Local outdoor writer Shawn Perich passes away following battle with brain cancer
WTIP file photo
Outdoor News

Local outdoor writer Shawn Perich passes away following battle with brain cancer

He was a person who loved the outdoors.

That was the driving narrative shared with WTIP this week by the cousin of Shawn Perich, the longtime Cook County resident and outdoor writer. Perich passed away Aug. 3 from complications with glioblastoma brain cancer. He was 64.

Shawn’s cousin, Dennis Perich, spoke with WTIP Aug. 4.

“He was most at home outdoors,” Dennis said. “It’s where he felt the most comfortable.”

Anyone who met Perich, a longtime resident of Hovland, understands the sentiments family and friends share about the outdoor writer and former editor and co-owner of Northern Wilds magazine. Perich’s lifestyle was built around hunting and fishing. Brook trout were his favorite. The tighter and more remote the stream, the better. That was Perich’s philosophy.

Perich, who grew up in Duluth, made a career out of sharing his lived experiences in and on the local woods and waters. He wrote several books about the outdoor scene in Minnesota, including “Fishing Lake Superior: A complete guide to stream, shoreline, and open-water angling.”

In 2004, Perich and another Cook County resident, Amber Graham, founded Northern Wilds.

“It was Amber’s idea,” Perich wrote in 2019, somewhat sarcastically, about the origins of the magazine. The magazine continues to print today, providing a space for local writers to publish their work, while also sharing important outdoor news from the Lake Superior and Boundary Waters region.

“He was really good about that,” Graham told WTIP Aug. 4. “He really enjoy working with and nurturing young writers. He liked to share his knowledge.”

On a summer night in 2015, Perich, Dennis Anderson from the Star Tribune, Minnesotan and Freshwater Fishing Hall of Famer Bob Nasby, and the author of this story (Joe Friedrichs), portaged two canoes into a lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness not far from the Gunflint Trail. The walleye were biting that night, but the brilliance of the evening came in hearing Anderson and Perich talk about what the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and other wildlife-management agencies were doing right, and what they needed to improve on. Perich, who wrote about the outdoors scene on the North Shore and surrounding region for decades, was educated on the topics that he spoke and wrote about. It was a living editorial page that night on the Boundary Waters lake, which shall not be named. That’s how Perich rolled. He kept quiet about his fishing spots.

Perich was diagnosed with brain cancer in fall 2021.

His cousin, who spoke to WTIP from his home in Luling, Texas, said Perich kept a positive attitude about the terminal illness all the way to the end.

“It was an evil disease, but he kept positive about the situation,” Dennis said. “That was just the approach he took to the whole thing.”