Katherine Donnelly | 06.19.2018

As part of Outdoor Project's Women In the Wild series this summer, I have had the honor of working with outdoor women from all over the industry to dig a bit deeper into who they are, how they got to where they are now, how they approach the outdoors, and more. These women are all rad in their own right, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, or how "badass" they might be. Whether they're mothers, daughters, sisters, professional athletes, beginners, weekend warriors, "instafamous," or anywhere in-between, their unique stories, journeys, opinions, and perspectives are incredibly valuable and insightful as Outdoor Project - and the industry as a whole - progresses and evolves to become more inclusive to every type of outdoors person. 

Through in-depth and often thought-provoking interviews, I hope to highlight these women's stories, their work, their adventures, and so much more with an eye toward giving them their well-deserved share of the spotlight while inspiring and empowering even more women to get outside!

In this feature we talk to Lindsey Elliott.

You may already be familiar with her through her work with Wylder Goods, and we dig a bit deeper into what makes this Woman In The Wild tick. From conservation of public lands to her evolving relationships with fly fishing and ecology, get the full scoop below.

Photo by Jainee Dial.

OP: Give us the skinny on who Lindsey Elliott is. 

Lindsey Elliott: I’m a lifelong outdoorswoman, originally from Colorado -- a place I will always love. I’ve never started a business, and today I’m the CEO of one. It is one of the greatest shocks of my life. I’m a serious skills junkie -- I love learning new things, the more obscure the better. I love to build soil and grow food. I used to be a professional homesteader. I spent years of my life living off the grid in various hobbit-like homes, including a yurt I built. If I were to retire today, I’d dedicate myself to woodworking. Instead, I’m one of the chief hustlers of Wylder Goods, and I could not be more proud of my team and the meaning we’ve created in our business in such a short time.

OP: Conservation and protection of our public lands are central themes in today’s outdoor recreation narrative. As someone who spends a significant amount of time outdoors and on public lands, what role do you think small businesses in the outdoor space - and outdoor enthusiasts, in general - should play in this evolving conversation and landscape?

Lindsey Elliott: I spent the early days of my career in environmental science, international development, and permauclutre. I was fortunate to be around scientists and professionals who viewed the world in ecological time - people who see changes in the landscape through a long-term ecological lense. Fundamentally, I view humans as a species among species, interdependently related to every other living thing on the planet. This is the baseline for my perspectives on conservation. I wholeheartedly believe public lands are one of our nation's greatest assets, and I depend on them for my food, both physical and spiritual. But ultimately, I’d rather think about the health of our natural systems wholistically -- whether public, private, urban, or rural. Wylder is an absolute advocate for the protection of public lands and the political education required to be an advocate for them. My hope is that we can translate the surge of activism for public lands into physical stewardship and ecosystem health, no matter the political designation.

OP: Who has inspired you along the way?

Lindsey Elliott: Mary Ellen Hannibal and Joe Riis are two of my favorite conservationists. Joe spent years capturing ungulate migrations in the Rocky Mountain corridor with incredible imagery. David Whyte is one of my favorite poets, and he has an honest way of discussing matters of life, death, work and the soul. I also love Seth Godin, when I need a swift kick in the a** about getting my work done, whether I feel qualified enough to do it or not.

OP: What does the term "badass" mean to you?

Lindsey Elliott: Maybe it’s just me, but I struggle with this one. I’ve been a "badass" for years, and while I understand the supportive sentiment, it often feels to me like a way for people to say -- "you’re doing something outside your gender role," or "you’re doing something I can’t do." To me, it celebrates strength without much femininity. It’s been my life’s work to try and realize both at the same time.

OP: If you could give one piece of advice to yourself when you were just starting out at Wylder Goods, what would it be?

Lindsey Elliott: In the nascent stages of building Wylder, before we had decided to plant the business in Utah, I was living out of my pop-top Honda Element. I spent nearly a year on the road working remotely, sleeping in national forests, and staying with friends. I was in-between having a strong sense of purpose. I remember telling myself to savor that time, even though I was a bit restless, and wanted to get to work so badly. I told myself that my experience of time was about to drastically change, and oh, it has. It will be many years before I feel that same sense of slowness, peace of mind, and liberation of liability. My advice would be to not rush it -- to take advantage of any gaps in time that adult life presents, because they are oh-so rare.

OP: In your next life, you will come back as...

Lindsey Elliott: A high Uinta rainbow trout! Mountain life, fresh water, storms and bug buffets everyday.

OP: Tell us one thing about yourself that no one knows.

Lindsey Elliott: I used to be opposed to guns, hunting, sport fishing, businesses, and people who drive trucks. These things define me now. I started a corporation (Wylder) after 12 years of working in the nonprofit sector. I learned how to be accurate with a rifle in order to harvest food for myself and my community, I love my Toyota Tacoma more than any other vehicle I’ve ever owned, and I choose fly fishing over most ways to spend my free time. I used to know myself so clearly and be defined by the roles I had and activities I loved -- and now they’re all entirely different. I know I’m rebellious in nature, even to my own rules, but I love more than anything realizing how possible it is to find new paths in life -- new communities, and new ways to appreciate people and cultures that I never thought I’d be a part of.

OP: Any good books you’d recommend?

Lindsey Elliott: "The Spine of the Continent" and "The Ghosts of Evolution."

Learn more about Lindsey by following her on Instagram, plus make sure to check out Wylder Goods - and have your chance at winning awesome prizes from Wylder in the Women In The Wild giveaways!


Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.