Order of the Arrow







































Where To Go Activities Guide


Sponsored by


Lodge #381


Gateway Area Council

La Crosse, WI

(Spring 2009 Edition)
















































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Order of the Arrow – “Where To Go” Guide

This resource has been developed to help leaders provide a greater outdoor adventure.  We hope to expand this booklet regularly with more ideas and places to go.  A large part of the Scouting program calls for new experiences in new places!

A committee of the Order of the Arrow youth were selected, and under the guidance of the Lodge Executive Committee, developed this resource as a service to you.  One of the major purposes of the Order is to promote Scout camping and to help strengthen the district and council camping year-round.  This includes our Camp Decorah summer and winter programs, Camporees, Klondikes, Expos, High Adventure Bases and unit camping.

Although not listed in this resource, another great place to take your unit includes county owned property.  This is often available for little or no cost and can be arranged by contacting your local Park Department or County Forester.  More information about nearby private and public facilities can be found at your local Chamber of Commerce.  We want to thank you for keeping the “Outing” in Scouting.





Note that the Internet links included in this document are for your convenience.  There is no connection to them, other than their being to BSA-recognized units (councils, or Scouting.org), government agencies, tourism groups, or organizations that share a similar interest in that particular topic.  They were valid and useful at the time they were included in this edition.  Click at your own risk.




Braves of Decorah & Ni-Sanak-Tani

Lodge 381



Guide Improvements. 6

Where to go… General Information. 7

A History of the Gateway Area Council’s Order of the Arrow.. 8

Order of the Arrow.. 9

Our Vision for the Order of the Arrow.. 9

Purpose. 9

History. 9

Membership. 9

Lodges. 10

Sections. 10

Region Leadership. 11

National Leadership. 11

OA Troop/Team Representative. 12

Outdoor Code. 13

Guide to Safe Scouting. 14

Introduction to the Guide to Safe Scouting. 14

Control of Flammable Liquids in Camp. 15

Chemical Fuels. 15

Guidelines for Safely Using Chemical Stoves and Lanterns. 15

Flammability Warning. 16

Extinguishers. 16

Guide to Safe Scouting : Fuels and Fire Prevention. 16

Year-Round Fireguard Plan. 17

BSA Wilderness Use Policy. 18

Wisconsin Scout Camps. 19

Central Region - Area One - Section C1B  Scout Camps. 19

Central Region - Area One - Section C1A  Scout Camps. 23

Central Region – Area Three - Wisconsin Scout Camps. 23

Central Region – Other Wisconsin Scout Camps. 26

Central Region - Area Two - Scout Camps. 26

Camp Decorah. 28

Hoffman Park. 30

National Camping Award. 31

The 50-Miler Award. 32

Centennial Quality Awards Program... 33

Cub Scout Outdoor Awards. 34

National Summertime Pack Award. 34

National Den Award. 34

Tour Permits. 35

Where to go… Camping. 36

Neshonoc Lakeside Campground. 37

Waterfalls. 44

Minnesota includes the Root River falls at Lanesboro. 44

Wisconsin/UP Michigan waterfalls.Unique Natural Features. 44

Unique Natural Features. 45

Common Geologic Terms. 48

High Adventure Programs. 49

BSA National Camping Opportunities. 49

Wisconsin State Parks. 52

Southern Minnesota County/Regional Parks. 60

Southern Minnesota County/Regional Parks. 60

Where to go… Biking. 61

Share the Road. 63

Guidelines for Bicycle Club Rides and Bike-A-Thons. 64

Suggested Bicycle Touring Equipment Checklist 66

Biking "Coulee Country" of Minnesota and Wisconsin. 67

ELROY-SPARTA National Bike Trail 67

Great River Trail 69

Wisconsin Bikeway. 70

Wisconsin county maps PDF.... 70

Wisconsin State Trails. 71

Minnesota Off-The-Road Bike Trails. 74

State trails list 74

Southeast 74

Where to go… Canoeing. 75

Wilderness First Aid. 76

Basic First Aid Kit 77

Medical Kit 78

What to do When it Rains and Rains and Rains. . . 79

Bears and other Critters. 81

Bears. 81

Bugs. 82

Wisconsin Canoe and Kayak Rivers. 83

Canoe Trips. 84

Planning a Safe Trip. 87

Safety Afloat 89

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs). 91

Canoeing the Rivers of Hidden Valleys. 92

Minnesota Canoeing. 94

MN Canoe and boating guides. 94

Where to go… Hiking. 95

Historic Trails Award. 96

Nationally Approved Historic Trails. 96

Iowa. 96

Illinois. 97

Minnesota. 100

Wisconsin. 100

Hixton Forest 101

Hiking Trails in Wisconsin. 102

Minnesota Hiking Trails. 103

Douglas State Trail 103

Root River State Trail 103

Hiking Trails in Illinois. 104

Where to go… Skiing. 105

Cross Country Skiing Techniques. 106

Snowshoe Technique. 109

Regional Wisconsin/Minnesota Cross Country Skiing. 111

LaCrosse County Forest Preserve. 112

Wisconsin Cross Country Ski Trails. 113

Wisconsin Sleigh Rides. 118

Wisconsin Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding. 120

Wisconsin Tubing. 123

Index. 125


Guide Improvements

Information and maps contained in this Guide have been collected from the most reliable sources possible, but may not be 100% accurate or up to date.  Changes may occur without notice.  Be prepared and confirm the information before final plans are made.  This guide will be revised as changes are identified or new opportunities are presented that would be of interest to Scouts.

If anyone finds incorrect information in the guide or has any suggestions for changes, please fill out this sheet and return to the Gateway Area Council.












If there are any places, rivers, trails, or information you would like to add to our guide, let us know. Include name, address, state, and any general information you might have.












Return to:  Order of the Arrow, Gateway Area Council, 2600 Quarry Rd, La Crosse, WI 54601-3997


Where to go… General Information


A History of the Gateway Area Council’s Order of the Arrow

The success of the Order of the Arrow in the Gateway Area Council has been due to the hard work and dedication of its members and officers.


The Order of the Arrow in the Gateway Area Council grew out of a local honor campers society, the BRAVES OF DECORAH. While serving on the staff of Camp Ammon in 1946, several Braves of DeCorah members were forced to remove their emblem, while Order of the Arrow members were permitted to wear their insignias.


This incident prompted them to look into the national campers' brother­hood and led to the chartering of the Braves of DeCorah as an Order of the Arrow Lodge. In the fall of 1947 a charter was granted to the Braves of Decorah Lodge 381. The first Ordeal ceremony held at Camp Decorah was conducted by a ritual team from Tichora Lodge from Madison.


In the years that followed, the ceremonies of the old Braves of DeCorah were gradually changed to comply more uniformly with National Council recommendations. In 1948 candidates were tapped out in front of the dining hall and then taken across Council Bay for the PreOrdeal ceremony. Friday Night Ordeal ceremonies were held on Decorah Peak. Ceremonies were held at Decorah Peak until 1954 when they were moved to the sight of the present lodge building.


The first 7E Area Conference was held at Camp Decorah in 1954.


Our present pre-ordeal ring was developed in 1955. The bowl was constructed with the help of the Army Reserve. Improvements to the area included a speakers stand, alter for the fire, and erosion prevention of stone sides of the bowl.


The Lodge's dream of an Order of the Arrow building at Camp Decorah was finally realized in the fall of 1959 when the exterior walls and roof were constructed by the Army Engineer Corps from La Crosse. The lumber had been precut by the Trane Company of La Crosse and the finishing work was done by Lodge members.


As membership increased and the concept of Cheerful Spirit grew, the Lodge used funds raised from such means as Christmas tree sales for the purchase of items for Camp, like a dishwasher, chain saws, targets for the archery range, a new rifle range, a tractor-lawn mower, and camp promotion slide sets.


The Braves of Decorah have participated in National Order of the Arrow con­ferences, area section conclaves, Oktoberfest parades, S.M.E. campaigns, and had their Order of the Arrow Dance Teams perform before thousands of people.


Among the numerous awards the Lodge has received, in 1975 the Braves of Decorah received the E. Urner Goodman Camping Award from the National Office. There is only one award presented per region each year.


The name of Lodge #381 was changed to Ni-Sanak-Tani in 1995 at the urging of the Supreme Chief of the Fire, both as a way to repair relations with the Ho-Chunk Nation and to recognize that there are no current American Indian Braves within the Lodge.  The name Ni-Sanak-Tani means the place where three rivers meet… the Black, the Mississippi, and the La Crosse rivers. It is pronounced “Knee SHA-Nock Dah-KNEE” in Hocąk, the language of the Ho-Chunk Nation,


Section C1B was realigned in 2004 to reduce the overall travel distances for the lodges in each Central Region section.  This moved Ni-Sanak-Tani and Blue Ox, Rochester, MN, into a new Section C1C, along with 4 northern Iowa Lodges.  In 2005, the Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN, councils were merged, pulling Agaming Lodge out of Section C1B, leaving 4 lodges.  Ni-Sanak-Tani was moved back to Section C1B in 2006 to equalize the number of lodges in the sections.


Ni-Sanak-Tani has continued a legacy of service to Camp Decorah through establishing the Arapahoe and Lenâpe campsites, and the new range facility, plus the new campsite pavilions.


As Ni-Sanak-Tani looks ahead to the future, it also looks back at a shining past, which started as a small obscure group, and is now a nationally recognized organization.


Order of the Arrow

The Order of the Arrow is Scouting's National Honor Society. For more information about the Order, see the OA Fact Sheet.

Our Vision for the Order of the Arrow

As Scouting's National Honor Society, the Order of the Arrow is an integral part of the council's program. Our service, activities, adventures, and training for youth and adults are models of quality leadership development and programming that enrich and help to extend Scouting to America's youth.

For more than 90 years, their peers have honored those Scouts who "best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives" with membership in the Order of the Arrow. This recognition provides encouragement for others to live these ideals as well. We will provide ways and means for OA members to do more to assist their units and councils, and help them succeed in doing so.

In support of our vision as Scouting's National Honor Society and an integral part of every council, the Order of the Arrow will further increase its service to Scouting.


The purpose of the Order of the Arrow is fourfold:

Order of the Arrow founders E. Urner Goodman, left, and Carroll A. Edson


The Order of the Arrow was founded by Dr. E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson in 1915 at the Treasure Island Camp of the BSA's Philadelphia Council. It became an official program experiment in 1922 and was approved as part of the Scouting program in 1934. In 1948, the OA, recognized as the BSA's national brotherhood of honor campers, became an official part of the Boy Scouts of America.

In 1998, the Order of the Arrow was recognized as Scouting's National Honor Society when it expanded its reach beyond camping to include a greater focus on leadership development, membership extension, adventurous programming, and broader service to Scouting and the community. Today, its service, activities, adventures, and training for youth and adults are models of quality leadership development and programming that enrich, support, and help extend Scouting to America's youth.


The OA has more than 180,000 members located in lodges affiliated with more than 300 BSA local councils.



To become a member, a youth must be a registered member of a Boy Scout troop or Varsity Scout team and hold First Class rank. The youth must have experienced 15 days and nights of Boy Scout camping during the two-year period prior to the election. The 15 days and nights must include one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of six consecutive days and five nights of resident camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America. The balance of the camping must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps. Following approval by the Scoutmaster or Varsity team Coach, Scouts are elected to seek membership in the Order by their fellow unit members. Then, after completing an Ordeal experience, they become members of the Order of the Arrow.

Adult selection is based on the ability to perform the necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purpose, and is not for recognition. Selected adult Scouters must be an asset to the Order because of demonstrated abilities and provide a positive role model for the youth members of the lodge.


The induction process, called the Ordeal, is the first step toward full membership in the Order. During the experience, candidates maintain silence, work on camp improvement projects, and sleep apart from other campers. The candidate is expected to use this time to strengthen his involvement in the unit and encourage Scout camping.

Brotherhood Membership

After 10 months of service as an Ordeal member and after fulfilling certain requirements, a member may take part in the Brotherhood ceremony, which places further emphasis on the ideals of Scouting and the Order. Completion of this ceremony signifies full membership in the Order.

Vigil Honor

After two years of service as a Brotherhood member, and with the approval of the National Order of the Arrow Committee, a Scout or Scouter may be recognized with the Vigil Honor for outstanding service to Scouting, his lodge, and the community. This honor is bestowed by special selection and is limited to one person for every 50 members registered with the lodge each year.


Each local Boy Scout council is encouraged to have an Order of the Arrow lodge. The OA lodge helps the local council provide a quality Scouting program through recognition of Scouting spirit and performance, development of youth leadership and service, promotion of Scout camping and outdoor programs, and enhancement of membership tenure.


An Order of the Arrow section consists of lodges within a geographic area of the region. Once every year, representatives of lodges in the section come together for a conclave to share in fellowship, program ideas, skills, and training. In addition, the section creates a monitoring/mentoring relationship with its lodges, provides leadership development opportunities, fosters understanding and adherence to national OA policies and procedures, and coordinates OA administrative and program functions. The section key three leadership consists of the section chief, section adviser, and section staff adviser.


Region Leadership

The region chief is a youth leader elected annually by the section chiefs in his region. This election is held in conjunction with called meetings of the section chiefs to elect the national chief and vice chief, as well as to plan a national Order of the Arrow event.

The region Order of the Arrow chairman is an adult appointed by the region director. The professional adviser for the region is an adult staff member assigned to the position by the region director. All three of the OA region leaders serve as members of the National Order of the Arrow Committee.

National Leadership

The national chief and vice chief are Arrowmen elected to one-year terms by the section chiefs during the annual national planning meeting. They serve as members of the National Order of the Arrow Committee to provide the voice of the youth Arrowmen on national OA policy. They also serve as the presiding officers for the national OA event. They are advised in their responsibilities by the national committee chairman and national director of the Order of the Arrow.

The National OA Committee chairman is appointed by the chairman of the National Boy Scout Committee. The professional adviser is the director of the Order of the Arrow, a member of the national Boy Scout Division staff.

OA Troop/Team Representative

Ni-Sanak-Tani Lodge #381

Gateway Area Council

2600 Quarry Rd.

La Crosse, WI  54601




Register a OA Troop/Team Representative change, so NST can better serve your Arrowmen.

Troop Number __________                             Troop’s Home City/State _________________________

Scoutmaster’s Name _____________________________________________  

Scoutmaster’s Phone  (___)-___________    and Email  ________________________________

Scoutmaster’s Address  __________________________________________________________

Scoutmaster’s City/State/Zip   _______________________   ___________   ________________


Our OA Troop Representative Name _____________________________   

He is an… (Ordeal, Brotherhood, Vigil Honor) member,  to serve from ___/___/___  to ___/___/___.

Troop Rep’s Phone   (___)-___________    and Email  ________________________________

Troop Rep’s Address   __________________________________________________________

Troop Rep’s City/State/Zip    _________________________,   ________   ________________



Our OA Troop Rep. Adviser Name _____________________________   

He is an… (Ordeal, Brotherhood, Vigil Honor) member.

Adviser’s Phone        (___)-___________    and Email  ________________________________

Adviser’s Address        __________________________________________________________

Adviser’s City/State/Zip         __________________________,  ________   ________________


To Schedule an OA Election Team to visit, fill out this portion and return, at least a month before your date.

Your troop/team will need at least 50% of your active Scouts in attendance at that meeting.

Troop/Team Meeting Schedule (e.g., every Monday) ________________________________

Requested Election Meeting on: ____/____/____ (M, T, W, R, F, Sa, Su)   at about ___:___ am/pm

Meeting Place Name/Address ________________________________________________________________

Directions, if quirky! ________________________________________________________________________

Leader’s Cell Phone (JUST for Election team, if they get lost) (___)- _________________



Thanks, WWW… Troy, Chief; Dave Long, Lodge Adviser

Deliver or mail back to Scout Office, or email information to oa@gatewayareacouncil.org   Thanks.


Received ____/____/____                      Database Updated ___/___/___


Outdoor Code


As an American, I will do my best to –

Be clean in my outdoor manners,

I will treat the outdoors as a heritage to be improved for our greater enjoyment. I will keep my trash and garbage out of America’s waters, fields, woods, and roadways.

Be careful with fire,

I will prevent wildfire.  I will build my fire in a safe place and be sure it is out before I leave.

Be considerate in the outdoors,

I will treat public and private property with respect.  I will remember that use of the outdoors is a privilege I can lose by abuse.

and be conservation-minded.

I will learn how to practice good conservation of soil, waters, forests, minerals, grasslands, and wildlife, and I will urge others to do the same.  I will use sportsmanlike methods in all my outdoor activities.

Guide to Safe Scouting

Introduction to the Guide to Safe Scouting

Every Scout leader should be familiar with the contents of the Guide to Safe Scouting. Planning for a safe Scouting event is a big responsibility and requires a big guide!

Topics included in this guide include:

  1. Youth Protection and Adult Leadership
  2. Aquatics Safety
  3. Camping
  4. Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Use and Abuse
  5. Emergency Preparedness
  6. First Aid
  7. Fuels and Fire Prevention
  8. Guns and Firearms
  9. Sports and Activities
  10. Inspections
  11. Medical Information
  12. Transportation
  13. Winter Activities

The Guide to Safe Scouting is revised every year. Be sure that you are using the most current version. Remember—both the Local and National Tour Permits require that the adult leader certify that this guide is in his possession and has been read.


