Northern Tier High Adventure: Advantage Goes to Boy Scout Camp




Tucked away in Northern Minnesota—a couple hours’ drive from the Advantage Emblem & Screen Printing headquarters—is a Boy Scouts of America (BSA) camp unlike any other.

The self-proclaimed gateway to adventure in the Great Northwoods, Northern Tier is a collection of high adventure bases. (If you aren’t sure what a high adventure base is, we totally understand. A common term in the scouting world, “high adventure” refers to activities ranging from canoeing and kayaking to backpacking, camping, and even mountaineering. Think outdoor adventures that take place deep in the wilderness.)

In short, Northern Tier facilitates high adventure trips for the BSA. And Advantage is proud to design and supply intricate, durable t-shirts for the camp’s team members (known as “Interpreters”) and participating Scouts—made locally for those who love the Northwoods as much as we do.

The History of Northern Tier

Northern Tier High Adventure Camp is practically a centenarian! The program launched in 1923 under the name Region X Canoe Trails, and then as Region X Wilderness Canoe Trips. (If you haven’t yet picked up on the fact that the program offers canoe trips, we’re here to tell you that that’s exactly right!)

Slowly but surely, the program developed into the experiences participating Boy Scouts enjoy today. Northern Tier is the oldest of the four National High Adventure Bases operated by the BSA; the others are in Florida, New Mexico, and West Virginia.

But let’s focus on Northern Tier.

In the winter of 1941-1942, Region X of the BSA took ownership of the program and oversaw the construction of a lodge known today as the Charles L. Sommers National High Adventure Base—Northern Tier’s current flagship base in Ely, Minnesota. Charles L. Sommers was a renowned Scouter who served as the first chairman of BSA Region X, and participated in countless canoe trips during his lifetime.

Advantage couldn’t be happier to help keep Sommers’s legacy alive by partnering with Northern Tier. Our shirts are made to look good and reflect the program, but also withstand the remarkable, rugged conditions of each trip.

Northern Tier Today

Young Man Traveler with backpack relaxing outdoor with forest on background Summer vacations and Lifestyle concept

In the summer, modern Scouts have their pick of Northern Tier’s three wilderness canoe bases. This means access to millions of acres of glistening lakes, paired with winding rivers, lush forests, and scenic wetlands in both the U.S. and Canada.

Programs are available in Northern Minnesota, Northwest Ontario, and Northeast Manitoba. It’s worth noting that Northern Tier caters to participants who are either 14 when they arrive at Northern Tier, or have completed the eighth grade and are at least 13 when they begin their excursion. The three program launch points are as follows:

  •         Ely, Minnesota

The Charles L. Sommers Canoe Base has facilitated canoe expeditions for the BSA since 1941. The base outfits more than 4,000 Scouts per year on canoe trips in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park. Excursions launching out of the Sommers base can accommodate up to eight Scouts and an Interpreter.

  •         Atikokan, Ontario

The Donald Rogert “Atikokan” Canoe Base is tucked 80 miles north of the Sommers base, and outfits 1,500 scouts per year on canoe trips in Quetico Provincial Park and the Canadian Crown Lands. The Quetico offers pure wilderness with limited signs of human travel, while the Crown Lands reveal a rich history of trapping, gold mining, and even traces of a World War II Prisoner of War Camp. Excursions launching out of the Atikokan base can accommodate up to eight Scouts and an Interpreter in the Quetico, or 11 Scouts and an Interpreter in the Crown Lands.

  •         Bissett, Manitoba

Dubbed the most extreme high adventure in Scouting, crews enjoy a 20-minute floatplane ride before entering 2.5 million acres of wilderness in Atikaki Provincial Park and Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. The remote Northern Expeditions “Bissett” Canoe Base features challenging terrain and second-to-none fishing. Excursions launching out of the Bissett base can accommodate up to 11 Scouts and an Interpreter; they are most appropriate for older, more experienced participants.

Each trip is completely outfitted and provisioned and lasts from six to 14 days.

And these Northwoods adventures don’t only take place in the summer. Northern Tier also offers fall trips, as well as the Okpik Cold Weather Camping program in winter.

Advantage: A Prime Camp Shirt Solution

High adventure programs like Northern Tier encourage youth to share experiences, appreciate the beauty of nature, and experience life away from technology—even if only for a short time. The benefits of wilderness camps are truly extensive.

To this end, camps across the country can experience the difference with custom-made shirts from Advantage Emblem & Screen Printing. Our screen printing services can enhance the visibility of your organization, cultivate team spirit, and help to make memories that last a lifetime. Please contact us with questions or for more information.