Join us for a reunion at Northern Tier High Adventure’s Charles L. Sommers Wilderness Canoe Base near Ely, Minnesota from Thursday, August 24th to Sunday, August 27th. Together we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America’s oldest National High Adventure program!
The wilderness high adventure program began in the 1920s when the first Scouts paddled into Minnesota’s Superior National Forest.
The reunion in 2023 will feature an extended format starting earlier than before, on the evening of Thursday, August 24th. There will be more activities and a dedicated recognition dinner at Sandy Bridges Program Center on Friday, where we will present the George D. Hedrick Volunteer Service Award. The banquet for the 100th anniversary will occur on Saturday in Ely at the Miners Dry House.
We encourage you to arrive Thursday afternoon or Friday morning to take advantage of all activities. Advance reunion registration is required to participate in the reunion activities, including recognition and anniversary banquet dinners. Member registration opens on Wednesday, March 1st. Members can register their family members, including their significant other, as their guests.
Reunion registration includes:
Lodging at the Reunion
Your reunion registration includes optional lodging at Northern Tier for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. You will be lodging in cabins used to trail crews and staff. These have lights and an outlet that can handle basic electronics. There are two to three steps to enter. You need to bring bedding and a towel. For bedding, bring linen (sheets, blanket, pillow) for a twin bed or a sleeping bag.
Shower and restroom facilities in the vicinity of cabins. The shower and bathroom facilities are private suite style. We recommend you bring shower shoes.
For individuals, self-assigned cabins for a specific gender will be available. We try to keep cabin capacity at two to five people (depending on cabin size).
As it is the policy of our host, the Boy Scouts of America, only those of the opposite gender who are married and their families may share a cabin. Cabins for married couples and families are pre-assigned. You may also choose to lodge elsewhere in Ely or Moose Lake Road.
Lodging in Ely
You may also choose to lodge at an establishment in Ely or on Moose Lake Road. You are encouraged to reserve off-site lodging soon. Please note we have not reserved blocks of rooms.
A complete list of lodging options is available through the Ely Chamber of Commerce.
A few lodging options:
The reunion Plan
Wednesday, March 1st
Thursday, August 24th
Friday, August 25th
Saturday, August 26th
Sunday, August 27th
When does registration open? Registration will open for members on March 1st, 2023.
Who can attend the reunion? The reunion is open to all members in good standing. Membership is open to anyone who wants to support the Northern Tier program. You can learn how to become a member here. New annual memberships received in November and December of 2022 will automatically be extended through the end of 2023.
Will walk-in registration be available? No. We are unable to accommodate walk-ins to the event.
Can I visit the Base or attend an activity without registering for the reunion? We ask that you register for the reunion if you plan to visit or participate in reunion activities. Those registered for the reunion make use of the facilities and activities possible through their support. During the reunion, the Base and other reunion activities are for those attending the reunion.
What will the cost of the reunion be? We will announce the registration fee later. To attend any of the activities, you will need to register for the reunion, which includes all activities.
When should we arrive and depart? We encourage you to arrive on Thursday afternoon or Friday morning to take advantage of all activities. Arrivals begin on Thursday around 4 pm. We ask that you do not arrive before the start time to allow our volunteers to complete the setup for the reunion. The reunion will conclude by 9 am on Sunday.
Can I bring my children? Absolutely! There will be plenty of activities at Northern Tier and in town for the family. Families are assigned a cabin of their own.
Can I register as a guest? You are allowed to register your family members, including your significant other, as your guests. Those not part of your family (i.e., members and alumni) should register for the event themselves.
Can I bring my pet? No. Pets are not allowed at any time at Northern Tier or other reunion venues. Only service animals are allowed (dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities). You may consider making lodging arrangements at a neighboring property that allows pets. Please note many pet-friendly accommodations in Ely require someone to attend to your dog at all times.
What are the lodging options? Attendees of the reunion stay in a crew or staff cabin. You may also bring your tent. One family/couple per cabin or two to five individuals of the same gender. To enter a cabin unit, there are two to three steps. There are electrical lights and an outlet that can handle basic electronics. For those who want to stay in a hotel or full-service cabin, the Ely Chamber of Commerce lists options available. We highly recommend you book off-site lodging well in advance.
Do we need to bring bedding or a towel? You need to bring bedding and a towel. For bedding, bring linen (sheets, blanket, pillow) for a twin bed or a sleeping bag. We also recommend you bring shower shoes or similar to use in the shower.