Control of Flammable Liquids in Camp


Chemical Fuels

Knowledgeable adult supervision must be provided when Scouts are involved in the storage of chemical fuels, the handling of chemical fuels in the filling of stoves or lanterns, or the lighting of chemical fuels. The use of liquid fuels for starting any type of fire is prohibited.

Guidelines for Safely Using Chemical Stoves and Lanterns

  1. Use compressed- or liquid-gas stoves or lanterns only with knowledgeable adult supervision and in Scout facilities only where and when permitted.
  2. Operate and maintain according to manufacturer¹s instructions included with the stove or lantern.
  3. Both gasoline and kerosene shall be kept in well-marked, approved containers (never in a glass container) and stored in a ventilated, locked box at a safe distance (a minimum of 20 feet) from buildings and tents. Keep all chemical fuel containers away from hot stoves and campfires, and store below 100 degrees (F).
  4. Let hot stoves and lanterns cool before changing cylinders of compressed gases or refilling from containers of liquid gas.
  5. Refill liquid-gas stoves and lanterns a safe distance from any flames, including other stoves, campfires, and personal smoking substances. A commercial camp stove fuel should be used for safety and performance. Pour through a filter funnel. Recap both the device and the fuel container before igniting.
  6. Never fuel a stove, heater, or lantern inside a cabin; always do this outdoors. Do not operate a stove, lantern, or charcoal grill in an unventilated structure. Provide at least two ventilation openings, one high and one low, to provide oxygen and exhaust for lethal gases. Never fuel (example: all liquid fuels, charcoal. etc.), ignite, or operate a stove, heater, or lantern in a tent.
  7. Place the stove on a level, secure surface before operating. On snow, place insulated support under the stove to prevent melting and tipping.
  8. Periodically check fittings on compressed-gas stoves and on pressurized liquid-gas stoves for leakage, using soap solution before lighting.
  9. To avoid possible fires, locate gas tanks, stoves, etc., below any tents since heavy leakage of gas will flow downhill the same as water.
  10. When lighting a stove, keep fuel containers and extra canisters well away. Do not hover over the stove when lighting it. Keep your head and body to one side. Open the stove valve quickly for two full turns and light carefully, with head, fingers, and hands to the side of the burner. Then adjust down.
  11. Do not leave a lighted stove or lantern unattended.
  12. Do not overload the stovetop with heavy pots or large frying pans. If pots over 2 quarts are necessary, set up a separate grill with legs to hold the pot, and place the stove under the grill.
  13. Bring empty fuel containers home for disposal. Do not place in or near fires. Empty fuel containers will explode if heated and should never be put in fireplaces or with burnable trash.

Flammability Warning

No tent material is completely fireproof. It can burn when exposed to continued, intense heat or fire. The most important safeguard is to keep flames away from canvas materials. For this reason, the following safety precautions are emphasized:

  1. Only flashlights and electric lanterns are permitted in tents. No flames in tents is a rule that must be enforced.
  2. Never use liquid-fuel stoves, heaters, lanterns, lighted candles, matches, and other flame sources in or near tents.
  3. Do not pitch tents near an open fire.
  4. Do not use flammable chemicals near tents‹charcoal lighter or spray cans of paint, bug killer, or repellent.
  5. Be careful when using electricity and lighting in tents.
  6. Always extinguish cooking campfires promptly.
  7. Obey all fire laws, ordinances, and regulations.


If fire breaks out, it must be quickly and properly suppressed. To do this, you must know the three classes of fires and how to combat them:

Class A

Fires that involve normally combustible materials such as paper, wood, fabrics, rubber, and many plastics. These fires can be quenched with water or insulated with tri-class (ABC) chemical or foam extinguishers.

Class B

Fires that involve gasoline, oil, grease, tars, paints, lacquers, or flammable gases. The oxygen that supports this type of fire must be cut off by tri-class (ABC), regular dry chemical, foam, or carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguishers. Water is dangerous, as it spreads the fire.

Class C

Electrical fires involving heated wire and arcing. These fires must be suppressed with tri-class (ABC) dry chemicals or CO2‹never water, which is a conductor.

Fires in any one class may involve materials of other classes, so more than one type of extinguisher should be available. Because of the danger of lethal fumes, carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) extinguishers must not be used. Dispose of these extinguishers as recommended by fire officials.

Extinguishers should normally be mounted near a doorway and approximately at shoulder level.

In a camp setting, the unit leader is responsible for training Scouts in fire prevention, fire detection and reporting, and fire fighting. All youth members and adult leaders should have unit fireguard plan training.

Reference: Unit Fireguard, No. 33691A

Guide to Safe Scouting : Fuels and Fire Prevention


Year-Round Fireguard Plan

Will your camp be there next season? This is a good question to ask at the close of each camping season as you pack away equipment and leave. In fairness to next year's campers, do everything that can be done to ensure the safety of camp equipment and camp timber.

Fall, with its dry, dead leaves that often bank high around camp buildings is. in many sections of the country, the most dangerous fire season of the entire year. Spring is another - bad time.

Here is a checklist of things to do at all times to be sure that your camp is fireproof year round:

1. Destroy greasy rags.

2. Dispose of all combustible refuse and trash safely.

3. Be sure that doors and shutters are strong enough to keep out trespassers, vandals, or thieves.

4. Be sure that the caretaker or camp ranger understands his responsibility of patrol, inspection, and notification of authorities in case of need.

5. Stow away firewood and loose equipment that might be used by trespassers.

6. Clear away dead grass or trees, ferns, leaves, bushes, straw piles, and trash from buildings.

7. Clean grease traps and dispose of the grease by burning it at a safe place or burying it in mineral earth.

8. Be sure the camp is ready for winter use. Check fuels, wall and floor protection around heaters, and protecting screens  for fireplaces. Inspect location of fire pails, fire extinguishers, and mobile firefighting equipment.


BSA Wilderness Use Policy


Wilderness Use Policy of the Boy Scouts of America

All privately or publicly owned backcountry land and designated wildernesses are included in the term “wilderness areas” in this policy. The Outdoor Code of the Boy Scouts of America and the principles of Leave No Trace apply to outdoor behavior generally, but for treks into wilderness areas, minimum-impact camping methods must be used. Within the outdoor program of the Boy Scouts of America, there are many different camping-skill levels. Camping practices that are appropriate for day outings, long-term Scout camp, or short-term unit camping might not apply to wilderness areas. Wherever they go, Scouts need to adopt attitudes and patterns of behavior that respect the rights of others, including future generations, to enjoy the outdoors.

In wilderness areas, it is crucial to minimize human impact, particularly on fragile ecosystems such as mountains, lakes and streams, deserts, and seashores. Because our impact varies from one season of the year to the next, it becomes important for us to adjust to these changing conditions to avoid damaging the environment.

The Boy Scouts of America emphasizes these practices for all troops, teams, and crews planning to use wilderness areas:

Р   Contact the landowner or land-managing agency (USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, state and private agencies, etc.) well before an outing to learn the regulations for that area, including group size limits, to obtain required permits and current maps, and to discuss ways Scouts can fulfill the expectations of property owners or land managers.

Р   Obtain a tour permit (available through local council service centers), meet all of its conditions, and carry it during the trip.

Р   Review the appropriate BSA safety literature relating to planned activities. (See Safe Swim Defense, Safety Afloat, Climb On Safely, and Trek Safely.) Also see the Guide to Safe Scouting on the BSA Web site at http://www.scouting.org/pubs/gss/toc.html for more information on current BSA policies and procedures for ensuring safe activities, as well as the Fieldbook Web site at http://www.bsafieldbook.org.

Р   Match the ruggedness of high-adventure experiences to the skills, physical ability, and maturity of those taking part. Save rugged treks for older unit members who are more proficient and experienced in outdoor skills.

Р   Conduct pretrip training for your group that stresses proper wilderness behavior, rules, and skills for all of the conditions that may be encountered, including lightning, missing person, wildfire, high winds, flooding, and emergency medical situations.

Р   Participate in training in how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace, and be proficient and experienced in the leadership and skills required for treks into wilderness areas.

Р   Adhere to the principles of Leave No Trace.

Wisconsin Scout Camps

Central Region - Area One - Section C1B  Scout Camps


Samoset Council, BSA

720 Grant Street

P.O. Box 6195

Wausau, WI  54402-6195

(715) 845-2195    http://www.samoset.org/


Crystal Lake Scout Reservation

Akela's World Cub Scout Camp

5231 Spider Lake Road

Tesomas Scout Camp

5403 Spider Lake Road

Hanna Venture Base

5305 Spider Lake Road

Rhinelander, WI  54501

(715) 369-1461


The Crystal Lake Scout Reservation (CLSR) offers programs for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers of all ages. Cub Scouts will enjoy spending a few days at Akela's World Cub Scout Camp. Boy Scouts age 11-17 will find endless opportunities at Tesomas Scout Camp, while older Boy Scouts (14+) and Venturers will find challenging opportunities at Hanna Venture Base.

1041 acre camp which surrounds Crystal Lake is located 8 miles north of Rhinelander.  Long-Term Summer Camp highlighted by High Adventure, Ecology, Conservation, Scout Skills, Handicraft, Field Sports, and Waterfront; Five cabins available for Winter camping highlighted by Cross Country Skiing.


Phillips Scout Camp

Rhinelander, WI  54501



Phillips Scout Camp is dedicated to our youth for the primary purpose of Scout camping. It is available to all youth or civic organizations dedicated to or promoting youth activities, subject to the rules and regulations of the facility. The camp is available for short-term camping and training. (NOTE: This is NOT “Camp Phillips”, run by the Chippewa Valley Council, outside Haugen, WI. …See L. E. Phillips Scout Reservation, below.)

Phillips Scout Camp offers a sports field, horseshoe pits, nature hiking and two main campfire areas. In addition to the cabins, campsites are available, including an island site ideal for primitive camping. There is a flagpole and fire pits on the island.


Flambeau Canoe Base

Phillips, WI  54555


Nestled deep in the north wood’s of Wisconsin, just a few miles west of Phillips, Wisconsin, is the Samoset Council’s, 150 acre Flambeau Canoe Base. Located on the south fork of the Flambeau River, this facility has miles of biking and hiking trails, with over 20 individual patrol camp sites, plus several troop camp sites, two modern outdoor latrines, a covered shelter, and a tiered camp fire area.



Bay Lakes Council, BSA

Center for Scouting ·

2555 Northern Road ·  Appleton, WI 54914
PO BOX 267 ·  Appleton, WI  54912-0267
Phone: (920) 734-5705 · Fax: (920) 734-1991  http://www.baylakesbsa.org/


Bear Paw Scout Camp

P.O. Box 128

Mountain, WI  54149

(715) 276-6167


325 acres of wilderness situated in the middle of Nicolet National Forest surrounding Bear Paw Lake near Mountain, Wisconsin. Campers have unlimited opportunities to hike, mountain bike, canoe, sail, swim, and enjoy nature at its finest! Additional programs offered are designed to help each Scout toward Eagle rank. The four winter camping facilities are filled to capacity during the winter season as snowshoe activities are featured. www.bpsc.org.


Camp Twin Lakes

N7104 Cty. Road K,

Waupaca, WI  54981
Phone:  (715) 258-9697


                    425 acres of woods and meadowland. It has three lakes that are good for swimming, boating, canoeing, and fishing. During spring, summer, fall seasons there are 16 campsites for camping. The sites range from improved sites for group camping to leave-no-trace sites that are ideal for backpacking. Some of the campsites are Family campsites for registered Scouters and family.  Camp Twin Lakes has three winter buildings that can be used for your winter outings. Two of the buildings have 24 person sleeping cap. One is 18 person sleeping cap.


Camp Maywood Wilderness 

W11299 Buttercup Drive
Hancock, WI  54943
Phone:  (715) 249-5445


200 acre camp located 8 miles west of Wautoma.  Wilderness summer camping with weeks set aside for Junior Leader Training and an Eagle Scout camp.  One cabin that holds 34 persons for winter camping.


Cub Scout World, Camp Rokilio 

14404 Rokilio Rd
Kiel, WI 53042
Phone:  (920) 894-2594


                  213 beautiful acres of hilly terrain with tall timber located in the Kettle Moraine seven miles east of Kiel, Wisconsin. The camp features six program theme buildings. Cub Scout World, Camp Rokilio offers waterfront activities in Cedar Lake, BB guns and archery ranges, and a great natural bog conducive to nature hikes and environmental studies.


Gardner Dam Scout Camp 

N2992 Gardner Dam Rd.
White Lake, WI 54491
Phone:  (715) 882-2941


400 acres of pristine nature along the banks of the Wild Wolf River in Langlade County. This camp features white water kayaking, a climbing tower, canoeing, 75 miles of mountain biking trails, and a special variable menu for patrol cooking to challenge all participants. Cross-country skiing is a very popular weekend activity. The camp is often used by college ecology classes. www.gardnerdam.org.


Jax Camp 

Sturgeon Bay, WI 

Reservations: Center for Scouting at 920-734-5705

Rustic wooded area located just northeast of Sturgeon Bay. There are several large open areas for camping; male/female pit toilets; running well with drinking water; campfire ring; and three picnic tables. The camp is located near great biking trails, State Parks, and all the Door Country attractions.


Chippewa Valley Council, BSA

710 S. Hastings Way

Eau Claire, WI  54701

(715) 832-6671  http://www.bsa-cvc.org/


L. E. Phillips Scout Reservation

Cub World

Camp Phillips

High Adventure

2900 16th Street
PO Box 37, Haugen, WI 54841-0037
Phone: 715-234-7723
Fax: 715-234-1147


1450 magnificent acres with 5 clear lakes. Long-Term Summer Camp highlighted by a high adventure program for 3 days -2 weeks for canoeing, backpacking, rock climbing/rappelling, and island adventures.  Three cabins each hold 25-35 persons for winter camping.

Cub World participants will sleep in the comfort of Fort Rice, Indian Lodges(tipis), or if desired, tents. Boy Scout Camp Program highlights include aquatics, boating, C.O.P.E., ecology and conservation, handicraft, personal development merit badges, scoutcraft and shooting sports. Nationally accredited High Adventure Base has evolved to provide extraordinary opportunities for older Scouts, including river and BWCAW canoeing, biking, backpacking and climbing.


Hiawathaland Council, BSA   (Note, as of July 1, 2009, Hiawathaland moves back to Area 2 - Michigan)

2210 US 41 South

Marquette, MI  49855

(906) 249-1461  http://www.upscouting.org/


Camp Hiawatha 

PO BOX 118
Chatham, MI 49816

(906) 387-2714


800 acres and encircles Bunting Lake, a 60 acre lake in the middle of Hiawathaland National Forest in the heart of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Eight large, developed campsites are available, each with their own flush toilets and sinks, water supply, fire ring, flag pole and 2-6 permanent cooking/dining shelters. A central shower house is also available. The Camp Service Building contains the leaders lounge and administration offices, quartermaster, commissary, and trading post. Adjacent to this is the parade field and the Doc Jewel Pavilion. The Health Lodge is located near the lake. Youth staff is housed nearby in recently built cabins. Safely tucked in the hills is the newly built shooting sports facility.


Gateway Area Council, BSA

2600 Quarry Road

La Crosse, WI  54601-3997

(608) 784-4040  http://www.gatewayareacouncil.org/


Camp Decorah

W7544 Council Bay Road

Holmen, WI  54636

(608) 526-6418


333 acre camp available for both long and short term camping.

10 troop sites and dining hall cooking available for use. Program areas include Swimming, Boating, Riflery, Archery, Handicraft, Scoutcraft, Nature, and High Adventure. See Camp Decorah elsewhere in this document.



Hoffman Park

W7544 Council Bay Road

Black River Falls, WI 



20 acre camp available for short term camping.  No improvements, pack it in, pack it out. Area well suited to wilderness survival and rappelling.  See Hoffman Park elsewhere in this document.







Gamehaven Council, BSA   (Note: as of July 1, 2009, Gamehaven returns to Section C1B)

1124   11 ½ Street SE

Rochester, MN  55904



507-287-1413 Fax    http://www.gamehavenbsa.org/


Gamehaven Scout Reservation (summer: Cub camping; Off Season: all Scouting units)

5015 Simpson Rd SE  (aka County Rd 1)
Rochester, MN  55904

507-287-1517 or 287-1516


Gamehaven Scout Reservation is a great place to enjoy off season camping activities. Think about using the camp for pack meetings, Arrow of Light and advancement ceremonies, weekend getaways, a hike on the Gitche Gumee trail, or a place to tackle a few of your advancement requirements. Gamehaven Scout Reservation is home to a wonderfully challenging obstacle course, nature trails, a 3.8 mile Gitche Gumee trail and nice picnic area. There is no charge for these areas when you are using the camp. Please feel free to call Marlowe Bennett at the Gamehaven Council Service Center at (507) 287-1410.




Winnebago Council, BSA   (Note: as of July 1, 2009, Winnebago moves to Section C1B)

2929 Airport Blvd

Waterloo, IA 50703



319-234-0153 Fax   http://www.winnebagobsa.org/


Camp Ingawanis    http://www.winnebagobsa.org/ingawanis/index.asp

2482 Grand Ave
Waverly, IA  50677



Located near Waverly, Iowa, Camp Ingawanis is home to tent camping, swimming, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, shooting sports, horseback riding, mountain biking, a C.O.P.E. course and more.  Wooded rolling hills and winding trails make Camp Ingawanis a fun and challenging place to hike.



