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After college at Yale, W. Kent Olson's first charitable work began in 1971 at age 25 when he became the youngest person ever to direct the Appalachian Mountain Club's (AMC) combined Hut System, Pinkham Notch Camp, Saco River campgrounds. He was publisher and editor-in-chief of many AMC books, maps, magazines (including Appalachia), and published many of his own books and articles. Ken retired in 2006 from a three-decade conservation career that included 20 years as chief executive of three nonprofit corporations: The Nature Conservancy of Connecticut, American Rivers (formerly Amerian Rivers Conservation Council), and Friends of Acadia.

This collection consists of W. Kent Olson's professional papers (1931-2011), plus documents in other media, spanning a three-decade career in nonprofit management, publishing, lecturing, and alliance building around a passion for conserving public lands and waterways, primarily in Maine. The papers also include non-conservation and personal materials.

Publication Date



Nature and Geography, Recreation and Tourism, Science and Technology


Environmental Sciences | Natural Resource Economics | Natural Resources and Conservation

Size of Collection

35 boxes (35 linear feet)

Dates of Collection


Manuscript Number

SpC MS 1795

Olson (W. Kent) Conservation Papers, 1931-2011