What are the shower and restroom facilities like? Shower and restroom facilities are in the vicinity of most cabins. The shower and bathroom facilities are private suite style. There are several accessible units. We recommend bringing shower shoes or similar. Bring a swimsuit if you plan to use the sauna (subject to current regulations).
I have a mobility impairment. How can I get around? Those with mobility issues can use their vehicle to allow them to get to and from locations. For others, we do not allow it because of the safety hazard of vehicle traffic. Please be aware there are two to three steps to enter a cabin unit.
Where will we be eating? Meals at Northern Tier will be in or outside the “Sandy Bridges Program Center.” The banquet dinner on Saturday will be in Ely. The menu is yet to be determined. If you have a dietary restriction, please note it when registering so we can work with our caterer.
How do I donate an item for the auction at the banquet? We ask that you bring the item to the reunion and provide it during check-in. There will be a form in the future to donate an auction item to collect the description and photo of the item. Advance arrangements can be made to ship an item (please do not send it to our PO Box).
When is the next reunion? After 2023, the next reunion will not be until 2025.
Do I need to register for the reunion if I will be on the seasonal staff? You will need to register for the reunion if you will not be working for Northern Tier during the reunion. Please directly consult with Northern Tier regarding your letter of employment. Seasonal staff working during the reunion are welcome to participate in the recognition dinner on Friday and outdoor activities.
What if I will arrive at Northern Tier late at night on Thursday? It would be helpful if you let us know a week in advance. We will post information on cabin assignments outside the Sandy Bridges Program Center.
Can I bring my recreational vehicle (RV)? Possibly, but you must make advance arrangements by contacting the SAA. We cannot guarantee availability or approval. Please note there are no utilities. We suggest camping at a nearby property, such as Canoe Country Campground (RV sites include water, sewer, and electric hookups) on Moose Lake or Fall Lake Campground (RV sites have electricity).
What are the closest airports? We recommend flying to Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) or Duluth International Airport (DHL). Flying to Minneapolis may be more cost-effective and avoid potential connection delays of flying to Duluth. The drive time between Northern Tier and Minneapolis airport ranges from four and a half hours to five and a half hours. The drive time between Northern Tier and Duluth airport is about two and a half hours. Plan to arrive at the airport at least two hours before your domestic flight departs.
What hotels do you recommend near the Minneapolis airport to stay in before or after the reunion? There are many hotels located just south of the airport. Some offer an airport shuttle or are within walking distance of a light rail station to reach the airport, Mall of America, or downtown Minneapolis. You may be able to drop off your rental vehicle the night before flying home.
Is there a shuttle from Duluth or Minneapolis? We are not planning to provide a shuttle and recommend renting a vehicle. Some outfitters offer airport shuttles. It is less expensive if picked up in Duluth and when traveling with a group. Options include Spirit of the Wilderness (218-365-3149) and Northern Lights Van Shuttle Service (218-780-2556). If taking a shuttle to Northern Tier, you will still need transportation between Northern Tier and Ely for activities, as we cannot provide this.
What attractions can we visit before or after the reunion? As there are many attractions, we recommend reviewing Northern Tier’s Sites and Attractions page. Please note some attractions in Ely will be part of the reunion experience. We will announce these activities at a later date.
Can I take a canoe trip before or after the reunion? Yes! We recommend getting off the water by Thursday afternoon when the reunion starts or heading on the water on Sunday late morning after the memorial service.
The Ely Chamber of Commerce has a directory of outfitters. If you are uncertain which outfitter you will use, we suggest selecting the Kawishiwi Ranger District as your permit issue station (open 8 am to 4:30 pm). If using Northern Tier as your permit issue station, you should make advance arrangements since its office hours are limited.
Northern Tier also offers the Alumni Rental Program if you want to use its equipment or facilities (including landing). You must arrange this in advance by submitting the form at the bottom of this page to make a request. Members are responsible for acquiring their permits and following the program policies.
Please keep in mind:
- Overnight camping requires a Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness or Quetico Provincial Park permit. Those entering Quetico Provincial Park need to self-issue a Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness day permit for their trip to and from Prairie Portage. BWCAW permit reservations for the 2023 season will be available beginning at 9:00 a.m. CST on Wednesday, January 25, 2023.
- Entering Quetico Provincial Park requires a camping permit from Ontario Parks, Remote Area Border Crossing (RABC) permit for each individual, and a valid passport for each individual. Upon return from Canada, each individual must check in with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Ely.
- The SAA and Northern Tier cannot provide assistance or logistics should you have planning, permit, or trip issues.