Northern Tier’s Response to COVID-19

Covid-19 Update 5/26/20 Northern Tier

It continues to be a very busy time at Northern Tier as we navigate the ever changing situation regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.  While we don’t have a lot of updates for you today, we do have some resources to help in planning your trip and better understand what to expect while at Northern Tier this summer.

We continue to monitor the guidelines set forth by the State of Minnesota, CDC and Lake County.  This monitoring led us to postpone the opening of the Ely base until at least July 1.  All crews currently affected by this change, have been notified and we are working with them to reschedule or cancel.  While this is certainly not the outcome we had hoped for, we are still optimistic that we will be able to provide wilderness adventures this summer for Scouts. 

For those crews still planning to join us this summer – what should you expect?

  1. Here is our Preparing for Northern Tier – Information Regarding Covid-19 for Parents and Advisors.  This document will help you understand what your experience at Northern Tier will look like.  This will be different this summer, we do expect parents and advisors to read through this document completely and agree to abide by the procedures documented within.
  2. Crew advisors should complete a medical screening with all of their participants prior to departure – this screening should be done honestly and taken seriously.  Here is a great tool for completing this screening:
  3. Updated resources for your trip will continue to be added to this page: https://www.ntier.org/resources/resources-2020-covid19/.  We will email your crew leadership when changes are added.  Please continue to review updates as they are made.

The Boy Scouts of America and Northern Tier have put into place the following one-time exceptions through Aug 31, 2020:

  1. Annual Health and Medical Record (AHMR) Exception for Summer 2020:  The BSA is offering a one-time exception in effect for portions of the AHMR until August 31, 2020, to facilitate long term camping.
    1. If your last AHMR Part C was completed on or after Feb 1, 2019, the form will be considered valid through Aug 31, 2020, however parts A and B must be updated within 2 weeks of your departure for camp to insure an up to date health history.
    2. If you have not previously completed Part C or are a new member, you can attach to the BSA form a completed alternate exam (school, sports annual wellness exam) completed on or after Feb 1, 2019, however parts A and B must be updated within 2 weeks of your departure for camp to insure an up to date health history.
    3. We do recommend that in the summer of 2020, individuals with higher risk for severe Covid-19 as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stay home. 
  1. Swim Checks: Northern Tier requires that all participants provide proof of completion of the BSA swim check prior to arrival.  It is up to the crew to validate swimmer status.  We would recommend looking back at the Scout’s completion of various BSA requirements over the last 12 months to confirm his/her swimmer status:  Did they complete a swim check last summer at camp?  Have they recently completed the canoeing, kayaking, rowing, sailing, lifesaving or swimming merit badges? (All have a requirement to complete the BSA swimmers test.)  Are they a competitive swimmer at their school or local recreation facility?  Crews will need to provide the completed Northern Tier Swim Classification form. We encourage you to assist your Scouts in finding the valid check off for that test.
  1. Wilderness First Aid Training:  Northern Tier will be providing Wilderness First Aid Training to all its trail staff this summer.  Each crew will be accompanied by a staff member with training.  Additionally, we encourage each crew to seek out an online training that will give them another adult who can assist in responding to emergencies in the wilderness.  This exception will be good through Aug 31, 2020.

Please make sure you have read through all of our Frequently Asked Questions located at www.ntier.org/covid-19.  We continue to add to and change those as our participants are asking the questions. 

 

Covid-19 Update 5/15/20 Northern Tier

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks at Northern Tier as we navigate the everchanging situation regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.  We hope that you, your family and your Scouts are doing well and staying healthy during this tough time.  We have many updates for you today.  Please read through this message in its entirety for full information.

