Charles L. Sommers Alumni Association (SAA)

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What is a Charlie Guide?

For as long as we can remember, members of the trail staff have been known as "Charlie Guides". This is a tag that we have worn proudly. Trail staff are well trained and highly motivated outdoor professionals, usually college age men and women.

In the mid-seventies, Charlie Guides were given a new title of "Interpreter". This was done as a practical measure and at the suggestion of officials of Quetico Provincial Park. The Canadian government had determined that professional fishing guides for Canadian fishing trips should be Canadian citizens or require a special Canadian work permit. Changing "Guides" to "Interpreters" was a way to avoid conflict with the new law. Canadian officials at the local and provincial level have historically been very supportive of the canoe base program, and they recognized that it was not feasible to recruit an all-Canadian trail staff.

It should be noted that the Northern Tier's newer Canadian bases are staffed by a top-flight all-Canadian trail staff. The bases at Atikokan, Ontario and Bissett, Manitoba have provided a way to continue the program for as many Scouts as possible within the crew size and daily entry quotas used in the Quetico and the BWCAW.

© Charles L. Sommers Alumni Association, Inc., PO Box 428, Ely, Minnesota 55731.