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If you've been visiting this site and reading our magazine, the name Mors Kochanski should need no introduction. This Canadian survival skills instructor has had a tremendous and lasting impact on so many of us in the survival community. Les Stroud called him “a legend;” Cody Lundin told us in an interview that Kochanski was “one of [his] greatest instructors.” The term bushcraft entered our common lexicon after being popularized in large part by Kochanski's eponymous book, Bushcraft: Outdoor Skills and Wilderness Survival.
We are therefore deeply saddened to hear of his passing earlier today, according to a Facebook post from his close friends and fellow educators at Karamat Wilderness Ways:
Mors Kochanski was born in Canada to Polish immigrant parents in 1940, and grew up on a remote farm in Saskatchewan with his five siblings. They spent their days working on the homestead and exploring the surrounding forest. This upbringing imbued Mors with a fervent appreciation for the wilderness, as well as a respect for the potential dangers it held. In 1968, he started his career as an outdoor educator, and went on to become an associate professor at the University of Alberta. He wrote several books, including the aforementioned Bushcraft, and contributed his knowledge to many other survival publications and courses.
Kochanski celebrated his 79th birthday in 2019. As a testament to his dedication, he was still making appearances at outdoor education events and sharing his knowledge until very recently. According to a post from his official Facebook page, he had been suffering from mesothelioma. He reportedly passed away early this morning, at home surrounded by his family.
Rest in peace, Mors — we'll miss you.