With the expected extension of the U.S. /Canadian border closure, and how this will affect our ability to prepare the base for summer, we have had to make the difficult decision to close both the Bissett and Atikokan Bases this summer.   All crews scheduled for those bases have been notified and we are working very closely with them to provide an outdoor adventure for their Scouts this summer or next!  If your crews have been affected by this decision, they have been instructed to work through the following options:

  1. We can move your crew to the Ely operation for the summer of 2020 – this option is getting more difficult as we move crews from early to late in the summer, but there is still availability and we would love to be able to find a slot for your Scouts.
  2. We can move your registration to the summer of 2021.  Unfortunately, there is very little room in Atikokan in 2021, but we do have room in both Ely and Bissett.
  3. There is limited availability at other High Adventure Bases in 2020 and 2021 (Summit, Sea Base and Philmont) and we can help connect you with them for that option if you would like to take it.
  4. If your reservation was cancelled by Northern Tier due to closure of the facility, we can also issue a full refund of your camp fees.
  5. For crews not affected by this closure, you can choose to cancel your reservation and receive a 90% refund.
  6. All crews can notify us of their preferred changes to their reservation by clicking here:  https://reservations.scouting.org/profile/form/index.cfm?PKformID=0x131044abcd

We continue to monitor the guidelines set forth by the State of Minnesota, CDC and Lake County.  The Boy Scouts of America and Northern Tier have put into place the following one-time exceptions through Aug 31, 2020:

  1. Annual Health and Medical Record (AHMR) Exception for Summer 2020:  The BSA is offering a one-time exception in effect for portions of the AHMR until August 31, 2020, to facilitate long term camping.
    1. If your last AHMR Part C was completed on or after Feb 1, 2019, the form will be considered valid through Aug 31, 2020, however parts A and B must be updated within 2 weeks of your departure for camp to insure an up to date health history.
    2. If you have not previously completed Part C or are a new member, you can attach to the BSA form a completed alternate exam (school, sports annual wellness exam) completed on or after Feb 1, 2019, however parts A and B must be updated within 2 weeks of your departure for camp to insure an up to date health history.
    3. We do recommend that in the summer of 2020, individuals with higher risk for severe Covid-19 as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stay home. 
  1. Swim Checks: Northern Tier requires that all participants provide proof of completion of the BSA swim check prior to arrival.  It is up to the crew to validate swimmer status.  We would recommend looking back at the Scout’s completion of various BSA requirements over the last 12 months to confirm his/her swimmer status:  Did they complete a swim check last summer at camp?  Have they recently completed the canoeing, kayaking, rowing, sailing, lifesaving or swimming merit badges? (All have a requirement to complete the BSA swimmers test.)  Are they a competitive swimmer at their school or local recreation facility?  Crews will need to provide the completed Northern Tier Swim Classification form. We encourage you to assist your Scouts in finding the valid check off for that test.
  1. Wilderness First Aid Training:  Northern Tier will be providing Wilderness First Aid Training to all its trail staff this summer.  Each crew will be accompanied by a staff member with training.  Additionally, we encourage each crew to seek out an online training that will give them another adult who can assist in responding to emergencies in the wilderness.  This exception will be good through Aug 31, 2020.

For those crews still planning to join us this summer – what should you expect?

  1. You will be receiving an email from us next week with a full planning document.  This information will help you prepare for your trip under the new guidelines from the State and the CDC. 
  2. Northern Tier will look a little different this summer and there will be many modifications to procedures and activities around base, but you will get the same incredible wilderness experience as any other summer!
  3. We take the health and safety of our staff and participants very seriously.  For that reason, we will hold all participants accountable for all the new procedures developed.  When you receive the new planning document, please take the time to review it with all of your crew and make sure they agree to follow these procedures. 
  4. Updated resources for your trip will continue to be added to this page: https://www.ntier.org/resources/resources-2020-covid19/.  We will email your crew leadership when changes are added.  Please continue to review updates as they are made.

Please make sure you have read through all of our Frequently Asked Questions located at www.ntier.org/covid-19.  We continue to add to and change those as our participants are asking the questions.  Here are some new additions:

Q:  What if one member of my crew falls ill, can we get a refund for that individual?

A:  The expedition advisor on record can request a refund via email, info@ntier.org.  Northern Tier will review the request and if approved, and pro-rated share of the fee will be refunded to the crews.

Q:  How long will it take to receive my refund?