Winnebago Scout Reservation  (summer: Cub/Family camping)

1654 Glass Place
Marble Rock, IA  50653



Located just outside of Marble Rock, Iowa, WSR (Winnebago Scout Reservation) offers swimming, hiking, camping, shooting sports, BMX bikes, pedal derby cars, and large group activity areas. Camp sites range from primitive to comfortable cabins. Many campsites offer theme-based camping like the Hobbit houses.

Central Region - Area One Section A - Wisconsin  Scout Camps


Central Region - Area One - Section C1A  Scout Camps



Northern Star Council - BSA

West Office

East Office

5300 Glenwood Avenue
Golden Valley, MN 55422
763-231-7202 (fax) 

393 Marshall Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55102
763-231-7202 (fax)


Tomahawk Scout Reservation 

N1910 Scout Road

Birchwood, WI 54817

715-354-3841 / Fax: 715-354-3497


Over 2,500 acres of woodland area and over eight miles of shoreline. Tomahawk Scout Reservation is located on Long Lake in north-western Wisconsin, 20 miles north of Rice Lake and offers summer Boy Scout and Webelos resident camps, and high adventure trips as well as the Snow Base Winter Camp.

Forty campsites within three Boy Scout sub-camps (Chippewa, Sioux and White Pine); Webelos and parents attend Navajo camp.  Campsites at Tomahawk are pristine, wooded and well-spaced, with over 90% of the sites sharing waterfront on some body of water. 




Central Region – Area Three - Wisconsin Scout Camps



Southeast Wisconsin Council, BSA

2319 Northwestern Avenue

Racine, WI 53404-2595

(262) 632-1655

(800) 773-1655

Fax: (262) 632-3596  http://www.sewisbsa.com/



R. S. Lyle Scout Reservation

N10571 Clear Lake Road
Elcho, WI  54428


640 acre camp available for long term camping.  12 troop sites for use with patrol cooking.  This fun-filled summer camp program also hosts the Webelos Long-Term program. It includes activities at the waterfront, scout-craft area, shooting sports, and nature area along with opportunities to brave the rapids of the Wolf River during an exciting canoe or tube trip.

This wilderness camp provides an excellent chance for scouts to learn or polish the basic skills of outdoor camping.




3363 Dyer Lake Road
Burlington, WI  53105
(262) 539-2774


200 acre camp available for short term camping.  7 troop sites with dining hall or patrol cooking. Tent camping, cabin camping, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing. Indoor facilities available for rent include 4 cabins with capacities that range from 20 to 32 individuals. In addition, the camp has a dining hall, with full kitchen, that can seat up to 200 persons.




Potawatomi Area Council, BSA

Harkrider Service Center

N12 W24498 Bluemound Road

P.O. Box 528

Waukesha, WI  53187

(262) 544-4881  http://www.pacbsa.org/



Camp Long Lake

N4350 Boy Scout Rd
Saint Cloud, WI 53079

(920) 533-8258


240 acre camp available for both long and short term camping in the Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest. 12 troop sites and dining hall cooking available for use.  Program areas include Swimming, Boating, Riflery, Shotgun, Archery, Nature, Scoutcraft, and Handicraft.



Glacier’s Edge Council, BSA

Madison Scout Service Center
34 Schroeder Court
Madison, WI 53711-6222
(608) 273-1005
(800) 213-1418
FAX (608) 273-8686  http://www.glaciersedge.org/

Janesville Scout Service Center
2300 East Racine Street
Janesville, WI 53545-4340
(608) 756-4669
(888) 388-0626
FAX (608) 756-4676


Camp Indian Trails

5801 North River Road

Janesville, WI  53545


200 acres of pristine woodlands about seven miles northwest of Janesville along the Rock River.Cub Scout Day Camp, Boy Scout Long Term Camp, unit camping and family camping.


Olympic sized swimming pool, separate changing rooms, huge dining hall and fall-out shelter that seats 400+, BB gun and Archery range for Cub Scouts, 25 foot challenging Cub Scout climbing wall, Handicraft Center, Nature Center, Scout skills and pioneering Center, Waterfront Activities Center, Boy Scout rifle range, Boy Scout archery range, 50 foot high adventure climbing tower, campsites for up to 800 people, wood platform wall tents for long term camp, modern shower facilities, outdoor classroom center, outdoor fire and ceremonies bowls, outdoor chapel, hiking trails, observation tower, four log cabins and two wood frame cabins for Fall, Winter and Spring cabin camping.


Ed Bryant Scout Reservation

N6960 County Hwy G

Mauston, WI  53948

(608) 847-7778)



214 acre camp available for both long and short term camping.

12 troop sites for use with patrol or Dining Hall cooking. Program areas include Swimming, Boating, Horseback Riding, Riflery, Shotgun, Archery, Handicraft, Scout Skills, and High Adventure.



Woodman Center for Camping and Education


Richland Center, WI




532.5 acres Woodman Center is situated in a valley, with wooded hills and high bluffs, rolling pasture land and a 4-acre man-made lake located in the center of the main valley. The surrounding hills and ridges feature hiking trails and lots of area for wilderness camping.  In addition Scout units use the Woodman Center for year around overnight camping. The Center is hosts youth and adult weekend training programs and shakedown weekends in preparation for high adventure trips.



Milwaukee County Council, BSA

330 5. 84th Street

Milwaukee, WI  53214-1468

(414) 744-1776

Fax: (414) 774-1799  http://www.milwaukeeboyscouts.org/


Indian Mound Scout Reservation
37612 Indian Mound Rd.-

Oconomowoc, WI

(262) 567-6229


310 acre camp available for both long and short term camping. Indian Mound Scout Reservation is named after an effigy mound built by the Hopewell Culture Native Americans about 1,000 years ago in the shape of a lizard or turtle. Indian Mound (or IMR) has been in continuous operation since 1917 and is one of the oldest Scout camps in the country. The "Reservation" consists of two camps: Camp Doerr and Camp Lazynski.

Camp Doerr is 80+ acres nestled against Silver Lake and features a fully equipped dining hall, athletic field, archery and rifle ranges, boating and swimming area, basketball court, mini golf course, campsites, shower and restroom facilities, and heated cabins with a combined capacity of 280 beds.

Camp Lazynski is 200+ acres of undeveloped woods, fields and ponds and features a C.O.P.E. (ropes) course, three adirondack shelters, an activity center, and multiple sites.



Le Feber Northwoods Camp

…Camp Baird

…Camp Demmer

…Camp Neidhofer

Hardwood Lake –

Laona, WI
(715) 674-2054


Nearly 1,200 acres of pristine northern Wisconsin wilderness just bursting with fun and adventure. Nestled in the midst of the Nicolet National Forest, your Scouts will have access to hundreds of miles of hiking, biking, and canoeing. From archery to woodcarving, all of your favorite programs and merit badges are here. And so are a lot more: archaeology, bike treks, blacksmithing, climbing/rappelling, fly fishing, golf, horseback riding, metal working, rifle & shotgun shooting, tomahawk throwing, whitewater rafting, and windsurfing are some of the many additional opportunities beckoning your Scouts.


Central Region – Other Wisconsin Scout Camps


Blackhawk Area Council, BSA
1800 7th Ave.
PO Box 4085, Rockford, IL 61110-4085

Phone: 815-397-0210

Fax number: 815-397-7306  http://www.blackhawkscouting.org/


Camp Lowden

4418 S. Scout Rd.
Oregon, IL 61061


Located seven miles south of Oregon, Illinois, Camp Lowden is on 250 acres of wooded property surrounded by the Lowden-Miller State Forest. Camp Lowden was established in 1940 on the estate of former Illinois Governor Frank Lowden;


Canyon Camp

Stockton, IL


Canyon Camp is nestled in a canyon between Stockton and Apple River, IL. The camp offers programs for the first year camper which get them started along the right Scouting trail.  There is a "First Class Emphasis" program for those Scouts working on advancement in rank. And, for the "experienced" Scouts and Scouters, there is the Operation O.W.L. program which offers high adventure experiences such as river canoe trips, rappelling, and woodsman camping.  Venture Scouting Program

During the "off" season, Canyon Camp is utilized by many for Troop Campouts.  It is home to deer, turkeys, raccoons and more.  The hills offer wonderful sledding opportunities during the winter.


Northeast Illinois Council, BSA
2745 Skokie Valley Road
Highland Park, Illinois


fax: 847-433-2036  http://www.neic.org/


Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan Scout Reservation 

W6500 Spring Lake Rd

Pearson, Wisconsin  54462




Located 25 miles northeast of Antigo, Wisconsin, Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan Scout Reservation includes 1,560 acres of beautiful forest, two lakes and a natural creek. On this property our Council operates two full service camps, plus a wilderness camp, a horse ranch and a family camp. During the summer months, Boy Scouts and Venturers attend for one or two weeks, plus Cub Scouts and their families have the opportunity to attend " Fun with Son" or Akela Camp.


Central Region - Area Two - Scout Camps


Hiawathaland Council, BSA

2210 US 41 South

Marquette, MI  49855

(906) 249-1461  http://www.upscouting.org/


Camp Hiawatha 

PO BOX 118
Chatham, MI 49816

(906) 387-2714


800 acres and encircles Bunting Lake, a 60 acre lake in the middle of Hiawathaland National Forest in the heart of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Eight large, developed campsites are available, each with their own flush toilets and sinks, water supply, fire ring, flag pole and 2-6 permanent cooking/dining shelters. A central shower house is also available. The Camp Service Building contains the leaders lounge and administration offices, quartermaster, commissary, and trading post. Adjacent to this is the parade field and the Doc Jewel Pavilion. The Health Lodge is located near the lake. Youth staff is housed nearby in recently built cabins. Safely tucked in the hills is the newly built shooting sports facility.


Camp Decorah

Camp Decorah is the resident camping facility for the Gateway Area Council. Located among the wooded sand hills on 300 acres that overlook the Black River, the camp provides a wilderness atmosphere and environment which is easily accessible in western Wisconsin.  The main entrance to the camp is on Council Bay Road, which is located seven miles north of Holmen, WI and four miles south of Galesville, WI.  Reservations are on a first come-first serve basis; Summer campsite reservations are taken at the end of that same camp week in the prior year; off-season campsite and building reservations are opened up on September 1st.  During summer camp, all meals are served family style in the air conditioned dining hall, or prepared in the campsites by special arrangements.  High Adventure programs include C.O.P.E. and special programs for older Scouts.  Troops arrive on Sunday afternoon and depart Friday night.  Friday night is Parent's Night when families and friends are invited to camp to enjoy the evening’s festivities.  Thursday includes Order of the Arrow fellowship.  There are four cabins available for winter camping activities, ranging from 16 to 40 bunks, plus other buildings for training, ceremonies, or unit programs.  Camp Decorah actually receives more than 75% of its total youth participants during the “off-season”.  A unit campsite reservation fee for summer camp is $100.00 and must be paid to hold the slot.



Hoffman Park

Black River Falls

Gateway Area Council, BSA


The camp is located exactly 8.3 miles from county D east of Melrose on Nichols Road or approximately 6 miles southwest of Black River Falls.  This is a 7 to 8 acre former roadside park on Nichols Road near Irving.


Hoffman Pioneer Camp is situated on a high bluff above the Black River.  It is a primitive camp with no facilities at this time.  Water must be brought in and you must dig your own latrine.  There are no picnic tables.  Even with these drawbacks, Hoffman is a desirable spot to camp because of the area where it is located.  There are two excellent campsites for either patrol camping or suitable for a small troop in each.  In addition, there is a canyon where boys can explore or play games.  With adequate leadership and equipment, there is an excellent cliff for rappelling.


This camp came to be due to the generosity of the Hoffman family of Black River Falls.  Initially they gave the property to the State Highway Department in memory of their father who was killed building Highway 54 near this spot.  Later, when the highway was moved to its present location, the State offered the land back to the Hoffman heirs.  They declined the property with the recommendation that the property be donated to the Gateway Area Council, BSA for their use as a camp.


While camped at Hoffman, many activities are possible.  Nature study will yield many different plants, shrubs and trees.  Most obvious are the many large white pine trees reminiscent of the forests of the 1840's and 50s.  Edible plants such as butternut trees, raspberries, blackberries and Solomon's Seal are easily found.  In the spring, wildflowers such as blood root, dutchmen1s breeches, trillium and violets are quite common.  Later on Jack-in-the-Pulpit and wild geraniums can be found.  Many different birds may be seen or heard such as Blue Jays, Cardinals, Song Sparrows, Woodpeckers and after dark, Barred Owls.


The area at the mouth of the canyon is a good fishing spot -for -musky and bass.





1.  Follow proper camping procedures including obtaining a tour permit.

2.  Clean up the entire camping area as a service project.    

3.  Use extreme caution at the Bluff area along the river – Scouts and leaders could have accidents.

4. NO swimming is allowed unless all procedures for the "Safe Swim Defense" are followed.


National Camping Award

This award recognizes troops that go camping during the year. Recognition is for the number of camping days and nights logged on a yearly basis or on a cumulative basis.


Yearly awards are the

unit award, 10 days and nights;

bronze award, 20 days and nights;

silver award, 30 days and nights; and

gold award, 50 days and nights.


Cumulative awards are the

unit award, 100 days and nights;

bronze award, 250 days and nights;

silver award, 500 days and nights; and

gold award, 1,000 days and nights.


The 50-Miler Award

The primary objective of the 50-Miler Award program is to stimulate Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, and Venturer interest in the ideals of the movement and to promote activity that will result in personal fitness, self-reliance, knowledge of wood lore, and a practical understanding of conservation.

Chartered unit participation is most desirable; however, provisional groups are eligible. This award does not apply if any other is available for a trip.

The Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or Venturer unit or provisional group must follow these rules for a 50-Miler trip:

According to the camping and conservation service, horse and bicycle are (and "have always been") acceptable modes of travel for the fifty-miler award(particularly since the new version of the patch shows a bike wheel and horseshoe).

50miler.gif (3806 bytes)The 50 Miler Award is available as a Cloth or Leather Patch or a Decal. 
It is NOT worn on the Uniform, but may be attached to equipment, jackets, backpacks, patch vests or blankets, etc.

The patch shown at the top of the page is the current version. 

The old version, still in widespread use is shown nearby…


The 50-Miler Award is presented to each qualifying individual for satisfactory participation in an approved trip. In order to qualify for the award the group of which the individual is a member must fulfill all of the following requirements.

  1. Make complete and satisfactory plans for the trip, including the possibilities of advancement.
  2. Cover the trail or canoe or boat route of not less than 50 consecutive miles; take a minimum of 5 consecutive days to complete the trip without the aid of motors. (In some areas pack animals may be used.)
  3. During the time on the trail or waterway, complete a minimum of 10 hours each of group work on projects to improve the trail, springs, campsite, portage or area. If after checking with recognized authorities, it is not possible to complete 10 hours each of group work on the trail, a similar project may be done in the unit's home area (There should be no unauthorized cutting of brush or timber.)
  4. Unit or tour leader must then file a 50-Miler Award application with the local council service center. This application gives additional details about planning the trip.

centennial.jpgCentennial Quality Awards Program

The Centennial Quality Awards program is designed to recognize units, districts, councils, areas, and regions in achieving excellence in providing a quality program to a growing youth population in America at all levels of the Boy Scouts of America.

Learn more about the new Centennial Quality Awards program that replaces the current Quality Awards program in 2007 through 2010; why it was changed; how your council, district and unit should incorporate the new requirements into your program; copies of the forms and interpretations of the requirements; and the implementation schedule.

Unit Implementation (No. 14-190-09)

Learn about how your unit can qualify for the new award for 2007.

Frequently Asked Questions

Consult this page to view answers to common questions about the Centennial Quality Awards program.


Unit Role

1. Become trained in how to implement the Centennial Quality Awards program as a part of your

unit’s program.

2. Develop a plan of action that ensures your unit will earn the Centennial Quality Award for each year 2007 through 2010.

3. Recognize all youth members with the recognitions for the achievement of the award.

4. Implement the national parent initiative in your unit to assist in involving parents in the program

at the unit level.

5. Improve the quality of the program in your unit.


2009 Centennial Quality Unit Award Commitment

“To improve the QUALITY of program in every unit in America!”

Unit Type ____________________ Unit Number ______  District __________________________________

Chartered Organization ____________________________________________________________________

We, the youth and leaders, are committed to achieving the requirements for the 2009 Centennial Quality Award:

1. We will have ___ percent of our direct contact leaders complete Basic Leader Training for their position, including Youth Protection Training.               ______ Last year’s percent ______ This year’s percent

2. We will provide excellent programs to achieve our goal of ______ percent youth retention, recharter on time and will recruit ______ new youth.            ______ percent retained, ______ number new youth, and ______ rechartered on time

3. In the spirit of the National Parent Initiative, we will recruit ______ new parents/adults to be active.

______ Actual number of new adults

4. We will have ____ percent of our youth earn advancement awards.

Percent advanced/earned ______ last year and ______ this year

5. We will have ____ percent of our youth participate in at least _____ outdoor experiences or group activities during the year.                           ______ percent last year ______ percent this year

6. We will conduct annual program planning and will provide the financial resources to deliver a quality program to our members.                                      ____ Yes ____ No

In support of a quality program experience, we confirm:

• We received ______ visits from our unit commissioner this past year.

