Northern Tier offers wilderness canoeing expeditions in Northern Minnesota, Northwestern Ontario and Northeastern Manitoba through three canoe bases. All trips are fully outfitted and provisioned. A highly trained staff member, called an Interpreter, accompanies all crews on their trek.
Northern Tier crews paddle in almost 6 million acres of canoe-access only wilderness - from the
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) of Minnesota to the Atikaki Provincial Park of Manitoba. Trips range in length from 6-14 days and usually include between 50-150 miles of wilderness travel. Find out more about the opportunities available at Northern Tier's three wilderness canoe bases (the Charles L Sommers Base, Ely, MN; the Donald Rogert Base, Atikokan, ON; and the Northern Expeditions Base, Bissett, MB) as well as the several provisional programs Northern Tier offers to individual scouts.
All participants must be age 14 by the time they arrive at Northern Tier OR have graduated from the 8th grade and be age 13 by the time they arrive.
Ely, MN - Charles L Sommers Canoe Base
The flagship base of Northern Tier, the Charles L Sommers Canoe Base has hosted Boy Scout Canoe Expeditions on the shores of Moose Lake since 1941. Located twenty miles, outside of the town of Ely, MN, the Sommers Base outfits over 4,000 scouts each year on wilderness canoe trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) of Minnesota and the Quetico Provincial Park of Ontario. Trips out of the Sommers base are limited to the size of 8 participants plus an Interpreter.
We are a Cooperator with the USDA Forest Service under the Superior National Forest. We issue permits into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. As a Cooperator with the Forest Service, we are an equal opportunity service-provider.
In addition to hosting Northern Tier's typical canoe expeditions, Charles L Sommers is home to several unique individual scout programs: the Order of the Arrow's Wilderness Voyage Program; Forest Corps, a coeducational environmental leadership program; and Lone Voyageur, a program that allows for individual scouts and smaller troops to take out a Northern Tier trip.
The Sommers Canoe Base is also home to the OKPIK Coldweather Camping Program, the premier winter camping program in the Boy Scouts of America.
Atikokan, ON - Donald Rogert Canoe Base
Located an 80-mile paddle North of the Sommers base, the Donald Rogert ("Atikokan") Canoe Base outfits 1500 scouts each year for expeditions into the Northern regions of the Quetico Provincial Park as well as into the Canadian Crown Lands, including the Turtle River - White Otter Lake Provincial Park. The Quetico is a gorgeous and pure wilderness, with traces of human travel; the Crown Lands region features the remains of a used wilderness - trappers cabins, age-old gold mines and even the remains of a World War II Prisoner of War camp can be found amidst the beautiful wilds of the Canadian Shield (a vast geological shield covered by a thin layer of soil). Crew sizes may be up to 11 participants plus an Interpreter if travelling in the Crown Land and 8 participants plus an interpreter if traveling in the Quetico.
The Atikokan Base is also home to two speciality programs: the Fishing Expedition, designed for crews with an intensive interest in angling, and the Kayak Trek, an introduction to wilderness travel via kayak.
Bissett, MB - Northern Expeditions Canoe Base
Unofficially regarded as the "Most Extreme High Adventure in Scouting," the Northern Expeditions ("Bissett") Base is the most rugged and remote region paddled by Northern Tier crews. All crews enter the wilderness via a twenty-minute float plane to a canoe cache located at the heart of the combined 2.5 million acres of Atikaki Provincial Park and Woodland Caribou Provincial Park, an area paddled by only a handful of canoeists each year. Crews are limited to the size of 11 participants plus an Interpreter.
Fishing in the Bissett region is world class - Northern Pike, Walleye and Channel Catfish abound - and the difficult geography ensures that it will remain so. Bissett is most appropriate for older crews with previous High Adventure experience.
Here's a video of how your adventure in Bissett will begin!