A:  Typical processing time can be 4-6 weeks.  Please be patient, there are a lot of moving parts right now and we are doing our best to push them through the system quickly.

At this point, all bases are planned to be open, however most have delayed starts that may affect your crew’s plans. Please refer to your base’s official website for the most current information. 

If the Boy Scouts of America or a National High Adventure Base (HAB) cancels your program due to COVID-19, you can reschedule your adventure and apply fees to an alternate date later in 2020 or 2021 (and 2022 at PSR & the Summit) at 2020 pricing.  If it is not possible for you to reschedule, you will receive a full refund of fees paid.

If you cancel your program during the COVID-19 outbreak, you may select an adventure later in 2020 or 2021 (and 2022 at PSR & the Summit) at 2020 pricing.  If it is not possible for you to reschedule, you will receive a refund of fees paid less 10% (to support the program costs of operating the HAB).  See the HAB website for more information.

The best way to reach us is to call our switchboard at 972.580.3502.  We will direct your call to the best person to talk with you about those options.  Please be patient with us as we are expecting a high volume of calls for the next few days.  We will get back to you as quickly as we can.  Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm central.

Due to limited capacity in our Canadian Operations we are unable to move your reservation in 2020 to later in the season in Canada. 

  • If you would like we can accommodate at the Ely MN operation.
  • If you want to still go to Canada we can move the reservation to Summer 2021.

No.  If the border is closed, there will be no entry into Quetico this summer. 

If you are looking for an adventure closer to home and potentially within driving distance, we can recommend that you look at the availability within the other National High Adventure Bases.  If they can accommodate you at that facility, we will transfer your fees for you.  

Yes, we can move your reservation to a new set of dates in 2021, and move the fees paid over for you, keeping the trip at 2020 pricing.

Yes,  they may still attend as long as they are registered as an adult with the BSA, and follow all Youth Protection policies as an adult.  If this individual(s) puts your crew over the majority youth requirement, that can be waived for this individual(s) but registration and YPT requirements can never be waived.

No, your Unit has the reservation for a crew and can manage who attends at the Unit level. 

As a 2021 crew you will now assume the payment schedule for those crews.  You will have a ½ of the  remaining balance due on Oct 1 and your remaining balance due on the appropriate due date for your reservation:  Mar 1 for June crews, Apr 1 for July crews and May 1 for August crews.

Northern Tier has made many adjustments to their program and facilities to maintain the standards that are being recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Agency of Canada and State of Minnesota.  You can find those updates here:  www.ntier.org/resources-2020-covid19.  We do expect that the crew will take the time before arrival to properly prepare themselves for the trips following the new guidelines.  It will take both Northern Tier and the Crew to make this successful!

Northern Tier requires that all participants provide proof of completion of the BSA swim check prior to arrival.  It is up to the crew to validate swimmer status.  We would recommend looking back at the Scout’s completion of various BSA requirements over the last 12 months to confirm his/her swimmer status:  Did they complete a swim check last summer at camp?  Have they recently completed the canoeing, kayaking, rowing, sailing, lifesaving or swimming merit badges? (All have a requirement to complete the BSA swimmers test.)  Are they a competitive swimmer at their school or local recreation facility?  Crews will need to provide the completed Northern Tier Swim Classification form. We encourage you to assist your Scouts in finding the valid check off for that test.

All bases are monitoring guidelines issued by the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and their local jurisdictions to adjust their operating procedures to protect the health of participants. As these guidelines are expected to evolve, please continue to monitor your base’s official website for the most current information. 

Northern Tier will be providing Wilderness First Aid Training to all its trail staff this summer.  Each crew will be accompanied by a staff member with training.  Additionally, we encourage each crew to seek out an online training that will give them another adult who can assist in responding to emergencies in the wilderness.  This exception will be good through Aug 31, 2020.

The BSA is offering a one-time exception in effect for portions of the AHMR until August 31, 2020, to facilitate long term camping. 