• We supported the council by participating in Friends of Scouting and the annual product sale. ____ Yes ____ No

Qualified for 2009: ____ Yes ____ No (Unit may qualify for the Centennial Quality Unit Award after October 31 in 2009.)

Reviewed and accepted by:




_________________________                      __________________________                   ________________

Unit leader                                          Unit commissioner                              District executive

Cub Scout Outdoor Awards

National Summertime Pack Award

A pack can qualify for the National Summertime Pack Award certificate and streamer by planning and conducting three pack activities—one each in June, July, and August. This award can be an incentive for greater attendance at your summer pack activities.

Qualifying packs receive a colorful streamer for their pack flag. Dens with an average attendance of at least half their members at the three summer pack events will be eligible for a colorful den participation ribbon. Boys who participate in all three pack events are eligible to receive the National Summertime Pack Award pin, which they can wear on the right pocket flap of their uniform.

The purpose of the National Summertime Pack Award is to encourage packs to provide a year-round program by continuing to meet during the time periods when school is out of session for several weeks or months. If a pack is in a "year-round school" (or is part of a home-school association), the pack could earn the Summertime Pack Award by having a special pack activity during those breaks.

An application for the National Summertime Pack Award may be downloaded from the Cub Scout forms page.

National Den Award

The National Den Award recognizes dens that conduct a quality, year-round program. Service projects, Cub Scout Academics and Sports, field trips, character development, and Cub Scout camping are areas that are emphasized. Dens earn the award as a team, not as individual den members. The recognition is a ribbon for the den flag or den doodle.

To earn the National Den Award, a Cub Scout den must

  1. Have at least 50 percent of the den's Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, or Webelos Scouts attend two den meetings and one pack meeting or activity each month of the year.
  2. Complete six of the following during the year:
    1. Use the denner system within the den.
    2. In a Tiger Cub den, use shared leadership and rotate the boy/adult host team.
    3. Have 50 percent of the den go on three field trips per year. A field trip may be used in place of a den meeting.
    4. As a den, attend a Cub Scout day camp, Cub Scout or Webelos Scout resident camp, or a council family camping event with at least 50 percent of the den membership.
    5. Conduct three den projects or activities leading to a Character Connections discussion.
    6. As a den, participate in at least one of the Cub Scout Sports programs.
    7. As a den, participate in at least one of the Cub Scout Academics programs.
    8. Have 50 percent of the den participate in a den conservation/resource project.
    9. Have 50 percent of the den participate in at least one den service project.

Once the requirements are completed as stated, the signed National Den Award application is sent to the local council service center where the ribbon can be obtained.

An application for the National Den Award may be downloaded from the Cub Scout forms page.

Tour Permits

Tour permits are an essential part of the safe Scout outing planning process.

The Local Tour Permit is used for trips of less than 500 miles and lets the local council know where your trip will be taking place. It describes activity training standards required for activities such as swimming, boating, or climbing. It explains the requirements for transportation and leadership training. It is necessary for any unit gathering beyond your normal meeting place.

The tour leader signs the application, indicating that he or she has read the Guide to Safe Scouting.

The Local Tour Permit includes spaces for officials at facilities visited to sign indicating that cooperation and conduct were satisfactory, as well as vehicle insurance section to be completed for each vehicle used. There is a section outlining transportation requirements (required speeds and licensing). Lastly, the tour permit includes "Our Pledge of Performance handout," which covers best practices for a Scout outing.

When the Local Tour Permit is completed, send it to your local council office for approval. Allow the office about two weeks for approval.

The National Tour Permit is used for trips 500 miles or more (one-way). It is similar to the Local Tour Permit in that it is sent to your local council and then to the BSA regional office for approval, so leave adequate lead time—at least a month—in submitting the application.

The National Tour Permit has space for the following information.

The National Tour Permit describes BSA requirements for health, safety, aquatics, climbing/rappelling, sanitation, wilderness use, and Youth Protection training. The group leader is required to have a copy of the Guide to Safe Scouting and to sign that it has been read.

Both the Local and National Tour Permits are valuable planning and safety tools. The Local Tour Permit is an essential and valuable document for planning a Scout outing. Every adult leader and Scout should have a copy of this permit to study so that the obligations undertaken are well understood. Each of these permits refers to other BSA documents that discuss safety training:




Where to go… Camping


Camping Areas within Gateway Area Council

See also… Camp Decorah, Hoffman Park, or Wisconsin Scout Camps



Bluebird Springs Recreation Area

La Crosse

Recreation & Attractions: Open year round
Accommodations: 4/15 - 10/15

Web Site    Driving Directions    Map





Bluebird Springs Recreation Area

N2833 Smith Valley Rd
La Crosse, WI, 54601

Voice: 608-781-2267

Web Site: http://www.wisconsincampgrounds.com/cgi-bin/directory.pl?ID=517

 Driving Directions    Map   Lat./Lon.: N43° 49.488'   W91° 9.99'   

Days of Operation
Recreation & Attractions availability dates:    Open year round
Accommodations availability dates:    4/15 - 10/15

Interest Categories
Accommodations, Campgrounds, Private Campgrounds, Recreation & Attractions, Cross Country Skiing, Cross Country Ski Trails

Amenities and Services
General Amenities: Directions from Nearest Town/Intersection: From junction of I-90 & Hwy 16 (exit 5), west 2 miles on Hwy 16 to B, east 1.25 miles to Smith Valley Rd., south 3 miles.,
Accommodations: On-Site Facilities & Services: Game Room, On-Site Swimming Facilities: Outdoor Pool, Other On-Site Recreation & Features: Playground, Transportation Corridor: I-90,
Campgrounds: Electric Hookups Available at Campsites, 50 amp Hookups Available at Campsites, Flush Toilets, Hot Showers in Campground, Pull-Through Sites Available, Sanitary Dump Station Available
Cross Country Ski Trails: Ski Trails Available: Wooded/Tracked/Groomed/Flat/Hilly, X-C Ski Amenities: Rentals/Restaurant/Snack Bar/Shelter/Toilets/Water



Neshonoc Lakeside Campground

N5334 Neshonoc Rd
West Salem, WI 54669
(608) 786-1792


Get directions - More information

Recreational Facilities

·  Heated pools, kiddie pool, adult hot tub

·  Boat & Canoe Rentals

·  2 Large Playgrounds

·  Video game room

·  Sand Volleyball Court

·  Sandy Beach

·  Dock & Ramp

·  Fishing

·  Horseshoes

·  Basketball Court





·  Exceptionally manicured grounds

·  Large grassy sites for tents & trailers

·  20/30/50 amp electric, water & sewer hookups

·  Big Rig pull-thru sites

·  Picnic tables & fire rings

·  Black top roads thru-out

·  Immaculate restrooms & laundry

·  Dump stations and honey wagon service

·  Convenience store

·  L.P. gas refills


Goose Island Campground

W6488 County Rd GI
Stoddard, WI, 54658



Recreation & Attractions: Open year round
Accommodations: 4/15 - 10/15

E-Mail    Web Site   



Over 400 camp sites, camp store, fishing, waterfowl hunting, bait, beach, playground and much more.

Located just south of La Crosse on Hwy 35 it is on the banks of the Mississippi River.  With 400 sites, camp store, boating and canoeing, beach, hiking trails, water, and free wood.  There is a special area for scout camping. 

This 710 acre park is leased from the Corps of Engineers and is surrounded by hundreds of additional acres of federal wildlife refuge. Much of the park is native woodland and marsh located on an Island about three miles south of the City of La Crosse. The improvements and amenities in the park include a 400-site campground, the largest County campground in the state, with water and electrically equipped sites for camper trailers and motor homes and primitive sites for tent camping. There are three sanitary dump stations for the vehicular camper units, and a total of fourteen showers divided among three buildings which also include flush toilets, in the camping area. There is a vault toilet in the campground, as well as vault toilets at each of the five shelters, group camp, and at Hunters Point boat launch. There are over 200 acres devoted to picnic sites and field games, with five picnic shelters as well as outdoor grills and tables. The park has an artesian well and five hand pumps in the picnic areas, plus piped water at the rest room areas in the campground. In addition to the family camping area, there is a group camp area for scouts, church groups and similar organizations who wish to camp together and conduct group activities that might be disruptive in the public camping area.


There are three boat launch areas within the park, including a courtesy pier where kayaks and canoes can be rented from a concessionaire. There is a camp store with a game room at this site that is well stocked with camping supplies, groceries, soda, ice cream, bait, and gas. Hunters Point has a parking lot for approximately 20 vehicles and boat trailers, and has a double-wide ramp, and a single width ramp. There are two double vault toilets at this location. The Upper Goose Island Ramp has a paved access ramp and parking for about ten vehicles and trailers. The west Goose Island Ramp has a double wide paved ramp and parking for about 25 vehicles and trailers.


There are five picnic shelters, available for group picnics by reservation, and many open air tables and grills for individuals. There are five grass covered volleyball areas, one beach volleyball court, one basketball court and public mini-golf. There is playground equipment at five sites. New playground equipment was added to the campground and shelter area in 2003. The beach is open to all park users, not just campers. The camping area includes a water equipped, insect resistant, fish cleaning shelter, and an activity shelter. There are three marked nature trail areas, as well as many acres of bottomland hardwoods and marsh. A six-mile canoe trail is based from the Hunter’s Point launch area.



Veterans Memorial Campground and Park

N4668 County Road VP
West Salem, WI, 54669

West Salem


E-Mail    Web Site    Driving Directions    Map


Family camping on the banks of the La Crosse River. Shaded, grassy sites; directly on State Bike Trail; easy access from I-90.

Just outside of West Salem along Hwy 16, it sits on the La Crosse River.  It has 100+ sites, camp store, fishing, hiking trails, firewood, and three ball diamonds.  FOR INFORMATION:  Chamber of Commerce,  712 Main St. La Crosse, WI  54601 or Tourist Information Centers along 1-90.

This 232 acre park is located in the approximate geographic center of La Crosse County within the Town of Hamilton. Principal access is by way of STH 16 and is approximately 10 miles from the City of La Crosse and the park is adjacent to the Village of West Salem. Included within the park are approximately 3 1/2 miles of paved road, four shelter houses serving the picnic areas, and approximately 120 camping sites. The campground includes electrically equipped sites for trailers and motor homes, and an area for tent camping. The campground has a concessionaire operated camp store and a showers building equipped with hot and cold running water and flush toilets. There are five vault toilets available to the four picnic shelters and other users of the park. Two artesian wells and two hand pumps, in addition to the spigots at the shower house, provide water to the park users. Constructed recreational facilities include three ball diamonds, four grass volleyball courts, one sand court in the camping area, canoe landing on the La Crosse River, a 1/2 mile paved leg to the La Crosse River State Trail and an extension to a snowmobile trail. There is a lagoon with a picturesque bridge providing a crossing for the park road. There are hiking trails and access to both the La Crosse River bottomland ecosystem and a scenic overlook. In addition, a trail at the front of the park connects the Village of West Salem to the park without utilizing State Highway 16.




East Fork Campground
910 Highway 54 East
Black River Falls, WI 54615

715-284-1400  http://wiparks.net

Organized groups of up to 500 reservations required.  It has boating, fishing, hiking and drinking water.  There is a shelter house and a fee is required.  FOR INFORMATION:  Black River Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, Inc., 336 N Water St., Black River Falls, WI 54615 or (715) 284-4658.

East Fork is your base camp for exploring the north side of the Black River State Forest. The timber wolf has returned to the forests of the Black River in Jackson County. So should you, especially with a campground as nice as East Fork, set on the banks of East Fork Black River. From here, you can explore some 67,000 acres of the Black River State Forest, which offers everything from excellent canoeing and fishing to hiking and wildlife-watching. The timber wolf was extirpated from Wisconsin in the late 1950s, about when Black River State Forest was established. Since then, things have really looked up for both the timber wolf and the state forest. The wolves have returned. You may even hear the call of a pack of wolves roaming the Black from your campsite on the East Fork Black River.



La Pointe St.

Prairie du Chien, WI


Camp right on the Mississippi River.  Sights include electricity, water, flush toilets, and showers.  Located on the south edge of Prairie du Chien, WI. 

Accommodations: On-Site Watercraft & Fishing Services: Lake/River Access (Boat Ramp), Other On-Site Recreation & Features: Playground

Campgrounds: Electric Hookups Available at Campsites, Sewer Hookups Available at Campsites, Water Hookups Available at Campsites, Flush Toilets, Hot Showers in Campground, Sanitary Dump Station Available.



RR 1

Tomah, WI



Located north of Tomah, this camp has a private fish pond with free wood and hiking trails.



S190 Opal Rd
Ontario, WI 54651


Game Room/Laundry Facilities, Playground and 5 miles west of Wildcat Mountain State Park.  It has a private beach, fishing pond, and hiking in the Occooch Mtns.

Campgrounds: Electric Hookups Available at Campsites, Flush Toilets, Hot Showers in Campground, Pull-Through Sites Available, Sanitary Dump Station Available.



W16751 Powwow Ln
Galesville, WI 54630

(608) 582-2995

Located across the Black River from Camp Decorah, this camp has 130 sites, beach, recreation area, and bikes and canoes to rent. 

On-Site Facilities & Services: Game Room/Grocery/Supply Store

Campgrounds: Flush Toilets, Hot Showers in Campground, Pull-Through Sites Available, Sanitary Dump Station Available



Wildcat Mountain State Park

E13660 State Road 33
Ontario, WI, 54651
Fax: 608-337-4362


Recreation & Attractions: Open year round
Accommodations: Open year round

Web Site    Reservations   



Located on a ridge rising steeply above the Kickapoo River. The Park has hiking, horseback riding trails,naure trails, canoeing, trout fishing and cross-country ski trails. There is an observation platform overlooking the Kickapoo River. Camping includes a family camp, group camp and horse camp. Bike Trails nearby. Canoe Rentals nearby.



Black River State Forest

910 Hwy 54 East
Black River Falls, WI, 54615-9276

Black River Falls

Recreation & Attractions: Open year round
Accommodations: Open year round

Web Site    Reservations    Driving Directions    Map



Over 67,000 acres of pine and oak forest with two forks of the Black River and high sandstone abutments. Permit required for backpacking. Hike, bike and ski.

How about island hopping on a mountain bike? The 300-foot-high glacial mounds strung out like a seven-mile-long necklace in the Black River State Forest seem like islands in a vast ocean of trees. From scenic overlooks on their peaks, you can look to the northeast where 10,000 years ago the bottled-up glacial meltwater of Lake Wisconsin once covered 1,800 square miles.



Crockett's Campground 

2884 N 28th Ave
Lyndon Station, WI, 53944

Lyndon Station

Open year round

E-Mail    Web Site   





Devil's Lake State Park

S5975 Park Rd.
Baraboo, WI, 53913-9299


Recreation & Attractions: Open year round
Accommodations: Open year round


Web Site    Reservations    Driving Directions    Map


Situated along the Ice Age Trail, 500-foot bluffs tower above a 360-acre lake. Spectacular scenery, a full range of recreational activities, and a full-time naturalist make this a very popular park. Nature programs are seasonal. Summer only features: hot showers, flush toilets, sanitary dump station, canoes available. Call park for pet rules. No gas motors on lake. 5 reservable shelters, call park for more info. No lifeguard on beach. Climbing/scuba at own risk. The Wisconsin River once flowed where Devils Lake now lies. In its last gasp, the continental glacier blocked both ends of the river's quartzite gorge with moraine. The clean, blue lake and rocky bluffs it left make Devils Lake one of the most scenic spots in the state, and a great place to mountain bike.



Elroy Campground

State Road 71
Elroy, WI, 53929


Open year round


Web Site   


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources maintains 2 primitive campgrounds for the Elroy-Sparta Trail - one near Elroy and one near Sparta. These are both self-registering with walk-in campsites.


Jellystone Park Camp Resort & Three Bears Lodge

1500 Jellystone Park Drive
Warrens, WI, 54666


Open year round


E-Mail    Web Site    Driving Directions    Map

Outdoor Waterpark, Resort, cabins, camping, mini-golf, 2 heated swimming pools plus kiddie pool, swim 'n play beach, regulation basketball court, volleyball, fish pond, 400' water slides, restaurant, general store, outdoor theater, big screen in lodge area and much more. Activities for all ages. 50 pull through sites. New in 2006: 8,824 square foot Conference Center.


La Riviere Park

62036 Vineyard Coulee Road
Prairie du Chien, WI, 53821

Prairie du Chien

Recreation & Attractions: Open year round
Accommodations: Not specified


Web Site   


300 acre city park in its natural setting with native prairie, located on 62036 Vineyard Coulee Road southeast of Prairie du Chien. Provides hiking, nature, bird watching, cross country skiing, 50-60 miles of horse trails in park and ajoining trails, archery area, picnic area, shelter house and free horse camping and primitive camping. Operated by the Prairie du Chien Parks Department

Mindoro Park is located one mile West of the Village of Mindoro on CTH "D". Originally a 120 acre farm with a hilly woodlot, it is being transformed into a combination of wildlife habitat, nature study retreat and traditional park. There is a ballfield, playground, and plenty of picnic tables, but there also are 22,000 new pine trees, 10,000 walnut trees, two wildlife food plots and 1,500 shrubs. Eventually a trail system will meander through the entire area which will educate the user and make him aware of the ecological ties which bind us all to nature and the out-of-doors.


