Lonnie Hutson is an artist, designer, wilderness guide and outfitter. As a college student at the University of Washington (Seattle), he first began exploring rivers in Washington state. After graduating he accepted an invitation from world-renowned environmentalist and founder of Grand Canyon Dories (GCD), Martin Litton, to join his Idaho crew.
For twenty years, Lonnie guided whitewater rafting and fishing trips In Idaho and the Grand Canyon. During that time, he also earned an MFA in painting and drawing. In 1999, Lonnie left GCD and co-founded Sundog Expeditions with his wife Gail Siegel. Their company provides fully-guided multi-day river adventures in Idaho, Oregon and Alaska, where they conduct float trips in Wrangell-St. Elias Park and Preserve, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Gates of the Arctic.
During the winter months, Lonnie works at his studio/shop, near Deary, Idaho, making artwork that reflects his connection to wilderness and his concerns for a sustainable environment. In addition to his work as an outfitter and artist, Lonnie also teaches yoga classes and group lessons in drawing and painting.
Lonnie has received grant support for his handmade paper relief monoprints, documenting native fish species of Idaho, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska from the Idaho Commission on the Arts, the American Fisheries Society and the University of Idaho Foundation. In 2017, he was awarded a visual arts fellowship from the Idaho Commission on the Arts.
Lonnie holds a BA in Architecture from the University of Washington (Seattle), an MFA from the University of Idaho (Moscow) and is a registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. He shares a rural home, which he designed and built, with his wife and their menagerie of dogs and cats.
“Imagine the world without free-flowing water, wild salmon or the great white sturgeon, North America’s largest freshwater fish, an ancient species that has been patrolling rivers and estuaries for 175 million years.
“My handmade paper relief sculptures, document the native fish species of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, including threatened or endangered fishes such as chinook salmon, steelhead, bull trout, sockeye salmon and white sturgeon.
“Using art to present the familiar in a new way, fish are stripped down to essential form and represent a healthy river ecosystem. Health, defined as “a flourishing condition and well-being,” is a concept grounded in science yet easily understood by the public, just as a fish is something everyone has had experience with.
“I have worked as a wilderness guide and outfitter for over forty years, observing firsthand the rapid and sometimes dramatic changes occurring in our physical environment. I have had the opportunity to compare Alaska’s healthy ecosystem with those of the increasingly sterile rivers of the Pacific Northwest.
“Since fish first emerged over 520 million years ago, they have evolved within ecosystems that have enabled and supported their survival. Yet, in the past one hundred years, pressure from human activity has disrupted that delicate balance, resulting in diminished fish populations, that put some species at risk of extinction.
“By focusing on native fishes as a barometer for river health, my hope is that this work will produce consideration for environmental sustainability, help bring awareness to ecological concerns and spark conversations about maintaining and/or rebuilding our natural resources for everyone and everything with a current or future vested interest.”