Writing always with the sensitive, lyric prose that characterizes his works, Olson recalls his pioneering youth on a remote Wisconsin farm, his summers as a wilderness canoe guide, and his thousands of miles of travel through the wilds of this country and Canada. "Open Horizons is the story of the unknowns I have discovered, and gone through", he writes.
While telling his story, Olson makes a compelling case for preserving the wilderness. He puts forth his own life as an example of how nature can have a spiritual effect on the human soul, and proposes diligence on behalf of those who fight to conserve our forests, wet-lands, and dunes. "If we can move into an open horizon where we can live in our modern world with ancient dreams that have always stirred us, then our work will have been done".