Nelson Park on the tip of French Island provides excellent access to Lake Onalaska. Its boat ramps and paved parking accommodate thousands of fishermen and sailboaters each season. The remainder of the park provides the setting for great picnics and the ballfield is often in use for league softball and tournaments. Plenty of shade and an excellent view of the lake keep "landlubbers and salts" alike coming back time after time.

(Owned by Corps of Engineers, maintained by Town of Campbell)

35 acres.  Fishing, picnicking, wildlife viewing Ball diamond, picnic tables with three shelters, portable toilets, swings, boat ramp, pavilion, wildlife viewing platform, shoreland access to Lake Onalaska


Brice Prairie Swarthout Park on CTH "ZB" near the North shore of Lake Onalaska offers privacy and a great location for a family or company picnic. Tennis, volleyball, playground equip­ment, plus a very nice shelter that can seat up to 8Q make this park a favorite of many. The upper Brice Prairie boat landing with good access to Lake Onalaska is just across the street.  Town of Onalaska.  9 acres. Picnicking, Large picnic shelter, tennis court, volleyball court, playground apparatus


Neshonoc Swarthout Park overlooks beautiful Lake Neshonoc, 1/2 mile North of the Village of West Salem on Hwy. 16.         Situated on a high bank over the lake it is the perfect place to catch a breeze, watch the water skiers and have a picnic at the wood and stone shelter located there.

Lake Neshonoc South County Park overlooks beautiful Lake Neshonoc, 1 mile West of the Village of West Salem on Hwy. 16.  This 60 acre tract is part of the larger La Crosse County owned land that was formerly used as a farm by the health care facility. There is currently 1/2 mile of lake front, 3/4 mile paved road, a boat launch ramp, pier/dock, and a parking area for approximately 24 vehicles with trailers. Most of this property is currently “undeveloped” with abandoned farm fields and meadows and some native hardwood cover.

Swimming, motor boating, canoeing, walking for pleasure, nature photography, nature study/bird watching, wildlife viewing, picnicking. 1/2 mile of lake shoreline access road, parking area, boat ramp, picnic tables.


Paved boat ramps are available for the water sports enthusiast.



More than 3,000 miles of streams and rivers in Wisconsin boast waterfalls, cascades, chutes, rapids, dalles, and gorges.  Concentrated in the northern section of the state, some of the most scenic falls are located along the south shore of Lake Superior, in parts of Florence and Marinette Counties and along the Wolf River.

Falls usually occur where streams flow steeply downward over hard rock ledges that have resisted erosion. The beauty of these falling waters attracts painters, photographers, and other artists, as well as sightseers.  Each waterfall has its own unique character and appeal.

Waterfalls located in state and local parks are easily accessible.  However, most falls are found in remote, wild areas, and require some diligence to find their secluded locations.  Caution is advised when exploring undeveloped areas, especially on slippery rocks above and below the falls.  While the exact number of falls in Wisconsin is not known, Wisconsin’s highest waterfalls include:

Big Manitou Falls – 165 Feet

Black River, Pattison State Park

Brownstone Falls – 30 Feet

Tyler Forks, Copper Falls State Park

Copper Falls – 29 Feet

Bad River, Copper Falls State Park

Gile Falls – 40 Feet

West Fork of Montral River, Gile


Morgan Falls – 70 Feet

Unnamed Morgan Creek tributary, 12 mi. west of Mellen

Saxon Falls – 78 Feet

Montreal River, 3.5 mi. north of Saxon

Superior Falls – 50 Feet

Montreal River, 5 mi. north of Saxon



Minnesota includes the Root River falls at Lanesboro.

Wisconsin/UP Michigan waterfalls.
Unique Natural Features


Nowhere is the evidence of continental glaciation better preserved than in Wisconsin. Many ridges, hills, gorges, lakes and ponds were formed as a result of the massive sheets of ice that covered much of the northern United States as recently as 12,000 years ago.  The Ice Age National Scientific Reserve (see Parks/Forests) was established in 1971 to preserve select glacial landforms and landscapes.  The Reserve, part of the National Park System, consists of nine units and is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Most features listed here are located in state and national parks and forests.

Brady’s Bluff Prairie – Perrot State Park – (608) 534-6409

Dry prairie situated on steep Mississippi River bluff rising 460 feet above river. Over 100 plant species including big and little bluestem, side-oats grama, northern dropseed, prairie clovers and rough blazing star. Hiking trail.  State natural Area.

Cathedral of the Pines – 3 mi. SW of Lakewood – (715) 276-6333

One of the few remaining stands of virgin pine in Wisconsin.  20 acre parcel in Nicolet National Forest.  Pine trees ranging from 200 to 400 years old.  Great blue heron rookery.

Cave Point County Park – 3 mi. E of Valmy – (920) 743-3636

20-foot-high limestone bluff along rocky Lake Michigan shoreline.  Assortment of shallow caves hollowed out by wave action.  Largest cave 40 feet deep.

Cave of the Mounds – 0.5 mi. E of Blue Mounds – (608) 437-3038

Guided tours through limestone caverns. Stalactites, stalagmites, colorful rock formations and underground pools  Lighted, paved walkways.

Chiwaukee Prairie – Kenosha – (no phone)

Large prairie featuring plant species native to both wet and high prairie habitats.  Series of sandy beach ridges (small ridges superimposed on large ones) paralleling Lake Michigan.  Varied colorful wildflowers.

Crex Sand Prairie – 7 mi. NE of Grantsburg – (715) 463-2899

Remnant of sand prairie once covering extensive portions of northwestern Wisconsin.  Eastern half of are is wildlife refuge.  State natural area.

Crystal Cave – Spring Valley – (715) 778-4414

Guided tours through three-level cave.  Upper two levels result of dissolution of limestone rock.  Larger, lower level formed by underground river. Stalactites and stalagmites.  Displays on caves, cave life, exploration and conservation.

Dells of the Eau Claire – 2 mi. SW of Hogarty – (715) 847-5235

1.5 mile gorge along Eau Claire River with 20 to 30 foot high walls.  River drops nearly 65 feet through gorge.  Potholes up to five feet in diameter.  Unique and varied plant life.

Devil’s Lake State Park – 3 mi. S of Baraboo – (608) 356-8301

Rock formations include Turk’s Head, Elephant Rock, Balanced Rock, and Devil’s Doorway.  Glacial features include erratic boulders, kettle, potholes, and extinct glacial lake bed.  Baraboo Bluffs, sheer 400-foot-high cliffs, on west side of park.  Cold air flows from bluffs provides habitat for unusual, northern plant species.  Areas of dry prairie and red oak and maple forest on top of bluffs. State natural area.



Dewey Heights Prairie – Nelson Dewey Sate Park – (608) 725-5374

Large, dry lime prairie on 800 foot high Mississippi River bluff.  Exposed cliffs and ledges.  Prairie dominated by big and little bluestems, side-oats and hairy grama; June, Indian and porcupine grass. State natural area.


Driftless Area – Wildcat Mountain State Park – (608) 337-4775

Southwestern portion of Wisconsin that escaped glaciation can be seen from observation point. Low plateau deeply cut by stream valleys.  Rough topography contrasts with ice-formed landscape of other parts of state.

Eagle Cave – Blue River – (608) 537-2988

Guided tours through Wisconsin’s largest onyx cave. Rock formations.

Granddad Bluff – 2 mi. E of La Crosse – (608) 789-0533

600-foot-high bluff overlooking La Crosse and Mississippi Rivers.

Greenbush Kettle – 3 mi. S of Greenbush – (262) 626-2116

Outstanding example of kettle located in Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit.

Haskell Noyes Woods – 5 mi. E of Campbellsport – (262) 626-2116

Old growth transition forest with rich ground flora and significant glacial features. Upland hardwood forest dominated by sugar maple and red oak,  State natural area in Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit.

Kickapoo Indian Caverns – Wauzeka – (608) 875-7723

Guide tours through largest caverns in Wisconsin.  Underground lake and 40-foot-high Cathedral Room. Lighted, cement walkways.  Native American Museum features Indian artifacts and handcrafts.

Kohler Park Dunes – Kohler-Andrae State Park – (920) 452-3457

Park contains active and stabilized lake dunes.  Sevreal thickly vegetated interdunal ponds. Common plants that stabilize dunes include sand reed, Canada wildrye, marram grass, common and trailing juniper, sand cherry, and willow species.  State natural area.

Mill Bluff State Park – 4 mi. W of Camp Douglas - (608) 387-4773

Unique, flat-topped, cliff-sided rock formations rising abruptly from surrounding plain.  Larger mesas, smaller, more abrupt buttes and slender pinnacles range in height from 80 feet to over 120 feet.  All once stood as islands in glacial lake.

Mount Pisgah Hemlock Hardwoods – Wildcat Mountain State Park – (608) 337-4775

Relict stands of hemlock, yellow birch, and white pine.  Rare plant species found on cliff faces.  Hiking trail. State natural area.

Natural Bridge – Natural Bridge State Park – (608) 356-8301

Wind-carved sandstone arch. Bridge opening is 25 feet wide and 15 feet high; top standing 35 feet above ground level.  Rock shelter at base of bridge is 60 feet in width with maximum depth of 30 feet.  State natural area.

Newport Conifer Hardwoods – Newport State Park – (920) 854-2500

Northern hardwood forest composed of white birch, sugar maple, beech, and ash. 3-to-8-foot-high wall of dolomite blocks crossing site, former shoreline of glacial lake.

Old Man of the Dalles – Interstate State Park – (715) 483-3747

Rock Feature resembling human profile, found in sheer walls of deep gorge along St. Croix River.  Gorge named The Dalles carved by glacial meltwater, with walls rising 150 feet above river.  Frost and weathering formed other rock features including Devil’s Chair, Lion’s Head and Turk’s Head.  State natural area.


Parfrey’s Glen – 3 mi. N of Merrimac – (608) 356-8301

Deep gorge cut through sandstone conglomerate. Shaded cliffs harbor northern flora including white pine, yellow birch, mountain maple and rare cliff plants.  Unique aquatic ecosystem in Parfrey’s Glen Creek. State natural area.

Parnell Esker – 1.5 mi. W of Parnell – (262) 626-2116

Classic example of glacial esker located in Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit.  Hiking trail.

Pier Natural Bridge Park – Hwy. 80 N, Rockbridge – (608) 647-4637

Long finger of rock, 60 feet long and 80 feet wide. Ends abruptly where ledge toppled and stands on end below cliff.

Pope Lake – Hartman Creek State Park – (715) 258-2372

Only undeveloped water body in heavily developed chain of lakes.  Clear, deep lake with clay bottom. Rich in aquatic plants.  Bordering wetlands of tamarack, poison sumac and winterberry.  State natural area.

Potholes – Interstate State Park – (715) 483-3747

Potholes ranging in size from small, shallow depressions to giants 25 feet in diameter and up to 80 feet deep.

Ridges Sanctuary – Baileys Harbor – (920) 839 2802

1,001-acre area of wooded bogs, sandy ridges, marshy areas and Lake Michigan beach.  28 species of rare orchids native to Wisconsin.  13 plant species on state’s endangered and threatened list. Hiking trails and boardwalk system.

Roche-A-Cri – Roche-A-Cri State Park – (608) 339-9808

Prominent butte rising 300 feet above surrounding plain.  Composed of Cambrian sandstone, butte once island in glacial lake. Indian petroglyphs found in several locations.

Rocky Arbor State Park – 2 mi. N of Wisconsin Dells – (608) 254-2333

Sandstone gorge originally cut by Wisconsin River now flowing 1.5 miles east of park.  Picturesque rock walls, ledges and formations.

Spruce Lake Bog – 2 mi. NW of Dundee – (262) 533-8322

Undisturbed, shallow bog surrounding kettle lake located in Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit.  Many carnivorous plants including pitcher plants, sundews, and bladderworts.  Tamarack and black spruce forest surrounds bog.  Boardwalk. National natural landmark and state natural area.

St. Peter’s Dome – 15 mi. W of Mellen – (715) 254-2511

Pink granite summit, highest point in Chequamegon National Forest, approximately 1,600 feet (488 meters) above sea level.  Views of Lake Superior.

Timm’s Hill – 6 mi. E of Ogema – (715) 339-2555

Highest point in Wisconsin, 1,951 feet (594.8 meters) above sea level.  Observation tower.

White Kame – 0.5 mi S of Dundee – (262) 626-2116

One of many kames located in Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit.  Easily spotted because of white color.

Whitefish Dunes – Whitefish Dunes State Park – (920) 823-2400

Among largest sand dunes in Wisconsin. Tallest, Old Baldy, rises 93 feet above lake level.  Site contains all stages of succession from open beach through northern forest of maple, beech and hemlock. Rich and diverse plant life.  State natural area.

Wisconsin Dells – Wisconsin Dells – (no phone)

Seven-mile stretch along Wisconsin River where sandstone cliffs rise more than 100 feet above water. Dam separates Upper and Lower Dells.  Rock formations include Stand Rock, Demon’s Anvil, and Visor Ledge.

Wyalusing State Park – 3 mi. N of Wyalusing – (608) 996-2261

Park is site of many geological features including caves, waterfalls, and rock formations. 50-foot-high bluffs cut by Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers.  Pure stands of black walnut trees in mature forest.  State natural area.





Common Geologic Terms

Drumlin – Elongated gravel hill deposited in layers by retreating glacier.  Usually occur in groups.

Erratic – Rock transported by glacier from a distance, usually in or on top of the ice.  Composed of material different from underlying bedrock or soil.

Esker – Serpentine ridge of gravel and sand, probably marking old stream channel that ran under stagnant ice sheet.

Kame – Conical hill formed by debris deposited by meltwater flowing into a funnel-shaped hole in the ice.

Kettle – Surface depression formed as sand and gravel settled over melting ice block.

Outwash Plain – Plain composed of material deposited by meltwater streams beyond active glacial ice.

Pothole – Hollow depression worn into solid rock at falls and strong rapids where sand, gravel and stones were spun around by current.

Terminal Moraine – Ridgelike formation composed of debris deposited at edge of glacier deposited at edge of glacier marking glacier’s farthest advance.

High Adventure Programs

BSA National Camping Opportunities


Here is a quick summary of general information regarding national BSA camping/high adventure opportunities. To obtain additional information, contact the Council Service Center.



Philmont is the oldest and most famous of Scouting’s high adventure bases. Philmont is 137,000 acres of rugged trails, soaring peaks, and spectacular scenery in the heart of New Mexico's rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Its more than 280 miles of trails, and its challenging, inspiring wilderness programs have earned it the nickname of "University of the Outdoors,” its "curriculum" is rugged, physically demanding, and packed with excitement, its adventure programs fall into six major categories, including:


Expeditions; These 12-day treks through the mountains give crews the opportunity to learn technical rock climbing, archaeological excavation techniques, and wilderness survival. You'll saddle up your horse, pack your gear aboard a sure-footed burro, and rediscover the days of the Old West, the timeless skills of the "mountain men" of old, and the thrill of panning for gold in an icy stream.

Crew size: 4-12 persons per crew, including leaders.

Leadership: One adult (21 or older) required per crew.


Cavalcades; The emphasis here is on learning the riding and packing skills that are traditional in the American West, while traveling some of Philmont's most scenic trails on horseback.

Crew size: 10-15 per crew, including leaders.

Leadership: One adult (21 or older) required per crew.


Mountain Men and Women; Under the leadership of one of Philmont's experienced rangers, these programs feature six-day backpacking trips in beautiful wilderness areas, and are open to individual scouts who are not with a contingent.

Crew size: Organized at Philmont.

Leadership: Provided by Philmont.


Rayado Men and Women; Limited to persons who were at least 15 years old as of January 1 of the year of the trek and who have mastered basic outdoor skills, these are demanding programs of advanced outdoor leadership featuring hiking, campcraft, and wilderness problem solving in an unparalleled setting.

Crew size: Organized at Philmont.

Leadership: Provided by Philmont.


Trail Crew; This phenomenal and free 26-day program is designed for a select number of male scouts over the age of 16, who perform vital conservation work and trail maintenance as part of it. Each trail crew spends 14 days in a backcountry work project, and then enjoys a 12-day high adventure expedition under the leadership of the trail crew foreman.

Crew size: 10 campers per crew.

Leadership: Provided by Philmont.



Located on an island in the heart of the Florida Keys, 75 miles south of Miami, this is one of the world's finest facilities for aquatic adventure. The base is fully equipped for boardsailing, motor boating, canoeing, deep-sea fishing, lobstering, snorkeling, scuba diving and certification. In addition, it offers-sailing craft ranging in length from 14 to 65 feet. It has six major program areas to choose from including:


Coral Reef Sailing; Test your nautical skills as one of six crew members of a 44-foot sailboat on a seven-day voyage to excitement. This flexible program allows your crew to chart its own course with the aid of a licensed captain. You can plan a visit to Key West, the Marquesas Islands, or even beyond. Or you can snorkel through seemingly endless reef beds or troll the Gulf Stream for fighting sport fish.

Crew size: Maximum of six per boat, including adult/leader.


Mariner Sailing Adventure; This program enables almost any "landlubber" to become an experienced sailor after a week of intensive training and actual operating experience. Two days of instruction at the base are followed by a cruise through the reefs and islands of the Keys aboard a sleek 25-foot sailing vessel. Each boat sleeps five, has its own galley and head, and is equipped with an auxiliary motor and radio for safety.

