I think I have a good shot at it.”

Read the Full Article at Duluth News Tribune

By Cathy Wurzer, MPR

Explorer Will Steger has been pretty busy lately planning his next adventure, which starts later this week.

Will Steger at his exhibit “Inside an Explorer’s Mind: Survival, Innovation, Design” Sept. 30, 2013 at Minneapolis College of Art and Design in Minneapolis. Jennifer Simonson | MPR News 2013

Steger, from Ely, Minn., became famous leading dogsled expeditions to the North Pole and across Greenland and Antarctica. On those journeys he led a team of explorers, but on this one, Steger will go it alone. He’s looking forward to the solitude.

Steger, 73, will be traveling with a canoe that he will sometimes pull and sometimes paddle, and about 70 pounds of gear — clothes, a satellite phone, journals, an emergency locator — and 90 pounds of food and fuel.

Over the next couple of months he plans to ski, walk and canoe across a large area in the Barren Lands of the Canadian Arctic. It’s a part of the world he has explored before but not at this time of year.

Listen to the interview at MPR.org

This is an excerpt from:
Anderson: Steger, 72, embarks on latest solo canoe/sled adventure

By BRIAN PETERSON, Star Tribune on 03/24/17

For the full article, click below:

Anderson: Steger, 72, embarks on latest solo canoe/sled adventure
Thirty-one years have passed since Will Steger led the world’s first unsupported trek to the North Pole by dogsled. Up next he’s headed from Ely to Burchell Lake, Ontario.
March 24, 2017 — 5:35am

Thirty-one years have passed since Will Steger led the world’s first unsupported trek to the North Pole by dogsled. Up next he’s headed from Ely to Burchell Lake, Ontario.

Thursday morning while trains, planes and automobiles toted Twin Cities residents to their stations of labor, Will Steger began a commute of his own, from Ely to Burchell Lake, Ontario.

But rather than carrying a briefcase or a lunch bucket, Steger loaded his vehicle with a 12-foot-long canoe-sled, two paddles, a single-burner stove and enough oatmeal, butter, cheese, rice and pork to sustain him for a few weeks, or 150 miles through the bush, whichever comes first.

“I’ll be traveling alone in part because it’s safer being alone this time of year,” Steger said. “During spring breakup, when you travel on ice and water, or both, you often have to make decisions really fast, which is easier if you’re alone.”

Thirty-one years have passed since Steger led the world’s first unsupported trek to the North Pole by dogsled. He’s also crossed Greenland by dogsled, the longest such unsupported expedition in history at the time, in 1988, following which in 1995 at age 50, he spearheaded the first and only dogsled crossing of the Arctic Ocean, Russia to Canada’s Ellesmere Island.

Now Steger is 72 and from his encampment outside Ely, he longs still to move on…Read More

Arthur Levitt, former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, interviews polar explorer and environmental activist, Will Steger, on “A Closer Look With Arthur Levitt.”

producer: Arthur Levitt +1-212-617-5560 or acloserlook@bloomberg.net

Running time 30:05


This is an excerpt from:
Exploring new economic and cultural prospects, Iron Range seeks life beyond mining
By Jay Walljasper in the MINNPOST on 02/04/16

For the full article, click below:

Prototyping the future at Will Steger’s Wilderness Center

While Northeast Minnesota struggles with economic uncertainty in its legacy industry — mining — the potential of a dawning industry is being demonstrated in a remote corner of the Iron Range.

The Will Steger Wilderness Center, founded near Ely by the celebrated polar explorer, is the site of one of Minnesota’s first and largest renewable power grids — a next generation energy system providing all the facility’s electricity with solar (and eventually wind and biomass) power. The whole complex, which includes five buildings and a five-story conference center under construction, is powered by a state-of-the-art network of solar panels manufactured in Bloomington by Ten K Solar, as well as battery packs.

The system currently generates 10 to 12 kilowatts of power, with plans to ramp up to 20 to 30 kilowatts. It was installed by Sundial Solar of Minneapolis in partnership with the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering and Cummins Power Generation. Students from the University of St. Thomas and Anoka-Ramsey Community College are studying the power grid’s operations.