  1. If your last AHMR Part C was completed on or after Feb 1, 2019, the form will be considered valid through Aug 31, 2020, however parts A and B must be updated within 2 weeks of your departure for camp to insure an up to date health history.
  2. If you have not previously completed Part C or are a new member, you can attach to the BSA form a completed alternate exam (school, sports annual wellness exam) completed on or after Feb 1, 2019, however parts A and B must be updated within 2 weeks of your departure for camp to insure an up to date health history.
  3. We do recommend that in the summer of 2020, individuals with higher risk for severe Covid-19 as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stay home. 

 

The expedition advisor on record can request a refund via email, info@ntier.org.  Northern Tier will review the request and if approved, and pro-rated share of the fee will be refunded to the crews.

Typical processing time can be 4-6 weeks.  Please be patient, there are a lot of moving parts right now and we are doing our best to push them through the system quickly.

Covid-19 Update 5/1/20 Northern Tier – Reach the Northern Tier Switchboard at 972.580.3502

To view a message from Al Lambert, Assistant Chief Scout Executive – National Director of Outdoor Adventures and the BSA’s National High Adventure Base General Managers:  Click Here

COVID-19 has brought unprecedented uncertainty, financial challenges and impact to our daily lives. The leadership of the BSA and the National High Adventure Bases (HAB’s) recognize that Scouts and leaders have been planning for many months to enjoy a life changing High Adventure experience.  The health and safety of our participants and staff is our utmost concern. At this time, Northern Tier has made the decision to delay the start of the summer of 2020.  This delay is to make sure that we can operate safely for you within the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHA) and Sate of Minnesota.  Northern Tier will open as follows:  

    • Ely, MN base will open June 15, 2020
    • Atikokan, ON base will open July 1, 2020
    • Bissett, MB base will open July 1, 2020
Crews registered on or after these dates will not be affected by this delay.  Crews scheduled before these dates will need to determine if they would like to reschedule or cancel your registrations.  As we respond to this change, please be patient with our team.  We are expecting a high volume of calls over the next few days and we are still working from our home offices, limiting our connection and slowing communication at times.  We are working hard to respond to everyone in a timely manner.  If you have read through your options and you know what your crew would like to do this summer, you can click into your crew’s registration where we have provided the opportunity for you to communicate that information.  You will need your crew’s registration code to access the system.

Based on the guidelines set forth by the CDC, PHA and the State of MN we have updated our resources to assist in providing a healthy and safe experience for all of our participants and staff. You can review all of our Covid-19 Resources for Crews here:  www.ntier.org/resources-2020-covid19

Our team is available to help talk you through the options, you can begin by calling our switchboard and Chris will transfer you to the appropriate staffer.  The switchboard number is:  972.580.3502.  Once again please be patient with us, if you land in voicemail box, please leave detailed information including:  name, phone number and crew number.  We will get back to you as soon as we can.  Our offices are open Monday through Friday, 8am -5pm central time.  

Covid-19 Update 4/23/20 Northern Tier

It was announced late last week that the closure of the US-Canadian Border would be extended for another 30 days (should expire May 21).  This closure allows for travel for essential business but no tourism or recreation.  The Northern Tier operations are NOT considered essential business.  If this information has you concerned about your trip this summer, we would encourage you to give us a call to talk through your options, we are here to help! 

The health and safety of our participants and staff is our utmost concern. At this time, the HAB’s plan to operate in the summer of 2020 if we can do so safely and within the guidelines of the CDC and Public Health Agency of Canada.  The BSA High Adventure Bases will put out another joint statement on May 1 to address specific updates (if any) to each base for the summer 2020. 

Thank you for your continued patience as we navigate this tough time.

Temporary contact information for our staff:

  • Bissett Operations:  Abigail Wilkes, 218-290-0533
  • Atikokan Operations:  Sean Ferrier, 218-235-8957
  • Program Operations:  Leslie Thibodeaux, 972-580-3503
  • Asst. Registrar:  Chris Almquist, 972-580-3502
  • Registrar:  Kevin Hodar, 972-580-3501

Covid-19 Update 4/15/20 Northern Tier

COVID-19 has brought unprecedented uncertainty, financial challenges and impact to our daily lives. The leadership of the BSA and the National High Adventure Bases (HAB’s) recognize that Scouts and leaders have been planning for many months to enjoy a life changing High Adventure experience.  The health and safety of our participants and staff is our utmost concern. At this time, the HAB’s plan to operate in the summer of 2020 if we can do so safely and within the guidelines of the CDC.

