Forever Wild: The Man Who Walked His Talk

by JC

Walkin’ Jim Stoltz

Walkin' JIm Stoltz

Via Paul Richards:

Legendary American folksinger, backcountry traveler, and wilderness advocate James “Walkin’ Jim” Stoltz passed late Friday night, September 3, 2010, at St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena, Montana.

Stoltz, age 57, a veteran performer for 35 years, earned his nickname “Walkin’ Jim,” by hiking more than 27,000 miles through wild country in North America. Packing a guitar and penning extraordinary lyrics along the trails, Walkin’ Jim’s always-humble-yet-strikingly-powerful songs voiced enormous respect and appreciation for the Earth, its wild places, and the wild critters that he carefully studied and truly adored.

I met Walkin’ Jim almost 25 years ago, and had the honor of listening to his music, and following his adventures through the years. I worked with Jim on his Musicians United to Sustain the Environment (MUSE) nonprofit and website for many years, and found his selfless and boundless energy to be an inspiration in my work and music, and that carried me through many a rough time when the going seemed dark and unfathomable.

I am grateful that I was able to attend Walkin’ Jim’s last public concert in Montana, a benefit for the Last Best Place Wilderness Campaign on March 6th, 2010 at the Stensrud Building in Missoula. The gravel in his voice that night was a portentous reminder of the fleeting moment we all experience upon this planet. The purity of his spirit and being serves as a reminder to us all that we can rise above the petty nonsense that passes for politics, and ground ourselves in the land from which we all arose, and to which we all shall pass.

Buffalo Spirit
“Buffalo Spirit” by Walkin’ Jim Stoltz

May the Buffalo Spirit carry you far on your journeys–forever wild and free, my friend.


“Forever Wild”
By Walkin’ Jim Stoltz

There’s a magic in the air, that I feel when I am there,
It plays straight to my heart, and lays it all a’bare,
It’s in the cry of the eagle and the deer so meek and mild,
It’s in the rise of a mountain, let it stay Forever Wild.

Forever wild, Forever Wild
Let it stay, Forever Wild.

It’s in all that is not tame, and some that can’t be named,
It’s in the fog down in the valley, and the scent of summer rain,
It’s in the scream of a lion when she’s soundin’ like a child,
It’s in the song of a river, let it stay Forever Wild.

Forever wild, Forever Wild
Let it stay, Forever Wild.

Now the Earth it holds the key to all that shall be free,
It’s in the peace of the desert and the wisdom of the trees,
It’s in the grace of a swan’s wing and the grizzly when she’s riled
It’s in all the love I bear it, let it stay Forever Wild.

Forever wild, Forever Wild
Let it stay, Forever Wild.

There are those of my own kind, they’re runnin’ fast, but goin’ blind
And the only thing they worship, is their God, the dollar sign
We must fight* them with our Spirit, with our might, and with our guile
We must show them that the answer: It must be Forever Wild.

Forever wild, Forever Wild
Let it stay, Forever Wild.

Forever wild, Forever Wild
Let it stay, Forever Wild.

By Walkin’ Jim Stoltz on Wild Wind Records
©1986 by Walkin’ Jim Stoltz

  1. mr benson

    Saw his obit today. He’s a contemporary and I remember him from those halcyon daze of yore, me going off to work, him off to do what he wanted. He lived his life the way he wanted to. Good for him!

  2. pj

    I hadn’t heard until I read this post… I’m stunned. He did indeed walk his talk. His was a powerful voice for wildness.

  3. Big Swede

    Back in the early eighties we used to listen to Walkin Jim in the basement bar at Big Sky.

    Never realized his connection with conservation issues but he did break up a potential donny brook between our group of yuppies and a ski/tour bus of North Dakotans.

    Peace lover till the end.


  4. Pronghorn

    As a long-distance Appalachian Trail backpacker myself, I’ve been aware of WJS for a quarter century, but it was not until last March in Missoula that I met him. What I loved most about that night was watching the children in attendance. They were there because they loved Walkin’ Jim’s music, and they were enthralled to be in his presence. Sweet beyond words. As the struggle for wilderness–REAL wilderness–preservation continues, perhaps he’ll provide some divine intervention…for, “his Spirit is still on the run.”

  5. Jim was a spiritual mountain man of peace. He is missed.

  6. Matthew Koehler

    Walkin’ Jim’s songs, stories and photos were magical, inspiring and educational.

    “Forever wild, Forever Wild
    Let it stay, Forever Wild!”

    Rest in Peace, Walkin’ Jim.

  7. Godspeed to a great man.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Pages

  • Recent Comments

    Miles on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    success rate for In… on Thirty years ago ARCO killed A…
    Warrior for the Lord on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Linda Kelley-Miller on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Dan on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Former Prosecutor Se… on Former Chief Deputy County Att…
    JediPeaceFrog on Montana AG Tim Fox and US Rep.…
  • Recent Posts

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,675,288 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,737 other followers

  • September 2010
    S M T W T F S
  • Categories

%d bloggers like this: