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Northern Tier

The Northern Tier National High Adventure Bases are a collection of National High Adventure Bases run by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) of Minnesota; Ontario's Quetico Provincial Park, Manitoba's Atikaki Wilderness and points beyond. It is the oldest of the three National High Adventure Bases operated by the Boy Scouts of America. Its counterparts are the Philmont Scout Ranch and the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base.

Northern Tier offers wilderness canoe trips. There are no resorts or cabins, and aircraft and motorboats are restricted. A wilderness canoe trip in this area is not just a fishing trip or a laid-back vacation. Just as the voyageurs that travelled through this area in the 1700's, modern day voyageurs are physically challenged as they travel through the woods by paddle and portage. Typical treks may cover 50 to 150 miles and take 6 to 10 days. With each crew is a highly skilled technician/instructor called an "Interpreter". Sometimes called "Charlie Guides", these people can make the difference between a wilderness ordeal and an exciting and wonderfully memorable experience.

The Northern Tier programs began in 1923 with canoe trips organized by the Hibbing, Minnesota Council, and was called the Region X Canoe Trails. This was later changed to the Region X Wilderness Canoe Trips. In the early days, there were no permanent structures, and Winton was the launch point. In the winter of 1941-1942, a log lodge was built as a base of operations. Soon after, it became the permanent base of operations and was named the Charles L. Sommers Wilderness Canoe Base; taking the name of a great scouter who was the first Chairman of Region X. Mr. Sommers was an avid Base supporter, canoe trip organizer and participant. The name stuck until 1972 when BSA consolidated regions and the base became part of the National High Adventure Program. The name was then changed to the Charles L. Sommers National High Adventure Base, BSA. With expansion of the program, Sommers is now part of the Northern Tier High Adventure programs.

The program has a long history with the Ely area. Such famous authors as Sigurd Olsen counted themselves as friends of the program.


Go to the Northern Tier website for more information. Website