On May 1st we will provide an update on the 2020 season specific to each National High Adventure Base. We understand that crews need to make travel plans. However, by applying a metered approach to the summer season, it allows the most flexibility in adjusting programs to serve participants.

Read the full Joint HAB update here:  High Adventure Base update regarding summer of 2020 Update No. 3_04-15-2020

Status of summer 2020 Canadian Operations:  While many of you are asking questions about this specifically, due to the closure of the Canadian Border, we can offer you this:  The Border is scheduled to reopen on April 21.  We plan to assess our ability to open the Canadian Bases on April 21, once we know if that closure is either lifted or extended (and how long of an extension).  Our ability to open those locations depends on our ability to get there and get them opened and ready for you after a long winter.  We will post an update on this situation by April 23.

Thank you for your patience as we navigate this tough time.

Covid-19 Update 4/9/20 Northern Tier

The staff at Northern Tier found out yesterday that the Stay at Home Order for the State of Minnesota has been extended until May 4.  So please continue to reach us at our home offices – the contact information is located here:  https://www.ntier.org/about/contact-us-temporary/

Our team continues to work hard to ready our facilities for your arrival.  As always if anything changes, we will provide that information here. 

There will be another joint update from the High Adventure Team on April 15 and if there are any updates or changes from us before that, we will continue to post them at this location:  www.ntier.org/covid-19

Thank you for your patience as we navigate this tough time.

Covid-19 Update 4/3/20 Northern Tier

While none of us have ever experienced anything like the last few days, weeks and months, there is one thing we can all be certain of; the situation will continue to be everchanging for a while longer.  We cannot offer today, any more concrete information or updates then we have previously, as there are many moving parts that we still need to evaluate including, the various ‘stay at home’ and ‘shelter in place’ orders that impact almost all states across the US, how both domestic and international travel regulations will continue to change and most of all how this has impacted you.

For those crews currently signed up for an international experience in 2020 out of one of our Canadian Bases, we would like to remind you of the opportunity to move your trip to our Ely Base or shift your trip to 2021 with no financial impacts (we will honor the 2020 fees in the 2021 season).  At this time, the order to close the border only extends to April 21, and we have no information that states that will be extended, but we know that many of you are trying to finalize travel plans and we want to help make this as easy as possible for you.  If your crew falls in this category and would like to take advantage of this offer – it is probably easiest to send an email to our registrar at info@ntier.org.  He will look at your reservation details and will direct one of our team to give you a call back to help you in making updated arrangements for your crew.  Please make sure to include in your email, your crew or expedition number.

Our staff that live onsite at Northern Tier, continue to ‘self-isolate’ on the base, but are working hard to ready the facility for your arrival this summer.

There will be another joint update from the High Adventure Team on April 15 and if there are any updates or changes from us before that, we will continue to post them at this location:  www.ntier.org/covid-19

Covid-19 Update 4/1/20 Northern Tier

As you are aware, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a significant health concern, one that the BSA takes very seriously. The Boy Scouts of America’s High Adventure Bases (The Summit Bechtel Reserve, Northern Tier, Philmont Scout Ranch and Sea Base) are committed to providing a safe and high-quality program for the tens of thousands of young people who are planning to attend this summer.

The Coronavirus situation continues to change frequently. These updates are intended to inform your Crew regarding its summer 2020 High Adventure program.

Future updates are scheduled for April 15th and April 30th. These will be posted on the website of each High Adventure Base (HAB).

