QAS 2023 Speakers & Presentations


We are very excited to announce a few notable speakers for the 28th Annual Quiet Adventures Symposium! The below speakers are just a few of the dynamic presentations that will occur during the symposium. Be sure to check back as the full speaker lineup is announced, and be sure to purchase your tickets in advance to save time at the gate!


  • Jerry Vandiver | Award winning songwriter and avid paddler Jerry Vandiver has had his songs recorded by the likes of The Oak Ridge Boys, Barbara Mandrell, Phil Vassar, Lonestar and Tim McGraw to name a few. Thanks to these artists, Jerry's songs can be found on over 15 million records, two of which are hanging on the walls of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Jerry has combined his music and paddling passions to create a unique and fun presentation about our "quiet adventures" including selections like "Camp Coffee", "Too Many Boats" and "Kevlar Is Light". Be ready to smile, sing along and tap your toes!
  • Cliff Jacobson | Cliff Jacobson is one of North America's most respected outdoors writers and wilderness guides. He is a professional canoe guide and outfitter, a wilderness canoeing and camping consultant and the author of over a dozen top-selling books on camping and canoeing. His video, "The Forgotten Skills," details the most important camp-craft procedures. His flagship book, The 30th Anniversary Edition, "Canoeing Wild Rivers," is considered to be the most authoritative source for paddling wilderness rivers. His teen book, "Justin Cody's Race to Survival," mixes a fictional wilderness survival tale with practical outdoor tips--a first for books of this type. Cliff's methods are proven by the sweat of pack and paddle and are reminiscent of the days when skills were more important than things. A retired environmental science teacher (34 years!), Cliff is respected by educators for his backcountry ethics, water quality, and wilderness navigation curricula. " Cliff is a distinguished Eagle Scout, a recipient of the American Canoe Association's prestigious Legends of Paddling Award, and a member of the ACA Hall of Fame.
  • Kevin Callan | Kevin (aka The Happy Camper) is the author of 19 books; his latest being Another Bend in the River: The Happy Camper’s Memoir. He is an award winning writer and a keynote speaker at outdoor events across North America. Kevin is also a regular guest on several television morning shows and CBC Radio. He has won several film awards, writes a column for Paddling Magazine and Explore Magazine. Kevin was listed one of the top 100 modern day explorers by the Canadian Geographical Society. He was also made Patron Paddler for Paddle Canada. Check out his web site at www.kevincallan.com and YouTube channel KCHappyCamper.
  • Darlene Patterson | Darlene Patterson's outdoor experiences are extensive and varied. By canoe, they include thru-paddling the 740-miles of the Northern Forest Canoe trail (in 28.5 days), paddling a dugout canoe on the Amazon river in Peru, and working summers as a guide/instructor at the Voyageur Outward Bound school near Ely, MN. There have been 3 trips by canoe exploring above the arctic circle (in Canada and Norway), as well as other adventures backpacking on trails that include the Appalachian Trail, Red River Gorge, Knobstone Trail, and MORE!
  • Jim DuFresne | Jim DuFresne has a deep-rooted passion for two things; sunsets and shoreline, no doubt the result of living his entire life in the two states that have more coastline than any other; Alaska and Michigan.

    After graduating from Michigan State University with a journalism degree, it didn’t take Jim long before he was moving to Juneau, Alaska. As the outdoors and sports editor of the Juneau Empire, he became the first Alaskan sportswriter to win a national award from the Associated Press. More significant than the writing award, he discovered his passion for the mountains and wilderness travel while living in Alaska’s capital city.

    In 1981, Jim spent a winter in New Zealand to backpack and write his first book, "Tramping in New Zealand" for Lonely Planet. He followed up with the first edition of Lonely Planet’s "Alaska" and later "Hiking in Alaska" and then returned to Michigan to write "Isle Royale National Park: Foot Trails & Water Routes."

    Today Jim lives in Michigan, where he’s never more than an hour’s drive from the shoreline of the Great Lakes. He is the main contributor to www.MichiganTrailMaps.com, a resource website devoted to trail trails in his home state. Among his other tiles are "Backpacking in Michigan" and "12 Classic Trout Streams in Michigan: A Handbook for Fly Anglers" (University of Michigan Press), "The Trails of M-22" and "Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park" (MichiganTrailMaps.com) and "50 Hikes In Michigan" (Backcountry Publications).
  • Hap Wilson | Author of 14 guidebooks, novels and short stories; photographer, artist and wilderness guide. Wilson co-founded the environment group Earthroots in Toronto, is an International Fellow of the Explorer's Club (New York) & the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Wilson is the recipient of the prestigious Bill Mason Award for lifetime conservation of watersheds; his book "Voyages"- Canada's Heritage Rivers, won the Natural Resources Council of America Award for Best Environmental book. Wilson has traveled more than 50,000 miles by canoe, mapping out much of the Canadian wilderness. On the lighter side, Wilson taught actor Pearce Brosnan (007 fame), how to paddle a canoe and throw an axe for the Attenborough movie Grey Owl. Wilson is accompanied by his wife Andrea who is a key figure in the paddling community and owner/operator of the "canoe-in" ecolodge in Temagami's wilderness park.