Northern Tier is the site of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Cold Weather Camping Development Center. Okpik Cold Weather Camping, Northern Tier’s winter offering, is the BSA’s premier winter camping program. At Okpik, Scouts experience a true Northwoods winter: learning how to thrive in subzero temperatures, travel across frozen wilderness lakes and construct their own sleeping structures out of snow. All trips are fully outfitted and provisioned, including almost all of the personal gear necessary to stay warm in the winter. A highly trained staff member, called an Interpreter, accompanies all crews on their trek.
Okpik Weekend Samplers
The Okpik Weekend Sampler is designed to teach Scouts the basics of winter camping. In this program, crews will pack their gear onto sleds (or “pulks”) and head out into the wilderness to spend 1-2 nights. Scouts will learn how to set up a winter campsite, how to build snow shelters and how to cook meals at low temperatures. In addition, they will get to try out a full array of winter activities.
The bread and butter of the Okpik Program, Okpik Treks provide older scouts with the opportunity to test their camping skills in a true winter wilderness. Crews travel by ski, snowshoe or foot into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) for at least two nights, learning how to travel efficiently and enjoyably in the more difficult conditions of the Minnesota winter. Crews can expect to travel between 5 and 15 miles on their trek through a remote winter wilderness.