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September 8, 2010

A Tribute to Walkin’ Jim Stoltz

Legendary American Folksinger and Wilderness Traveler

“Walkin’ Jim” Stoltz Returns to Earth

Adapted by Shaaron Netherton


Legendary American folksinger and wilderness traveler “Walkin’ Jim” Stoltz passed Friday night, September 3, 2010, in Montana.

Reno radio personality and long-time Walkin’ Jim fan, Don “Dondo” Darue will present a tribute to Wallkin’ Jim on his Risky Biscuit Hayseed Hoot program.
where: 88.7 FM KUNR, Reno Public Radio
when: 11 AM to 1 PM, Saturday, September 11.
You can listen to a live stream of the show on your computer. If that link does not work, please go to and click the “Listen Now” button while the program is live on-air.


Photo: Walkin’ Jim on 2009 Nevada trek
Walkin' Jim takes a song-writing breather on his 2009 trek of Wild Nevada.

No stranger to Nevada, Jim’s last long trek included walking 500 miles through eastern Nevada’s wilderness lands in the summer of 2009, and he returned to tell stories and sing about his adventures at a Reno “Forever Wild” concert on April 17, 2010. Jim loved the responsiveness of the Reno audience and told me later it was a high point of his 2010 tour.

Jim cared deeply for kids and getting them excited about wild places. My daughter grew up listening to his “A Kid for the Wild” cassette. He routinely did workshops in Nevada schools. A warm, caring man, Jim had a wonderful sparkle in his eyes when he told his stories and a warm hug that conveyed the goodness in his soul. Nevada’s wildlands and people have lost a true friend.

Walkin’ Jim hiked more than 28,000 miles through America’s wild country carrying his guitar and letting Mother Nature inspire him with extraordinary tunes, lyrics, poems, paintings and photographs. He shared his love for wild earth with 35 years of performing and engaging audiences of all ages.

Along the way Jim created nine incredible CDs, a DVD, a book and co-founded Musicians United to Sustain the Environment (MUSE).

For those of you who never had the chance to know or see Walkin’ Jim in person, I strongly encourage you to listen to the messages of hope and passion he left us in his music. Let’s keep his memory and vision alive.

Please visit his website to find out more about the man, his music and his gift to the world. I am finding comfort listening to my stack of Jim’s CDs, alternatively laughing, crying and, more importantly, finding the resolve to do more for the wild.

You may also send private condolences to Walkin’ Jim’s family and sign Walkin’ Jim’s guest book through the funeral home’s website.

To converse and share stories with Walkin' Jim Stoltz's friends, family, and fans, go to: this Facebook page.


Walkin' Jim cresting somewhere on the wild trail.


Jim’s Health Complications and Resultant Medical Expenses

Walkin’ Jim had a successful kidney transplant in 2004. Three years later, Jim learned that he had cancer in his throat, and he underwent surgery and treatment.

In the summers of 2008 and 2009, with his characteristic indomitability, Walkin’ Jim underwent his own prescribed “Wilderness Therapy” and walked nearly 1,000 miles through the mountains of Idaho, Montana and Nevada. After he returned from his spring 2010 concert tour, doctors found that his cancer had spread. 

Jim’s bills for hospitals, doctors, tests, high-cost medicines, and medical-related travel grew exponentially. He asked for help from the National Transplant Assistance Fund (NTAF), because NTAF provides both tax-deductibility and fiscal accountability. Contributors are assured that all donated funds will be used only to pay or reimburse Jim’s medically-related expenses. 

You can make a tax-deductible contribution, directly to Walkin’ Jim’s health care fund.


Photo: Walkin’ JimOur thoughts go out to all of Jim’s extensive network of friends and family at his memorial service in Helena, MT on September 8th. We bid you a loving farewell Jim and hope that you are enjoying wandering the spirit trails of the wilds. We can’t wait to hear your songs in the wind.

Here is Walkin’ Jim’s classic Nevada tune: Nevada Walkin’ Song for your enjoyment. The complete lyrics follow:

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Nevada Walkin’ Song

Walkin’ Jim Stoltz


Sun’s coming over the mountain, but the moons still hanging in the sky,
The dawn is breakin’ and the world is awakenin’, And my spirits are singing high.
Because I’m a-walkin’ cross the desert
With my backpack on my back,
I’m a free man and I like it that way,
You know I must be on the right track.


Cause I’m a-makin’ my own way, across Nevada’s mighty land,
I’m soaking up the grandeur while I’m spittin’ out the sand
Those wide open spaces and the lonely places, try to call me home,
But home is everywhere that I’ve ever been,
It’s a feelin’ all its own.



As the day wears on, the suns a blazing, and the heat just knocks me down,
But there’s a desert breeze and a Joshua tree, and the shade soon brings me round.
And as I sit there, soak up the desert air, the peace begins to flow,
I’m a part of everything I see as through this world I go.

(Repeat Chorus)



Now the sun is sinking low with a rosy glow, and the quiet time is here,
The air is still as the distant hills, and the coyotes are singin’ clear.
I’m a-walkin’ cross the desert, free as a man these days can be,
Singin’ the sun down I’m outward bound
And I’m a-livin’ sweet harmony.

(Final Chorus)

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