Crew size: 7-9 per crew, including leaders.


Sea Exploring; You'll follow the winds to the sparkling beaches of the Bahamas. Enroute, you'll visit remote islands seldom seen by tourists and explore waters so clear that you can see to a depth of 100 feet or more. For added adventure, prevailing winds and weather conditions will dictate the exact itinerary of your 65-foot yacht.

Crew size; 18-22 per crew, including leaders.


Scuba Expedition; Each trip is custom-designed for your post and 5TT-certified divers have the opportunity for unlimited supervised diving among the Keys, in the Bahamas, or at the fabulous John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Crew size: Maximum of 12, including leaders.


Scuba Certification; You can come home from this program an accomplished diver, even if you've never had a mask on before. During seven days of instructions, both in a class room setting and in the base's specifically designed diving tanks, you'll be taught everything you need to know by a seasoned instructor, then move on to open water for your first exploratory dive.

After checkout dives, you'll become a certified diver. All equipment is furnished.

Crew size: 6-8 persons, including leaders.


Out Island/Robinson Crusoe; Experience the life of a beachcomber in your own-island paradise, with the benefit of such modern amenities as sail and power boats, camping and snorkeling gear, and fishing tackle. You'll also have a chance to see and study the ways of nature firsthand on the small, pristine islands of the Keys.

Crew size: 6-8 persons, including leaders.




Since 1923, Scouts have been voyaging into the great north wilderness to seek adventure. Eagles soaring overhead, walleye swimming in the depths of pristine lakes, meeting a moose on the portage trail. These are the experiences that Scouts get in Canada and the north woods of the United States.  Northern Tier High Adventure Program is the ONLY outfitter in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Canada charged by the Boy Scouts of America to deliver the Scouting program to Scouts and Leaders adventuring into North Americas Canoe Country.

Some of the best weather, snow conditions, facilities, and terrain for cold weather camping in North America are offered through the OKPIK Adventure program at Charles L. Sommers base in Ely, Minnesota. OKPIK provides a highly-trained staff to help you learn cold weather camping skills such as dog sledding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, clothing and sleeping systems, snow shelter building, animal tracking, cold weather cooking, and ice fishing. We offer weekend, long weekend and mid-week programs as well as a longer Holiday Stay between Christmas and New Year, and training for leaders and older Scouts who are interested in developing their own cold weather programs for units, districts, or councils.


Expedition Planning Guide This is the must have for units preparing for their Northern Tier adventure.

Voyageur Handbook to Adventure This is your Scouts key to planning their Northern Tier experience.


Three different summer experiences are available, including:

Sommers Canoe Base Trips; Take your choice of two different trip itineraries. You can explore Minnesota's great wilderness canoe area, which provides fun and challenge for beginner through intermediate canoeists, or you can travel through Ontario's Quetico Provincial Park, where intermediate to advanced canoeists will find primitive beauty, solitude, and great fishing.

Crew size: 6-9 persons, including adult Explorer leaders over 21.


Northern Expeditions; If you're looking for the most rugged advanced wilderness canoeing, you'll find it in the Canadian bush country of Manitoba. The Bissett (Northern Expeditions) base is located in the gold-mining town of Bissett, Manitoba about 3.5 hours northeast of Winnipeg. The Bissett base property was first leased in the late 1970�s and purchased around 1990, but the Northern Tier began running programs in the Bissett area in the early 1970�s. The base is 1.5 miles from the nearest lake, all trips beginning and ending with a float plane trip to the canoe cache on Scout Lake in Atikaki Provincial Park.

Crew size: 6-9 persons, including adult Explorer leaders over 21.


Atikokan Canoeing; The Atikokan Base (Don Rogert Canoe Base) is located on scenic Perch Lake, about 12 miles west of Atikokan, Ontario. The base has been in use since 1986. These trips are for intermediate and advanced canoeists take you deep into the caribou country of northern Ontario.

Crew size: 6-9 persons, including leaders.



Six different winter experiences are available, including 4 trail treks:

(Cabin) OKPIK weekend & Holiday Stay; Minimum 11 years old. Basecamp, but still do OKPIK activities during the day (skiing, showshoeing, dog sledding, cooking outdoors, etc).


Bizhiw Trek; Minimum 13 years old.  Three nights/4 days of travel and camp a minimum of 2 nights on the trail.


Dog Sled Trek; Minimum 14 years old. Previous winter camping experience strongly suggested.  A minimum of 2 nights/3 days in the trail or 4+ total days with OKPIK.


Musher Camp; Minimum 13 years old.  Three day training session, typically over a weekend.


Ski/Snowshoe Trek; Minimum 14 years old required.. Previous winter camping experience strongly suggested. Travel and camp a minimum of 2 nights on the trail, using at least 2 campsites, pulling your gear in sleds.  Skiers typically log 10 miles ore more; snowshoers log 7 miles or more.


Cold Weather Leader Training: Offered for 1 week in early January annually, this will equip you to help lead your own unit or council program outdoors in the winter, away from base camp. Limited participation.


Wisconsin State Parks







Minnesota State  Parks

Explore Minnesota State Parks in all seasons of the year, including winter. To help decide which of the 72 state parks to visit, pick up a copy of the Guide to Minnesota State Parks at state parks and tourist information centers or call the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

No camping reservations are needed from Nov. 1 through April 1. Reservations can be made online at www.stayatmnparks.com or by calling toll free 1-866-85PARKS.


Southern Minnesota State Parks

Beaver Creek Valley (maps)

Big Stone Lake (maps)

Blue Mounds (maps)

Camden (maps)

Carley (maps)

Flandrau (maps)

Forestville/Mystery Cave (maps)

Fort Ridgely (maps)

Frontenac (maps)

Great River Bluffs (maps)

John A. Latsch (maps)

Kilen Woods (maps)

Lac qui Parle (maps)

Lake Louise (maps)

Lake Shetek (maps)

Minneopa (maps)

Monson Lake (maps)

Myre - Big Island (maps)

Nerstrand Big Woods (maps)

Rice Lake (maps)

Sakatah Lake (maps)

Sibley (maps)

Split Rock Creek (maps)

Upper Sioux Agency (maps)

Whitewater (maps)

Southern Minnesota County/Regional Parks


Minnesota County and City Parks


mncityparks.com - city parks list for a few select cities and a local golf course email list



Where to go… Biking


Preparing Your Trip

Preparing for your trip – Modern multispeed bicycles reduce the strain on the rider, but they require a little TLC to keep operating at top efficiency.  Tire pressure is one of the main items to watch.  Just a few pounds of air can make the difference between a bike which rolls along smoothly and quickly or a bike which lugs and drags, even on downhill runs. Proper tire inflation can save 10% in gasoline mileage in automobiles.  Just think of what 10% of wasted energy can do to your legs at the end of the day.

A clean and well-lubricated chain also keeps a bicycle running efficiently.  Many spray lubricants are available but the important part is remembering to use them. (A good time to clean your chain is after you’ve ridden the Sparta-Elroy or Sugar River Trails.  These old railroad right-of-ways are paved with a layer of abrasive dust.) Even a scrap of newspaper can be used to wipe off the bulk of the dirt which accumulates on a chain.  A more complete washing involves removing the chain from the bicycle, soaking it clean, and relubrication. Brakes are important in any riding situation, but they’re especially vital on some of the hills of south central Wisconsin. Check before your trip to se that pads aren’t worn down, that cables and casings aren’t kinked and that the brake pads make contact with the rim only. Pads which are too high will rub on the sidewall of the tire, causing excessive wear.  If the pads are too low, they may slip into the spokes when the pads wear down.

Variable gears are at the heart of the new increase in bicycle activity.  Remember to shift before a hill, while the pedals are still turning over smoothly; don’t wait until the bike slows to a halt before shifting, it won’t work.  On level ground, use the middle gears and keep your legs moving in quick fluid circles.  Toe clips will help keep your feet on the pedal and the “cadence” up.

The most complex machinery is your own body.  A little physical conditioning can make touring easy for an around-the-block rider in a month’s time. Regular bicycling can help to develop the heart and lungs, while one week or one weekend of super effort usually only leaves sore muscles and memories of anguish.

Carry fruit and water to supply energy and replenish liquids.  Remember to warm up briefly before pushing hard on a ride.  On cool mornings when the temperature is expected to climb, wear several layers of light clothing to adjust to gradual changes in temperature and in your own activity.

Bicycling is a great sport for all types of enthusiasts, from casual weekend fugitives from the city, to hard core long distance cycle-campers.  Like any sport, it has a great store of technique and legend but its real secret is simple:  respect for your body and your machinery.

Safety – Bicycle safety is a matter of survival as any experienced cyclist knows. You are ultimately responsible for your own safety and safe riding habits should be second nature to you.

Familarize yourself with all traffic regulations and pay particular attention to the following suggestions:

-          Outer clothing must be bright, highly visible.

-          Check for traffic at all intersections, even if you have the right-of-way; be prepared to yield it.

-          Ride single file and as far to the right as road conditions p0ermit.  Stop for all STOP Signs.

-          Use hand signals when turning or stopping to inform motorists and fellow cyclists.

-          Don’t tailgate other cyclists.  Stay alert for the sound of motorists approaching from behind and ride straight and steady as they pass.

-          Use a light beginning at dusk.

Bike Safety, continued.

If you are leading a group, insist that all members follow the rules.  In group situations, the last rider has the responsibility of informing those ahead if a vehicle is approaching from behind.  Having some knowledge of first aid and packing a first aid kit with a good supply of large bandages for abrasions is recommended.

A very strong wind from the left can create a hazardous situation.  You will tend to steer to the left to compensate and if a close passing vehicle breaks the air pressure, it will cause you to swerve.  Pulling to a stop off the road when a vehicle approaches is recommended in extreme cases.

Railroad tracks should be crossed at as close to a right angle as possible.  Tracks can be extremely slippery when wet and it is advisable to walk across in such a case.

Braking should be done smoothly with both brakes.  When slippery leaves, loose gravel, or sand are encountered, only the rear brake should be used until these articles are cleared.  On a rainy day, allow 4 or 5 times the distance for stopping.

Dogs that chase bikers are a problem: watch for them as you approach farm yards.  If a dog runs into the road after you, slow to a stop and command the animal to “stay,” then follow this up with “go home.”  Make sure all members of your group are familiar with this procedure.  IN the event that these methods don’t work, you may equip yourself with a commercial dog repellant. Never pursue a dog onto private property; you are only within your rights on the roadway.

If you are bitten by a dog, report the incident to the County Sheriff’s office with full details, including your home address.  They will have to impound the animal if it has not had its rabies shots and you should get a tetanus booster as soon as possible.  In the interest of safety, report all vicious attacks.

Fatigue can be your enemy if it affects you to the extent that you are not fully in command of your riding abilities. Stop and rest for a few minutes if you feel yourself losing control.

Check over your bicycle mechanically before you leave.  Make certain your brakes, bearings, spokes and gears are properly adjusted. Tires must be in good repair and inflated to the recommended pressure and all nuts and bolts must be checked for tightness. If you are carrying extra gear, make certain that it is secured so it doesn’t become fouled in the spokes.





In concert with Minnesota’s Department of Transportation… 

Bike safety…

Share the Road



Guidelines for Bicycle Club Rides and Bike-A-Thons

Bicycling has become very popular among people of all ages.  As a result, many group bicycling events are being scheduled. These events range from 100 mile “century” rides to shorter club tours, to fund-raising bike-a-thons.  One common element of all these events is that larger groups of bicyclists use a planned route and share the road with motor vehicles.  These guidelines were developed to help organize events that are safe and enjoyable for all participants.

Suggestions for organizations planning the event:

1.      Choose your route carefully, particularly if inexperienced cyclists will be participating.  Use low volume streets and highways, town and county roads, and bikeways when available.  Avoid busy intersections.  Roads should be paved and free of chuckholes, seriously cracked pavement, gravel, and other debris.

2.      Review the route with local authorities in charge of city streets and county highways.  They may be able to inform you about any planned construction work, detours or other hazards on the route you’ve selected. For example, if any of the roads are scheduled to be seal coated with pea gravel shortly before your event, you will probably want to change the route to avoid that area.

3.      Determine if you will have vehicles circulating on the route to assist riders having difficulties during the event.  Notify local and county law enforcement agencies of the date, time, length, estimated participation, rain date (if any) and emergency precautions.  Provide them with a map of the route.  They may offer to patrol the route in case an emergency should arise.

4.      In any advance publicity for the event, emphasize safe bicycle operation. Encourage participants to wear a bicycle helmet and to ride a bicycle that is in good condition.  Describe the route as to length and difficulty so that prospective riders will know if it is within their capability. Recommend that participants bring along a water bottle, money, and identification. If registration materials are mailed to the participants, include information about safe bicycling. (Brochures are available at no cost from the Office for Highway Safety.)

5.      Do a final check of the route within a week before the event.  Any road hazards, missing road signs or confusing turns should be noted on the printed directions and map given to each rider.  The local emergency telephone numbers should also be listed.

6.      Just prior to the ride, review the rules of the road with the participants.  Emphasize that bicycles are legally vehicles and bicyclists are subject to traffic laws, signs and signals.  Bicyclists should be riding with the traffic flow and as close as they safely can to the right edge of the roadway.  Since some participants may be new to group riding, cover the following points:

-          Ride single file, especially when other traffic is present or when climbing hills.

-          Communicate with the riders around you.  Get in the habit of calling out “car back” or “car up” when autos are approaching. Warn those behind you of road hazards ahead, such as broken glass, or loose gravel. Check around you and signal before making turns or lane changes.  Call out a warning (“passing on your left”) when overtaking another bicyclist.

-          Avoid following too closely. If you allow at least one bike length between you and the rider in front of you, you’ll have more time to react if a quick stop or swerve is necessary.

-          Make your own traffic decisions.  Although the rider in front of you may make it through an intersection safely, the way might not be clear for YOU to proceed.  Be sure to make your own stops and traffic scans instead of automatically following the person ahead.

7.      When large numbers of participants are present, have them start the ride in small groups of less than 20. This will prevent crowding on the roadway.  Encourage more experienced riders to assist novice riders and to set a good example with safe riding behavior.

Suggestions for law enforcement agencies:

1.      Once notified of the event, agencies can assist in a number of ways, including the following:  assigning a squad to periodically patrol the route, alerting a squad on routine patrol to be available in case of emergency, or assigning officers to an on-bicycle patrol that would enforce traffic laws and promote safe riding during the event.

2.      Enforcement of traffic laws is an effective way to encourage safe riding behavior.  During a big event, it may be almost impossible to stop large numbers of violators.  However, if a few are stopped and warned or cited, others will be influenced to follow traffic laws.

3.      Traffic control may be required at certain intersections.  Law enforcement agencies should decide whether it is needed when discussing the route with the event organizers.


Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Office for Highway Safety

P.O. Box 7910

Madison, WI 53707





Suggested Bicycle Touring Equipment Checklist




Spare Tube

Patch Kit

Pannier Bags

Stretch Cords

Rear Brake Cable

Chain Tool


6” Crescent Wrench

Tire Irons

Spare Tire & Cement (Sew-Up)

Handle Bar Bag

Extra Spokes

Brake Pads

Screw Driver

Spoke Wrench



Light Sleeping Bag

Light Tent

Foam Pad

Insect Repellant


Cook Kit

Eating Utensils


Portable Stove


Riding Shorts

Jersey or Short Sleeve Shirt (Bright Color)


Cycle Shoes


Rain Cape & Hat

Water Bottle

Warm-up Suit

Salt Tablets


Riding Gloves




First Aid Kit




Toilet Kit

Dog Repellant




Note: Some items optional depending on length of tour and whether camping, cooking out, or using “Sag Wagon” service.

Biking "Coulee Country" of Minnesota and Wisconsin


    Here is bike touring as you've seldom seen it, in an area that explorer Zebulon Pike described as, "...altogether so variegated and romantic that a man may scarcely expect to enjoy such but twice or thrice in the course of his life!"

   Short trips in the stunningly scenic Upper Mississippi River Valley. Longer rides to quaint villages on quiet back roads. The chill tunnels of the Elroy-Sparta National Trail. Tours of protected parks and refuges with abundant wildlife and fantastic vistas. Hundreds of miles of easy or challenging roads leading to fascinating places you've always imagined might be out there somewhere. 

   There are nearly 140 miles of level, well maintained bike paths located within the interconnecting trails noted below. Several small villages are located along each of the trails. During the winter, most trails are open for x-country skiing and, on the "400" trail, snowmobiling is allowed.

bluffvw.gif (13118 bytes)
Photo by Bill Burke, Mississippi River Tours, Lansing, Iowa

Western Wisconsin has a unique network of four connected state trails that provides over 100 miles of continuous trail for users to enjoy. The Great River, La Crosse River, Elroy-Sparta, and the “400” state trails link together unique natural ecosystems, Native American cultural sites, railroad depots and tunnels, and communities which have evolved from railroad towns to tourist destinations.

Bike 4 Trails is a cooperative effort between trail staff, friends groups, chamber of commerce groups, and tourism officials along the four trails. Visit the Bike 4 Trails Web page  to get information about the trails, local accommodations and services, and maps of the individual trails as well as a large overview of the entire trail system.

