In 1923, just 13 years after the birth of Scouting in the United States, organized Scout groups made their first trips into the Minnesota-Ontario border Wilderness country.
Northern Tier is the BSA’s oldest National High Adventure Program, outfitting scouting groups for canoe trips since the summer of 1923. While the first trips were sponsored by the local Council in Virginia, MN, H.F. Pote, out of St. Paul, MN saw the potential in the program. “He sensed the great potential of the adventure and suggested it become a regional project.” Region 10 (one of 12 Regions at the time) took over the project and managed it until 1972, when the Regions were reorganized and Northern Tier would come to fall under the National Council.
We invite all Scouts to join us in celebrating 100 years in the 2022 and 2023 summer seasons!
100th Anniversary Paul Bunyan Award
The Paul Bunyan Award is a special award which recognizes the special role that the Region 10 played in the first 50 years of BSA Wilderness Canoeing (1923-1972).
This award is a reconstitution of the original participation award. This award will be available during the 2022 and 2023 summer canoeing seasons to crews and individuals from the current Councils that make up the area that once was Region 10 or crews participating in specialty programs during those seasons. The specialty programs are listed below.
The Charles L. Sommers Trek – A trip honoring the first chairman of Region Ten, Charles L. Sommers. The 1930 Eagle Scout Trip. When registering for Northern Tier 2022 – select a 7-night trip. The Sommers Trek reservation will be made open at permit reservation time in Dec. 2021 – and will be limited by permits available.
The Paul R. Christen Trek – A trip honoring the final chairman of Region Ten, Paul R. Christen; and the namesake of BSA’s 4th High Adventure Base at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve. Circumnavigating Hunter’s Island (12-day). Registration for this trip will open with individual program early in 2021.
Any 2022 or 2023 Northern Tier summer canoeing crew that completes 100 miles of canoeing and portaging (as verified by their Interpreter and Advisor upon completion).
Charles L. Sommers Trek
The Charles L. Sommers Trek will commemorate the Eagle Scout Trips of 1920’s and 1930’s – specifically recognizing the 1930 Eagle Scout Trip which was made up of 21 Eagle Scouts, leaders and canoeing experts.
The Sommers Trek will depart from the original departure point near the former St. Croix Lumber Company Sawmill in Winton, MN. Crews will be shuttled to this entry point from the Ely Base on Moose Lake. The route will take the crew from Fall Lake, via Newton and Pipestone to Basswood Lake, the Basswood River, Crooked Lake, Iron and Bottle Lakes to Lac LaCroix. Then returning to Winton via Beartrap River and Beartrap Lake.
The trek stays entirely in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on the US side of the border. It appears that the 1930 trek took a side trip to Rebecca Falls (in Canada) and also visited the Indian paintings on Lac La Croix – just over the US-Canada border. The Rebecca Falls side trip will not be included but a “paddle by” of the Indian paintings might be available to a group that can make the additional paddling in the time required. This trek can be completed in 7 days.
Crews will be able to request this trip as part of their permit application, however trips will be limited by permit availability.
Completion of this trek results in the crew, leaders and interpreter receiving the Paul Bunyan Award, in addition the normal CLS participant emblem.
A crew wanting to participate in this trek, will need to make a request for a 7-day trip in the 2022 or 2023 lottery. You will get the option to select this trip at the time permit reservations are taken in Dec of 2021.
Paul R. Christen Trek
- The Paul R. Christen Trek, named in honor of the final Chairman of Region 10; and namesake of the BSA’s 4th National High Adventure Base at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve.
- After moving the “Jumping Off Place” to Moose Lake in 1933, the first two-week trip was offered in 1934 with an itinerary known as Hunters Island.
- Hunters Island is a large land mass — now known to not be an actual island — which occupies the area between the two most historically significant fur trade waterway routes in northern Ontario, Canada: the Kaministiquia and the Grand Portage.
- Hunter Island is bounded to the south by Ottertrack, Knife, and Basswood lakes on the international Canada–United States border, to the east by Saganaga Lake, to the north by Kawnipi and Sturgeon lakes, and on the west by the Maligne River. With the Saganaga-Maligne drainage to the east and north and the Basswood drainage to the south and west, Hunter Island can be thought of as a peninsula connected to the United States across the 90-rod Monument Portage between Swamp and Ottertrack Lakes.
- This challenging 12-day trip departs from and returns to the Charles L. Sommers National High Adventure Base on Moose Lake, northeast of Ely Minnesota.
- Approximately half of the trip will be spent paddling the Grand Portage Fur Trade Route on the US – Canada border; and the other half within the Quetico Provincial Park, Ontario, on the Kaministiquia Fur Trade Route.
- Crews travelling this route will need to have a Quetico permit.
- This trip will only depart on the schedule noted below. Registration for this trip will be available when individual programs registration opens in early 2021. Due to the requirement of a Quetico permit – crews will need to budget additional monies to secure that permit, up to $1,000 per trip.