“The whole idea is that it is a demonstration project to show that [power grids] can be done,” explained Sundial CEO Jon Kramer. “It blows my mind what we’re doing.” Future plans call for using solar panels that will be manufactured by Silicon Energy in the nearby town of Mountain Iron.

The Wilderness Center encompasses Steger’s home, the lodge where all his polar expeditions were plotted, housing for staff and interns, a wood workshop, and the architecturally stunning conference center. Conceived by Steger during a prolonged blizzard on a dogsled expedition across Antarctica and built over the past 25 years mostly by apprentices working with master craftspeople, the conference center will bring together small groups of business, political, and citizen leaders to brainstorm solutions to critical environmental and social problems. The renewable power grid, Steger explains, will remind meeting participants about all that’s possible.

The center — which looks like an amalgam of a ski lodge, Gothic cathedral and solarium — is 85 percent complete and will host a pilot symposium about clean energy this fall, according to Steger.

On Monday, January 25th, 2016 at 9 PM Will Steger’s interview on The Mary Hanson Show will air.

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. (January 25, 2016) – Polar explorer Will Steger speaks about his experience in the wilderness, clean energy solutions and ties it all together by announcing the Steger Wilderness Center on The Mary Hanson Show. Mary Hanson has the longest running independently produced cable access show and has been hosting MN leaders since 1995. Mary consistently feeds her audience with information that can lead to positive changes. In this episode Will Steger talks about his 2015 solo expedition, the challenges the next generation faces today and how his philosophy and the opening of the Steger Wilderness Center can bring awareness about clean energy action and speak to the public on this crucial topic. Will is just weeks away from his 2016 solo expedition and the rerunning of this episode seems to be right on time as he gears up once again.

Will has always had a strong faith in the wilderness and can see how the power of innovation and group dynamics will help to create balance in today’s rapidly changing world. Will asks questions like, “How do we get away from coal?” and “How do we build a new economy?” While speaking with Mary he gives his outlook, talks about his experience in the wilderness and at one point comforts us all by saying, “There is a really great generation of young people in their twenties… they are taking on a world that is going to be challenging and I believe that generation is very capable…” Will believes that we have the power to solve the worlds energy consumption problems and can adapt to a less materialistic lifestyle.

If you live in the Minneapolis area, stay tuned to channel 6 on the Metro Cable Network. If you just can’t wait to check out this informative and encouraging episode follow the link below.

Will Steger - Mary Hanson Show - 2015
Watch the episode now, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FowbtzhPJig

Will Steger has accomplished the most significant polar expeditions in history. Steger is a recognized authority on polar environmental issues and a popular speaker, giving more than 100 invited presentations annually. To find out more about Will Steger visit www.willsteger.com.

The Will Steger Wilderness Center is a 501 (c) (3) organization and more information is available at www.stegerwildernesscenter.org.

We had a full and productive summer. Between June and September, we hosted an active Resident Program, Service Learning projects and Apprentices. Vital work by all of these groups helped the Center move closer to our goal of hosting our first leadership retreat pilot in the fall of 2016.

This year, our summer residents were students and recent graduates from Saint John’s University and the College of St. Benedict. Their energetic and tight-knit community contributed to many important construction projects that required mastery of working in the Center’s woodworking shop, building stonewalls ands stairways and framing up of the new washhouse. We welcomed the Conservation Corp of Minnesota, Climate Generation’s Yea! MN youth program, students from Face to Face Academy Charter School and the E-Club at Cambridge Community College. Skills development takes place at the same time as experiences that build self-reliance, problem solving, discipline and respect for the environment.

Thanks to all who came to experience the wilderness and contribute to the success of the center in the summer of 2015.

Photo by John Ratzloff.

25 years ago, Will Steger and five other team members from five countries traveled 3,700 miles across Antarctica by dogsled. In a grueling trip with the coldest temperatures on earth, the team raised worldwide attention around the preservation of Antarctica. This trip would be impossible today due to the loss of ice.