ELROY-SPARTA National Bike Trail   

(32 level miles, paved with limestone screening.) The three rock tunnels and 33 trestles on  the abandoned Chicago-Northwestern Railroad bed highlight the Elroy-Sparta Trail. The Kendall and Wilton tunnels are 1/4 mile long and the Norwalk Tunnel is 3/4 mile long--so bring a flashlight and a jacket and WALK your bikes through the tunnel.

Leaving a tunnel on the Elroy-Sparta bike trail.Enter the Trail just north of Elroy, Wisconsin, on Hwy 71, or south of Sparta off Highways 16 and 71. The headquarters for the Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail is located the the restored railroad depot  in Kendall on Hwy 71, equal distance between Wildcat Mountain and Mill Bluff State Parks and 18 miles off I-90-94. For more information, contact: Elroy-Sparta National Trail, Inc., PO Box 153, Kendall, Wisconsin 54638. Phone 608-463-7109.





La Crosse River Trail

21.5 mile from Sparta to Medary Junction at the edge of the City of La Crosse. Trail parallels the La Crosse River to link the Great River Trail to the Elroy-Sparta and then the "400" Trail.

Great River Trail / Perrot State Park

24 miles from Onalaska, Wisconsin, north to Trempealeau, Perrot State Park and the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge. This trail offers a unique opportunity to bike through the Black River bottoms. Listen for sandhill cranes. Birding and wildlife watching opportunities abound. Bring your binoculars! Other portions include

From Trempealeau to Perrot State Park, enjoy 500' foot high bluffs, beautiful river views, Indian mounds, and Trempealeau Mountain. A natural groomed surface. 8.5 miles. Birding can be excellent in the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge.  More on the Village of Trempealeau.

"400" Trail
22 miles, Elroy to Reedsburg, along the Baraboo River. The newest trail  in the Wisconsin State System is also considered to be one of the most scenic. Visitors will enjoy wetlands, bluffland, croplands, pasture and river. The "400" trail was named for the Chicago-Northwestern train that traveled the 400 miles between Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul in 400 minutes.

Headquarters for the trail is at the renovated Reedsburg Depot. Bicycles, child trailers and a powered bike are available for loan. Snowmobiling is allowed on the trail during the winter months.
Contact 400 State Trail, Trail Headquarters, 240 Railroad St., PO Box 142, Reedsburg, WI   53959. Phone 608-524-2850.



city.jpeg (23474 bytes)(34 Miles. A paved, bikes   only trail along the scenic     Root River between the       historic towns of Rushford and Lanesboro, Minnesota.) These two delightful towns anchor the most scenic stretches of this trail. Start your trip at the restored railroad depot in Rushford. The entire downtown of Lanesboro is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can visit a winery or take a short canoe trip. Outfitters in Rushford and Lanesboro provide a shuttle service. Drive east 18 miles on Mn Hwy #43 to Rushford. Call 800-944-2670 for more information or visit www.lanesboro.com 


Great River Trail

Great River Road Bicycle Map



Wisconsin Bikeway

travelwisconsin.mobular.net/wisconsin/74/10/18/   <<Trails

travelwisconsin.mobular.net/wisconsin/74/11/19/   <<Biking


Wisconsin county maps PDF

Information about how to use the maps with a detailed legend and description of the bicycling conditions is available. These maps have been recently updated using 2004 traffic and roadway data.

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UpdatedChippewa (876 KB)
UpdatedClark (456 KB)
UpdatedColumbia (441 KB)
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UpdatedIowa (344 KB)

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UpdatedJackson (549 KB)
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UpdatedMonroe (395 KB)
UpdatedOconto (725 KB)
UpdatedOneida (850 KB)
UpdatedOutagamie (335 KB)
UpdatedOzaukee (271 KB)
UpdatedPepin (346 KB)
UpdatedPierce (424 KB)

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UpdatedRichland (373 KB)
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UpdatedSauk (475 KB)
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UpdatedWood (317 KB)


Wisconsin State Trails



Minnesota Off-The-Road Bike Trails

Bicycling in Minnesota

State trails list


Trails and Waterways logo



horseback ridingHorseback riding

in-line skatingIn-line skating

Mountain BikingMountain biking


wheelchair accessWheelchair access
(electric wheelchairs allowed)




Blazing Star

hikingbikingin-line skatingskiingwheelchair access

Bluffland Trail
Root River segment
Harmony-Preston segment

hikingbikingin-line skatingskiingwheelchair access


hikingbikinghorseback ridingin-line skatingskiingwheelchair accessSnowmobiling


hikingbikinghorseback ridingin-line skatingskiingwheelchair access

Luce Line

hikinghorseback ridingmountain bikingskiingsnowmobilingbiking

Minnesota Valley

hikingbikinghorseback ridingin-line skatingskiingsnowmobilingwheelchair accessMountian Biking

Shooting Star

hikingbikingin-line skating


Casey Jones

hikingbikinghorseback ridingin-line skatingsnowmobilingwheelchair access

Glacial Lakes

hikingbikinghorseback ridingin-line skatingmountain bikingsnowmobilingwheelchair access

Sakatah Singing Hills

hikingbikinghorseback ridingin-line skatingskiingsnowmobilingwheelchair access








 Where to go… Canoeing


Trip Planning and Preparation


One of the best things you can do to ensure a safe and enjoyable wilderness canoe trip is to plan ahead. As Bill Mason wrote in Song of the Paddle:

"Adversity is usually the result of poor planning, inadequate equipment, incompetence or a combination of the three. . . One way to avoid adversity is to stay home. Another way is to learn the skills and acquire the equipment that will make adversity a remote possibility."


Wilderness First Aid


Wilderness first aid is one of those things that, if you have all the gear, knowledge and training, you probably won't need to use. Maybe this is because groups that adequately prepare themselves are also relatively safety-conscious and don't get into trouble in the first place. The fact that you are isolated and far from help should inform everything you do, whether that be handling hot pots over a fire or running a rapid. Prevention is a much less painful and expensive option than a wilderness medevac.

Proper preparation is crucial for wilderness first aid. Take a first aid course before your trip - it is pointless to have a well stocked medical kit if you don't know how to use it. There are many excellent first aid courses available through St. John's Ambulance and other organisations. The dilemma is that most first aid courses assume that the ambulance is 10 minutes away and that the victim can swiftly be transported to a hospital. Try to find a wilderness or backcountry-oriented course if you can. Better courses use extensive simulations and role playing components to teach the participants how to deal with real- life situations. Unless one uses first aid skills frequently the retention time of this knowledge is surprisingly short and frequent recertification is essential (every 3 years).

A CPR course is highly recommended if you are going to be doing a lot of canoeing; artificial resuscitation is a hands-on skill and cannot be learned from a book. The ABC concept (Airway, Breathing, and Circulation) may well save the life of someone in your group. Remember that ALL near-drowning victims MUST be seen by a doctor AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Even if the victim seems fine and is eager to go, complications associated with water inhalation are almost certain to arise

On a short trip you might only carry a basic first aid kit. The most frequently used items in your kit will probably be Band-Aids, so be sure to take an adequate supply. Your kit should include a checklist which you go over before every trip to ensure that all the components are there. On a longer trip, or with a larger group, you will want to carry one of several first aid books as well as a medical kit, which should be carried separately from the first aid kit.

If you want to send your first aid instructor ballistic, ask him about carrying antibiotics and other prescription drugs. Very few certifying bodies condone the self-administration of such medication, yet on a long, remote trip you may have no other choice. The best advice I can give is to visit your family doctor, wilderness medicine book in hand, and tell him or her about your planned expedition. Hopefully you will be able to get the prescriptions you need for a long or remote trip. The good news is that you may enjoy a lifetime of canoeing without a serious mishap: I have never had to use any of the prescription antibiotics, antinauseants, antihistamines, or painkillers in my expedition mini- pharmacy.

Serious injury or illness in remote areas will usually involve evacuation to medical facilities. In researching your trip you should find out if there are any inhabited areas along your route including cabins, cottages, fish camps or native settlements. Most people living in the bush have some form of radio communication and may be able to summon help. Fish camps often have float planes coming in on a semi-regular basis which you might be able to commandeer in a medical emergency. If you are trying to flag a plane down in an emergency, light three fires to attract attention: three of anything is a universal signal for help. A huge SOS in the sand and a signalling mirror might be useful additions to your fire. Any plane or helicopter-based rescue is expensive and not covered by most health insurance plans, so be careful out there!

Basic First Aid Kit

  • Aspirin or Tylenol - 100 tablets
  • Tylenol 3 (aspirin and codeine - prescription only) - 30 tablets
  • Antihistamine - 20 tablets
  • Laxative - 10 tablets
  • Anti-diarrhoea tablets - 25
  • Band-Aids of varying size and shape - 30
  • Sterile gauze pads, 4 " squares - 5
  • Porous adhesive tape, 1" wide - 1
  • Waterproof adhesive tape, 1" wide - 1
  • Spenco Second Skin (for burns), 2" x 4" - 4
  • Elastic bandage, 3" wide - 1
  • Triangular bandages - 2
  • Safety pins - 10
  • Antiseptic cleaning solution - 2 ounces
  • Calamine lotion - small bottle
  • Scissors - 1
  • Tweezers - 1

Medical Kit

Quantities depend on size of party and length of trip. For additional ideas on kit composition please see the referenced books.

  • Basic first aid kit, carried separately
  • Medical reference book
  • Anakit (for anaphylactic shock)
  • Aspirin
  • Morphine (oral or injectable) or codeine
  • Penicillin
  • Tetracycline
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Antihistamines
  • Antinauseants/motion-sickness agents
  • Oil of cloves (for dental pain)
  • Long-acting decongestant spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Sterile gauze, various sizes
  • Spenco Second Skin, various sizes
  • Adhesive tape
  • Band-Aids
  • Butterfly strips
  • Q-tips
  • Triangular bandages and safety pins
  • Moleskin
  • Pocket rescue mask (for artificial resuscitation)
  • Surgical forceps
  • Magnifying glass
  • Penlight
  • Scissors
  • Scalpel and blades
  • Syringe with wide-bore needle for irrigation
  • Oral thermometer in protective case
  • Sam Splint
  • Elastic bandages, 2" and 6"
  • Suture equipment if doctor or veterinarian is on trip




What to do When it Rains and Rains and Rains. . .


Adverse weather conditions make life difficult, no doubt about it. After a week of rain simple tasks like cooking soup or choosing a campsite are slow and tedious. Proper preparation makes camping much more comfortable when the weather goes bad. Here are some tips on coping with the most commonly encountered challenges of wilderness camping.



The most important item of clothing on a canoe trip is a high-quality rainsuit. A good rain jacket will keep you dry in summer drizzles; add a set of rain pants and you are set for a downpour! Try to get raingear in a heavy coated nylon (Wetskins, for example) or in Goretex if you can afford it. Raincoats should be large enough to go over a lifejacket and a couple of sweaters. Rainpants are best if they have a waist-tie and not suspenders; the latter require you to strip off your raincoat before answering the call of nature. If worn with wool or one of the fuzzy synthetics (polypropylene, Capilene, Polartec, etc.) your rainsuit will even work as an ersatz wetsuit, doubling your survival time in cold water. Ponchos, $20 K-Mart specials, and garbage bags are not acceptable substitutes, because they are difficult to swim in and might not last for the duration of the trip. Remember, when it is critical that a rainsuit not tear, it will promptly self-destruct.

Good quality tents are the next element of comfort in the rain. Periodically touch up your tent's roof (the fly), the seams, and the floor with Thompson's Water Seal (available at hardware stores) or similar waterproofing compound. Carry a light tarp to lay inside your tent in case your floors or walls leak. Such a tarp should be slightly larger than the floor of your tent so that the edges will turn up and form a bit of a bathtub. Tents with vestibules are useful to store the waterlogged gear that will inevitably build up during a rainstorm.

A large tarpaulin and some extra rope or parachute cord make life around the campfire much more pleasant. Lightweight nylon tarps are great, but a cheap polyethylene tarp will also do if you are careful not to rip out its grommets and don't mind the extra weight. My favourite rigging system involves laying the tarp over a taut highline and then tying each of the four corners off to a stump or tree. The final product here resembles the roof of a house, the sloping sides preventing the accumulation of water on you tarp. Pitch your tarp just beside, or barely covering, your fire so as not to smoke yourself silly.

Firebuilding after an extended rain takes time and patience. Birch bark is a tinder that will burn when wet - I often carry some in a bag in case I end up camping in a location without birch trees. As always avoid stripping living bark from living trees as this is a sure way to rid canoe country of birches. Put aside a supply of firewood under a tarp if it looks like it's going to rain. Look under the canopy of large trees for dryish wood to burn. If everything is wet you may have to saw wood into short sections and split the sections with a knife or hatchet to find the dry heartwood. A small gas stove will make dealing with rain much easier.


In the north one may encounter snow any month of the year. Trips in the spring or fall should take additional care because the possibility of running into cold weather is much greater. Planning for cold weather is sensible at any time and is both a safety and comfort issue.

Jeans are NOT appropriate canoeing wear: they are cold when wet and dry excruciatingly slowly. You will do much better if you bring one set of quick-drying pants (nylon, thin cotton, etc.) and another set of wool, polypropylene or other synthetic pants. These will keep you warm, even when wet. On a canoe trip your pants are guaranteed to be a little wet at least some of the time. Similarly, cotton T-shirts alone do not a wardrobe make. Bring a few along, but make sure that you have a wool or synthetic sweater as well. On longer trips it is often best to bring 2 sweaters, one lightweight and one heavyweight.

Feet are the most difficult item to keep warm. For people who bring nothing but cotton socks warm feet soon become a distant memory. At least 3 pairs of wool socks are mandatory on most trips. Nylon running shoes dry very quickly if they don't have a lot of padding or leather. Some people like to bring a set of rubber boots which work great if you have woolen or synthetic socks on underneath. If the water is particularly cold, or you will be doing a lot of wading and/or lining, you might want to consider wet suit socks or booties. Both of these items are made of a thin neoprene and will retain incoming water against your skin, allowing it to warm up.

On longer trips, or during those times of year where marginal weather is expected, carrying a lightweight parka may be a good idea. Packed into its own drybag and riding at the bottom of the pack, the parka will be ready to warm you up on a cold evening or after a long swim. Cheap insurance against hypothermia!



Many people are unaware that crossing a large, windy lake is often much more dangerous than running evil-looking rapids. The worst canoeing accident in recent history occurred when a group tried to cross Lake Temiskaming, a very large and occasionally very windy lake on the Quebec-Ontario border. A good rule is never to go more than 300 meters from shore if you can possibly avoid it. This distance not only allows you a fighting chance of swimming to shore in case of an upset, but also allows you to quickly go to shore if weather conditions change for the worse. A large lake can go from a glassy calm to a crazed froth in 20 minutes, so all crossings larger than 2 kilometres are to be treated with caution. Crossings of 4 kilometres or more are only for the foolhardy.

Camping in windy conditions can be quite interesting: a canoe flying through the air, touching down with a crunch every 10 feet will make for an amusing story, after you get back home. Lifejackets are among the first items to take to the air, so tie, buckle, zip, or weigh them down. Some extra rope or parachute cord is handy to help secure tents: for some tents it is possible to tie directly to their poles, which are very strong attachment points. Firelighting and campfire maintenance are also more difficult with wind: try using the canoes to create a windbreak, but if they get any hotter than lukewarm to the touch you'd better have lots of duct tape around to patch the hole!

Bears and other Critters

The animal world is a large part of why we chose to go canoeing. The possibility of seeing a bear or moose, trying to identify a brightly coloured bird, and listening to a cheeky squirrel's chirp all contribute to the connection with nature that a canoe trip develops faster than any other sort of travel. The question, therefore, is how can we coexist with the myriad inhabitants of the boreal forest?



One of the most commonly asked questions by people new to the outdoors is "what about bears". This is a valid concern: bears are big, powerful creatures deserving of respect. Naturally we don't want to get attacked by a bear, but humans are not the only ones in danger. The maxim "a fed bear is a dead bear" is a good one: If a bear wanders into your campsite, attracted by the smell of improperly packaged bacon and open bags of gorp, he may learn to associate humans with easy pickin's in the food department. Once a bear has made this connection it is as good as dead; it is only a matter of time before someone has to go and shoot him to protect human lives and property. This is a preventable tragedy and you can do your part to prevent it from happening!

So how do we bearproof a camp? The basic idea is to minimise all odours and smells as much as possible. Promptly clean up and burn any food spills. If you've been fishing and the lake is deep throw the remains into the water, not along shore. Food fights are a definite no-no. Don't cook right by the tents; try to have the cooking area at least 50 feet away from the sleeping area.

All food supplies should be plastic-wrapped, and these packages in turn should be in a food barrel or large, thick, plastic bag. Double packaging will not only keep the bears away but will also waterproof your food in the event of an upset. The clear bags used to package sand at some building supply stores are perfect. Pots and pans, with their residual food odours, should also be stored in a smellproof bag or barrel at night and when not in use. NEVER take ANY food into your tent. This rule needs to be emphasised when travelling with kids who generally like the idea of eating chips while sequestered in their sleeping bags. At night it is a good idea to divide your food into two groups and leave each pile in the forest at least 100 meters from your tents and cooking area. Don't dump the bags right on a game trail, but make sure that you can find them again yourself!