See the full update here:  High Adventure Base update regarding summer of 2020 Update No. 2_04-01-2020

 

Covid-19 Update 3/29/20 Northern Tier

Due to the State of MN Shelter in Place Order, we have had to close our administration offices to allow our staff to meet the requirements of the order.  The limited staff that live at the facility will continue to work to ready the base for summer programs.  The remaining team members have relocated to home offices and are still working to meet the needs of our customers.  You can find updated contact information for our home offices here:  https://www.ntier.org/about/contact-us-temporary/  Our office hours remain the same, Monday-Friday 8am – 5pm central time.  

 

Covid-19 Update 3/21/20 Northern Tier

While many are worried about the closure of the Canadian Border and how that effects program, we received some good news today.  The official order of closure is for 30 days – this has the border reopening on April 21, well in advance of the summer season.  We understand the situation is quickly evolving and will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update as necessary.  

If you feel it is in your units best interest to make immediate changes to your travel itineraries, please contact us for available options at our Ely, MN location.  In the meantime, please feel free to contact us at 218.365.4811 or info@ntier.org with further questions or concerns.

Covid-19 Update 3/20/20 Northern Tier

Knowing that units are not meeting right now and that it might be tough to collect final payments from your individuals coming to Northern Tier this summer, we will be extending the final payment deadline by 30 days to allow more time for units to collect their final payments.  

In the meantime, please feel free to contact us at 218.365.4811 or info@ntier.org with further questions or concerns.

Covid-19 Update 3/19/20 Northern Tier

We know how much effort goes into planning a trek to a BSA National High Adventure Base. We’re doing everything we can to ensure that your crew’s hard work is rewarded with an outstanding wilderness experience.

We are continuing to monitor the Covid-19 virus progress as it relates to travel and the Canadian border.  We understand that some of our earlier arriving crews may be concerned about their abilities to get to our Canadian locations.  We want to assure you that we are developing a plan to accommodate your crew.  If you feel you need to make immediate changes to your travel itineraries, please contact us for available options at our Ely, MN location.

In the meantime, please feel free to contact us at 218.365.4811 or info@ntier.org with further questions or concerns.

Covid-19 Update 3/12/20 Northern Tier

As always, your safety and the safety of all our participants, guests, volunteers, and employees is our top priority. We know there are questions and concerns about how COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, could affect programs at Northern Tier. Please know that we are monitoring developments regarding COVID-19 both locally and through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The following information regarding events and prevention measures is based on the latest available guidance. As this is an evolving situation, this information is subject to change. We will continue to update you on relevant developments, and we appreciate your understanding of any necessary adjustments in the interest of health and safety.

BSA Polices to Prevent the Spread of Illness

The Boy Scouts of America continues to have policies and procedures in place that help protect participants from contracting an illness at large Scouting events. These include the Annual Health and Medical Record and the Pre-Event Medical Screening Checklist. As part of the National Camp Accreditation Program, Northern Tier has response plans in place for communicable diseases, which are updated regularly.

Status of Upcoming Programs

No summer programs have been canceled or affected at this time. We will continue to monitor and consult with experts and provide updates as they become available. It is important to continue everyday prevention measures. As you prepare for your Northern Tier adventure, decisions about unit meetings and trek preparation activities should be made by unit leadership and chartering organizations based on the unit’s individual circumstances and current CDC and local health department guidelines.

We do ask that you follow the following steps:

Step one:

Don’t travel if you or someone in your household has had the following symptoms within the last 24 hours.

  • Fever (100.4 F or greater)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Step two:

While traveling to and while at Northern Tier practice good hygiene and self-care practices.

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your face or mouth whenever possible.
  • Cover your cough and wash your hands after coughing.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items, and wash your hands after using shared items.
  • Avoid crowded spaces whenever possible, and try to keep a 3-foot circle of personal space around you whenever possible.

Upon arrival at Northern Tier, a medical screening including checking your temperature may be performed by a trained Northern Tier staff member to ensure that all participants are symptom-free upon arrival.

Everyday Preventive Measures

Even with those important policies in place, it is critical that we all take these everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:

  • Stay home when you feel sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands before and after doing so.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve/elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Do not share personal items such as cups, water bottles, eating utensils, etc.
  • Avoid shaking hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Additional Resources