Together, they worked to ensure that the existing Antarctic Treaty be reconfirmed. The participating treaty nations added an environmental protocol and a 50-year ban on mining. Because of this, Antarctica is protected from mineral exploration and preserved for science and research. The explorers, together with their support team, formed bonds that would last a lifetime.

This October, with the launch of the book Think South: How We Got Six Men and Forty Dogs Across Antarctica, four of the expedition members returned to Minneapolis for a reunion. Written by the Trans-Antarctica Expedition Executive Director Cathy de Moll, Think South was featured at Talk of the Stacks at the Hennepin County Library to an overflowing crowd in honor of the 25-year anniversary of the expedition.

The historic work of the team is still important today. As they share these stories and first-person accounts, they help ensure that the next generation is educated and work to reduce global warming.

Both Think South and the newly reissued North to the Pole are available for purchase online.

Photo courtesy of the Friends of the Hennepin County Library.

IMG_0625The email message from Will contained one line: HAVE YOUR STUDENTS BRING RAIN GEAR. For the last ten years students from the Cambridge campus of Anoka Ramsey Community College have donned a variety of gear at the Steger Wilderness Center for a wide range of volunteer activities. These students, in groups as large as 20, make their way to the Steger Center from the Ethics class taught by Peter Wahlstrom, who saw Will’s ongoing project to turn his Homestead into a wilderness institute as a great Service Learning opportunity.

Last weekend students from Wahlstrom’s Ethics class were joined by students from the campus environmental club – ‘e-club’ – to tackle a number of projects. On Friday in a steady cold drizzle students spent the morning quarrying rock and the afternoon digging holes for planting trees. On Saturday the sky began to clear and by noon the autumn sun shone down on glad hands and busy feet as they spread mulch, hauled dirt, and made firewood.

Two full days of outdoor manual labor in sometimes less than ideal conditions can make for a trying experience, but the students from Cambridge campus were undeterred. They are inspired by the achievements of Will Steger and captivated by his vision of a cleaner, simpler world. There is also talk of how good that sauna will feel at the end of the day.

Over the years several of these service learning students have expressed their desire to return to the Steger Center, motivated now by passion rather than a grade. Some of those students end up joining the e-club, which makes regular visits to the Steger Center throughout the year, while others who show great promise end up being selected as interns for the summer residency program.

Whether it is for only a weekend, or several weekends, or an entire summer, the Steger Wilderness Center provides the students at Cambridge campus a unique opportunity to engage in authentic, hands on learning, for a life affirming cause they can feel passionate about. For many, they have finally found a place in the world worth fighting for, and when they return home they are not the same. This is education at its finest.

By Peter Wahlstrom

Media Contact
Joanne Henry

Will Steger to Speak and Reissue Book at Hennepin County Library’s Talk of the Stacks on Tuesday, October 20

Think SouthMINNEAPOLIS, MINN. (October 19, 2015) – Pioneering arctic explorer Will Steger and author Cathy de Moll will be featured speakers on Tuesday, October 20 at 7 p.m. at Talk of the Stacks at the downtown Minneapolis Hennepin County Library with the release of de Moll’s book Think South: How We Got Six Men and Forty Dogs Across Antarctica. De Moll was the executive director and organizer of the Trans-Antarctica Expedition team that included Steger and five other explorers from five countries. Steger’s book North to the Pole will also be reissued and available for purchase and autographing at the event. Both books were published by the Minnesota Historical Society.

In addition to Steger, de Moll will be joined on stage at the event by co-leader Jean Etienne of France. Other expedition members will be in the audience.

North to the Pole is a direct account from Will Steger of the first dogsled expedition to the North Pole without resupply in 1986.

The program, held at the Hennepin County Library in downtown Minneapolis, is free and open to the public. Seating is on a first come, first served basis with doors opening at 6:15 p.m. and program beginning at 7:00 p.m.

More information about Will Steger and his work at the Will Steger Wilderness Center can be found at www.stegerwildernesscenter.org.