Bryan on Scouting

2017-2018 preview: Northern Tier National High Adventure Bases

It’s the third-annual High-Adventure Week here on Bryan on Scouting. It’s time to celebrate the once-in-a-lifetime experiences offered at the BSA’s four national high-adventure bases — and give you tips on how to secure your spot in 2017, 2018 and beyond.


If you think paddling around the gorgeous lakes of Minnesota and Canada is your kind of adventure, you aren’t alone.

Thousands of Scouts and Venturers head north each summer to experience one of the paddling treks at the Northern Tier National High Adventure Bases. So many, in fact, that Northern Tier set attendance records in 2016.

Simply put, Northern Tier has more demand than it does availability, so slots are allocated using an online lottery.

Summer 2017 is almost full, and summer 2018 registration will open soon. New in 2018: Lightweight Kevlar canoes will be standard on all treks.

The 2018 Northern Tier registration lottery opens at 9 a.m. CT on Jan. 3, 2017. It closes at 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 9, 2017. Click here to enter or learn more.

The lottery is your best chance to secure a reservation for summer 2018 treks or 2017-18 Okpik adventures. Those who miss the lottery window can make reservations on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Feb. 1, 2017. 

What is Northern Tier?

It’s a magical canoeing retreat spread among three Northern Tier bases: Ely, Minn.; Atikokan, Ontario; and Bissett, Manitoba.

Northern Tier is canoe country. Scouts and Venturers who enter Northern Tier’s wilderness each summer get to explore a vast series of navigable lakes and rivers.

During the 6- to 11-night journey of 50 to 150 miles, crews follow in the footsteps and paddle tracks of 1800s French-Canadian voyagers.

In the winter, Northern Tier hosts Okpik, where Scouts experience a true Northwoods winter. They learn how to thrive in subzero temperatures, travel across frozen wilderness lakes and construct their own sleeping structures out of snow.

What’s new at Northern Tier?

Northern Tier registration and lottery info

2017: The lottery for 2017 spots occurred in January 2016. However, some spaces are still available. Go here to see availability and details.

2018: The 2018 Northern Tier registration lottery opens at 9 a.m. CT on Jan. 3, 2017. It closes at 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 9, 2017. Click here to enter or learn more.

Other Northern Tier news you need

How to register and learn more

Visit the Northern Tier website or call 218-365-4811.


Thanks to Leslie Thibodeaux at Northern Tier for the info. Photos by W. Garth Dowling, Brian Payne and Beth Wald.