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Mike R.

Boundary Waters Comercial Outfitter Reccomendations

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I'm taking two crews of 8 from my troop to BWCAW or Quetico the summer of 2010. All are or will be trained and experienced canoeists but none have yet been on a canoe high adventure (they will be doing a "50 Miler" this summer). I've researched outfitters around Ely and Atikokan, interviewed some at boat and sport shows, have brochures stacked a foot high. I have a couple of respected local referrals but, of course, not to the same outfitter. I still can't decide among the my final six. Sooooo....

 

I would really appreciate referrals. Who have you used whom you like? Better yet, who would you not use again? With the exception of Northern Tier, I've never had a scouter tell me he was unhappy with his outfitter. Maybe they are all that great. But please let me know your thoughts.

 

One caveat. I have already decided NOT to use Northern Tier. I know some of you will swear by them (while others will swear AT them). That's not what this thread is about. Nor, I hope, will it become a debate about whether to use commercial outfitters. We are going to use one - period. I just need some suggestions as to which one.

 

Thanks in advance for your thoughtful input.

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I highly recommend North Country Canoe Outfitters. I will be making my 7th trip with them this summer. The owner is a former Scout, Camp Counselor, and veteran Scouter. The equipment and food are top notch, and the service he provides is impeccable. He also provides nice packages for scout groups.

Their website is www.boundarywaters.com

 

Dale

 

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Thanks eagle90. I had seen your NCO recommendation on an old post and it's the only recommendation I've been able to find anywhere on this board. NCO is one of the outfitters on my final list but I would like to hear about others.

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Our Troop has used Cliff Wold in Ely since the '70's. Good equipment and good food. Cliff's crew spends the winter dehydrating and packaging their own trail meals. Their rates are very competitive and has discounts for Scout groups. Cliff is a former Scoutmaster.

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Mike R,

 

I took Eagle 90s recommendation on NCCO six years ago and had a great experience, too. I had been through BSA/NT and would have automatically gone through them again, but they were full when we wanted to go, so took the leap with outfitter. On my recommendation, several other troops have used NCCO with same results. My oldest son is going back with a bunch of his college buddies on a NCCO trek this summer as a graduation trip. A little later, I'll be taking two more Scout crews. Sorry I can't help rule one out for you. Others may swear by their favorites, but I'm sold on mine and will be going back as long as the Great Scoutmaster blesses me with the health to dip a paddle!

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Hungry Jacks Outfitters on the Gunflint trail. They aren't a mega outfitter but they have ~30-40 canoes, a bunkhouse and the family that runs its has a couple of scout age boys. Good people! Plus Grand Marais is a lot more charming than Ely. While in Grand Marais visit the saw mill and take a drive up to Grand Portage and visit the fort to learn the history of the Voyageurs.

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Thanks again for your input guys. Now I'm going to break my own rule and ask about Northern Tier. I thought I had decided agains NT but after rereading some old threads and NT's website I'm having second thoughts.

 

Some things my boys won't be able to get with a private outfitter: official high adventure patches, T-shirts, commemorative paddles, etc. This is not a big deal to me. But the boys really do treasure them. I have an ASM, for example, who still proudly wears his Philmont patch from his days as a scout.

Yeah, our 4 leaders know canoeing, but we've not been to BWCA or Quetico. I'm, not worried about getting lost but I remember backpacking in europe with a friend and missing many a site a guide could have pointed out.

 

I wonder, is my personal desire for independence and adventure clouding my judgment about what's best for my boys? It is about the boys, after all.

 

 

Eagle90, I believe I saw on an old post that you had been on a few NT high adventures in addition to contracting with a private outfitter (NNNO). What are your thoughts? Anyone else, please chime in. If I'm considering NT my timetable just moved up quite a bit. Registration for 2010 begins this April 1.

 

 

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I have always gone in from the west side. I would highly recommend Anderson outfitters out of Crane Lake. www.anderson-outfitters.com

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We've gone several times, never used an outfitter. Sorry I can't make recommendations, unless you want my boys to plan it out for you... :^)

 

Stosh

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If you have the know-how I would skip the guide and commemorative paddles and do the self guided thing. The scouts will learn more.

 

You compared this to your whirl-wind tour through Europe. That is exactly what a trip to the boundary waters shouldn't be about. Pick a good route and you'll see great rapids, beaver dams and maybe a moose. I would suggest you consult with the outfitter for routes, portages and fishing recommendations.

 

There is majesty in pushing off from a landing for week in the back country with just your own wits.

 

(shields -up) I for one am not the impressed by a 45 year man wearing a 30 year patch from his scouting youth such as Philmont. It is what he has done since that impresses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mafaking (phasers on),

I doubt that 45 year old Scouter is wearing it to impress you. I sure wouldn't be. I have a good friend who is 83 who wears a Philmont patch on his right pocket. He was a SM for 34 years, a WB CD (old course) and has just about done it all. He has no need to impress anyone. He doesn't wear that patch to impress anyone, only to remind himself of what a great trip he had.

(phasers off) :-)

 

Mike R.,

I don't think you will find NT filling up like Philmont does. If there is only one week you can go, then you need to be ready by April 1. If your dates are flexible, I don't think you need to sweat it too much. It seems like I recently saw an email where NT still had openings for 2009, but I could be wrong.

 

If the patches are a big deal to the boys (I still like getting them myself), also remember there is the BSA National High Adventure Triple Crown, for attending all 3 national HA programs. If the boys attend Philmont and Sea Base, but go private at BWCA, they would have been close, but no cigar. Just something else to consider...

http://www.holry.org/triplecrownaward.php

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Thanks to everyone. I'm beginning to think it's hard to mess this one up whichever way we go. We'll be well trained and well prepared either way. I am inclined to stick with a private outfitter rather than NT though. My luck, I'd get one of the (propably rare) Interpreters that soured some of the other leaders I've talked to.

 

Mafaking, I'm sure you didn't mean to disparage my ASM. But, just to be clear, I think he wears his Philmont patch because it's one of his fondest memories of scouting. He truly lights up when he recalls that trip. If I can come close to giving my boys on our BWCA trip what Philmont did for him I'll be quite proud of myself. By the way, he was the first to volunteer to go through the five day adult canoe training program, the Wilderness First Aid Basics training and the CPR certification that we're requiring for leaders to go on this trip. No doubt, he's hoping to help his boy and others experience what he did.

 

Again, thanks to those who've replied.

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No disparage. I bet I would like your ASM and ask him about his patch. Forums like this are somewhat crude at making a point. I just wouldn't make the NT patch the focus.

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The last time I was to BWCA, we "hosted" another troop that had never been on a high adventure trip before. We did the leg-work and got everything ready. We took 5 crews of 9 each. We had no guides, just planned out our own route and went. 9 days it was great. We did put together a t-shirt, hat, patch and necker for the event so we would all look the same regardless of troop numerals and council patches. We did employ an ad hoc patrol method for the trip so we could mix the boys from each troop into each crew. It was a great outing. I still wear the patch on my second uniform.

 

Stosh

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