If you do end up face to face with a bear stay upright, talk in a low voice, and slowly back out of there. If there are several of you, stand in a line broadside to the bear so that it can see everyone. Don't hunch down; stay upright to appear as big as possible. Some people suggest dropping a backpack or jacket for the bear to sniff at while you retreat. Get into your canoes and paddle away. If you are really worried about bears carry 5 or 10% capsicum pepper spray. This is truly vicious stuff, not without its own dangers, but generally much safer than a 12 gauge.

Bears should not be the bogey-man of the boreal forest. Robert Perkins, who canoed the remote Back River solo, remarked that maybe people just fear the intangibles of the land; they feel uncomfortable in the unfamiliar surroundings and look for something they can project their fear onto. Often they choose the wolf or the bear as a scapegoat for their worries and apprehension. It is easier to shoot a wolf or bear than it is to deal with the underlying anxieties of wilderness travel. The more comfortable you get in the wilderness, the more coexistence with all the many animals of the northern forest will be possible.


Bugs are the mascot of the muskeg. Mosquitoes, blackflies, and no-see-ums ensure that the flowers get pollinated, the birds have something to eat, and that the North-country is not overrun by people. Bad bug conditions can drive you insane, however, and if you are canoe tripping in June and July you must take certain precautions. Carry either bug dope (Muskol and other DEET-containing mixtures are the best) or bug nets. Prudent people bring both and try to get away with using as little mosquito repellent as possible.

Make sure that you have some long-sleeve, tightly woven shirts: what the bugs can't get at they can't bite. Avoid darker colours, especially blue, which attract biting bugs in plague-like numbers; green is an excellent bug-neutral colour. In really bad conditions you might want to wear gloves as well as headnets, and make sure that your pants are tucked into your socks so that the blackflies won't leave bloody rings on both ankles.

Campsite selection is also important. The bugs will be worse near dense vegetation (grass, willows, etc.) and wet ground (swamps and puddles). An exposed site will be windier with less bugs. Usually the mosquitoes get worse after sundown, so a tripping schedule in mid-June might be early-to-bed and early-to-rise. Ensure that the netting on your tent's doors and windows is in good repair, and that all the zippers close fully. If your tent can keep the bugs out, a quick dive in through the door and a 5 minute mosquito hunt by flashlight will usually ensure a good night's sleep.

Wisconsin Canoe and Kayak Rivers


Wisconsin Canoe and Kayak Rivers. Use the navigation buttons below if you cannot see or use this image map.
Click the river's name on the map above, or use the text links below.

Bois Brule

La Crosse
Little Fox
Lower Wisconsin
Lower Wolf


Pine (NE Wisconsin)
Pine (SW Wisconsin)
Red Cedar

St. Croix
Upper Wisconsin


Canoe Trips

BARABOO RIVER – Baraboo - 18 miles. Put-in bridge on Highway 113. Upper portion winds through farmland, then passes through narrows. Several access points at bridges. Route joins Wiscon­sin River with take-out two miles down-stream at Dekorra.


BEAR RIVER - Lac du Flambeau - 25 miles. Put-in below dam at outlet of Flambeau Lake. Route suitable for novices. Upper portion meanders through marsh. Class I rapids. Numerous access sites and camp­sites along route. Take-out at  Murray's Landing on Flambeau Flowage.


BLACK RIVER - 4 mi. SW of Hatfield - 16 miles. Put-in at Halls Creek canoe landing in Black River State Forest. Slow-moving river, suitable for beginners and popular with fishermen. Dam portage at Black River Falls. Polling terrain. Camp­ing at Hawke Island. Take-out at Irving. River canoeable, with slow to medium current, to confluence with Mississippi River.


BOIS BRULE RIVER - 6mi. S of Lake Nebagamon - 35 miles. Put-in at Stone's Bridge canoe landing on Highway S. Scenic route through Brule River State Forest. Stretch above Highway 2 bridge, with Class I-Ill rapids, suitable for novices. Lower portion for experienced canoeists only. Two portages around Class III-IV Lenroot and May Ledges. Take-out at canoe landing at river mouth on Brule River Road. Bois Brule and Copper Range Campgrounds located on forest land.


BRULE RIVER - 5 mi. N of Tipler - 15.5 mi. Put-in Highway 139 bridge. Route follows border between Wisconsin and Michigan through Nicollet National Forest. Suit­able for novices. Class I-II rapids. Wilderness scenery. Take-out at canoe access site on Forest Road 2150. Camping on national forest land.

CHIPPEWA RIVER - Ojibwa State Park - 43 miles. Put-in at park. Portage around dam and rapids below Radisson Flowage. Class I-II rapids between confluence with Brunet River and Bruce. Flatwater canoeing on Holcombe Flowage. Takeout above dam on County Highway M in Holcombe.


CHIPPEWA RIVER - EAU CLAIRE - 50 miles. Put-in at boat launch off Menomoniee Street. Easy stretch past sandstone cliffs, wooded shores and sandy beaches. Numerous access sites along route. Take out at Route 35 bridge above confluence with Mississippi River.


CHIPPEWA RIVER - CORNELL - 31 miles. Put-in at Cornell Dam. Class II rapids. Route 178 parallels upper section of trip. Dam portage. Flatwater canoe­ing on Lake Wissota. Take-out at Lake Wissota State Park.


CLAM RIVER - 2 mi. S of Webster - 22 miles. Put-in at Highway 35 bridge. Easy route suitable for beginners. Fallen trees occasionally block river. Flat-water paddling on Clam Flowage. Take-out at Highway F bridge.


FLAMBEAU RIVER - 12 mi. NE of Ladysmith - 31 miles. Put-in at Flambeau Lodge. Slow-to fast-moving water with several Class I rapids. Two dam portages. Take-out at public landing at confluence with Chippewa River.


FLAMBEAU RIVER - 8 mi. W of Fifield – 48 miles. Put-in at landing at Nine Mile Creek. Popular whitewater route through Flambeau River State Forest. Upper portion of trip includes class I rapids and some fast water. Lower portion includes numerous Class II rapids and several Class III rapids where portaging may be necessary in high water. Dam portages. Water slows at Lake Flambeau. Wilderness scenery. Rustic campgrounds along river. Numerous access sites. Take-out at Flambeau Lodge.


FLAMBEAU RIVER. NORTH FORK - 18 miles NE of Park Falls - 18 miles. Put-in at landing off Highway FF, south of Turtle Dam. Scenic, fast-moving river suitable for experienced canoeists. Numerous Class 11­111 rapids. Large boulders and rock ledges. Rustic campsites along route. Five-mile flat stretch on Park Falls Flowage. Portages around old mill and dam. Take-out at public land­ing on Saunders Avenue in Park Falls.


FLAMBEAU RIVER. SOUTH FORK 14.5 mi. E of Fifield. 29 miles. Put-in at Fishtrap Campground in Chequamegon National Forest. Class I-III rapids. Dam portages.


FLAMBEAU RIVER. SOUTH FORKLugerville - 24 miles. Put-in at County Highway F. White-water route for experienced canoeists. Class I-III rapids. Portage at Little Falls Rapids. Take-out at Hervas landing.


FOX RIVER – Portage -18 miles. Put-in on Adams Street. Route be­gins on Portage Canal connecting Wisconsin and Fox Rivers. Easy paddle along historic trade route. Dam portage. Flatwater paddling on Buffalo Lake. Take out in Montello.


HORICON MARSH – Horicon - distances vary. Put-in at green-head landing on east side of marsh. Canoeing allowed only in state owned southern portion of marsh. Spectacular waterfowl migrations in spring and fall. Canoeing not en­couraged during hunting season. For current conditions, check with Department of Natural Resources. Palmatory Street, Horicon, WI 53032. Call: (414***) 485-3000.


KICKAPOO RIVER - Ontario - 20 miles. Put-in at canoe landing at intersection of Routes 33 and 131. Slow-flowing river meanders through farmland and past limestone and sandstone bluffs. Subject to flooding. Numerous access sites at bridges  Highway 131 parallels river. Camping, at Wildcat Mountain State Park. Take-out at La Farge. River canoeable to Wauzeka at confluence with Wisconsin River.


LEMONWIER RIVER - 5 mi. N of Camp Douglas. 38 miles. Put-in at canoe access site on County Highway H. Gentle, slow-moving river. Three dam portages. Sand­stone rock formations at Little Dells, between New Lisbon and Mauston. Sloughs and backwaters below Lemonweir. Several camp­grounds along route. Take out at boat landing above confluence with Wisconsin River.


MANITOWISH RIVER - Manitowish river. 20 miles. Put-in at Highway 51 bridge. Class I rapids. Route passes through large marsh are where side trips to back waters offer wildlife viewing. Several camp­grounds and rustic campsites along river. No access points between Manitowish and take-out. Take-out at Murray's Landing North Shore of Flambeau Flowage.


MANITOWISH WATERS - 6 miles E of Manitowish waters. distances vary. Chain of lakes in Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest. Put-in at boat landing on Island Lake. Nearly a dozen small lakes joined by streams. Numerous access sites and camp­sites along lakes, rivers and streams.


MARENGO - BAD RIVERS 2 mi. N of Highbridge - 13 miles. Put-in at bridge over Marengo River on Government Road. Scenic route through Bad River Indian Reservation. Joins Bad River about five miles downstream. Several Class I rapids. Take out at bridge on Elm Hoist Road.


MISSISSIPPI RIVER - Wyalusing State Park.  Distances vary. Put-in at boat landing. Signed canoe route through sloughs and backwaters. Brochure available at park office. Wildlife and bird-watching.

NAMEKAGON RIVER - 7 mi. NW of Clam Lake - 62.5 miles. Put-in at Namekagon Lake Campground. Route crosses Namekagon Lake in Chequamegon National Forest to Namekagon Dam. After dam portage, route enters St. Croix National Scenery Riverway. Upper portion of route passes through forest, then river widens and meanders through valley. Waterfowl watching in marshy areas. Several Class I rapids and dam portages. Take-out at Trego Park in Trego.


NAMEKAGON RIVER – Trego - 39.5 mi. Put-in at Trego Park. Route with-in boundaries of St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. Portage at Trego Dam. Joins St. Croix River. Class I rapids above Big Island. Numerous access sites and campgrounds along route. Take-out at Riverside Land­ing.


PESHTIGO RIVER - 1 mi. NW of Cavour - 23 miles. Put-in at Dig Joe Campground in Nicollet National Forest. Portion above CCC Bridge suitable for be­ginners. Middle portion of section includes short, rocky rapids, possibly hazardous for novices. Portages may be necessary due to falling trees blocking river. Class I-IT rapids nine miles above Burnt Bridge. Final leg of trip requires portages at Michigan Rapids and the Dells. Take-out at Burton Wells Bridge.


RED CEDAR RIVER - Sand Creek - 23 miles Put-in at village park on County Highway V. Route suitable for beginners. Moderate, steady current. Numerous access sites. Take-out at park on Tainter Lake.


RED CEDAR RIVER – Menomonie - 14 miles. Put-in at Riverside Park on Route 29. Easy rapids. Exposed rocks in low water. Wooded, sand­stone cliffs. Take-out at County Highway Y.

ST. CROIX RIVER - 5 mi. W of Gordon - 22 miles. Put-in below Gordon Dam on County Highway Y. Whitewater run with Class I-II rapids. Portage around dam and rocky rapids. Take-out at Riverside Landing.

ST. CROIX RIVER – Riverside - 46.5 miles. Put-in at Riverside Landing on Route 35. Rustic scenery along St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. Rapids range fro Class I in summer and autumn to Class II-III during spring flood­ing. Numerous access points and campsites along route. Take-out at canoe landing at Route 70 bridge.


TOMAHAWK RIVER - 9.5 mi. SW of Hazelhurst. 18 miles. Put-in below dam on Willow Dam Road. Class I-II rapids. Portage at Half Breed Rapids. Take out at access site on Prairie Rapids Road.


TURTLE RIVER - 5 mi. NE of Mercer. 22 miles. Put-in on landing at Cedar Lake. Dam portage. Route meanders through Spider, Oxbow, Echo, Rice and Pike Lakes. Class I-IT rapids Portage at rapids at Lake of the Falls outlet. Take out on County Highway FF.


Turtle-Flambeau Flowage - 4.5 mi. W of Mercer. distances vary. Put-in at Lake of the Falls County Highway FF. 18,900-acre flowage includes nine lakes with over 150 miles of shoreline arid many undeveloped islands. Numerous state campsites. Wind can cause heavy waves on large shallow lake


WAUPACA CHAIN O1LAKES – 3 mi. SW of Waupaca. distances vary. Put-in public landing on Taylor Lake. 22 spring-fed, in­terconnected lakes, ranging in size from 2.5 acres to over 115 acres Depths vary to 100 feet. Smooth paddling - no wake speed limit on all but largest lakes. Rainbow, Pound, Columbian and Long Lakes.


WISCONSIN RIVER - 5 mi. NW of White Creek  13.5 miles Put-in on east bank of river below Castle Pock Dam, Passes Castle Pock, towering rock pillar once seastack in glacial lake covering Wiscon­sin. Several access points along route. Take-out on west bank opposite Clark Island.

WISCONSIN RIVER - PRAIRIE du SAC. 60 miles. Put-in at Route 12 bridge. Fast-moving, sometimes shallow river. Shifting sand­bars. Water level can fluctuate several feet. Primitive camping on public islands. Take­out at Toer Hill State Park.


WISCONSIN RIVER - 3 mi. SE of Land O1Lakes -  56 miles Put-in at Lac Vieux Desert Campground. Route suitable for beginners, with flatwater canoeing on Watersmeet Lake and Rainbow Flowage. Dam portage below Eagle River. Easy rapids below dam. Take-out at Rainbow Dam.


WOLF RIVER - LILY - 15 miles. Put-in at confluence of Lily and Wolf Rivers. Scenic stretch with, Class I-II rapids and many granite boulders. Access point midway at Hollister. Known for excellent trout fishing. Take-out at Langlade.




WOLFE RIVER - MARKTON -24 mi. Put-in at Wayside Park. Rugged route, for expert canoeists only, through Menominee Indian Reservation. Numerous Class II -IV Rapids. Portage around falls. Take-out in Kenshena.



Put-in at boat ramp. Mainly flat-water route through Lake Mendota Lake Monona. Mud Lake, Lake Waubesa and Lake Kegonsa. High winds may make canoeing hazardous on Lake Mendota. Lock connects

Lakes Mendota and Monona. Take-out at Lake Kegonsa State Park. River canoeable, with several dam portages, to confluence with Rock River.


YELLOW RIVER – 6.5 mi. W of Spooner - 45 miles. Put-in at Route 70 bridge. Route suitable for novices with easy rapids and riffles. Flatwater canoeing on Rice, Yellow and Little Yellow Lakes. Take-out at bridge below Little Yellow Lake on County Highway U.


Planning a Safe Trip

Choose a canoe route that does not exceed your skill level. A novice is some-one with little or no canoeing experience, but with the ability to swim in most water conditions. An intermediate has some experience in canoeing and in­struction in canoeing skills, is able to handle Class I and II rapids easily, and can negotiate large bodies of water. An expert has had extensive instruction and experience in canoeing under a variety of situations, and is able to negotiate difficult rapids (Class II and up) and large bodies of water. Expert canoeists also know emergency and rescue procedures.

Obtain maps and water level information before your trip. Water levels change the conditions on rivers in short periods of time; call the DNR Informa­tion Center to get an up-to-date report on the river you plan to visit.

Use a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device. State law requires that one be accessible in the canoe for each person on board. (Wet suits and helmets are recommended for canoeists and kayakists in rough whitewater.) Bring a spare paddle.

Scout rapids. Stop upstream of rapids, get out of the canoe and survey the river for hidden dangers and possible routes through the rapids. When in doubt, portage it out.

Always portage around dams. Canoeists have drowned trying to canoe over small dams during high water. What looks like an easy whitewater drop over the dam is an extreme hazard for canoeists. These dams create a strong recircu­lating current that can trap even strong swimmers wearing life vests below the surface.

Be prepared. Some stretches of river are remote, with a high frequency of fallen trees or other debris that can be trickier to navigate than rapids.

State designated canoe rivers are maintained to provide safe and enjoyable ca­noeing experiences. Weather factors, such as high winds or heavy rainfall, may create hazardous conditions on some river stretches. If you should encounter a safety problem, please contact the DNR Trails and Waterways Unit or the local county sheriff.


Safety AfloatSafety Afloat

Safety Afloat has been developed to promote boating and boating safety and to set standards for safe unit activity afloat. Before a BSA group may engage in an excursion, expedition, or trip on the water (canoe, raft, sailboat, motorboat, rowboat, tube, or other craft), adult leaders for such activity must complete Safety Afloat Training, No. 34159, have a commitment card, No. 34242, with them, and be dedicated to full compliance with all nine points of Safety Afloat.

1. Qualified Supervision

All activity afloat must be supervised by a mature and conscientious adult age 21 or older who understands and knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of the children in his or her care, who is experienced and qualified in the particular watercraft skills and equipment involved in the activity, and who is committed to compliance with the nine points of BSA Safety Afloat. One such supervisor is required for each 10 people, with a minimum of two adults for any one group. At least one supervisor must be age 21 or older, and the remaining supervisors must be age 18 or older. All supervisors must complete BSA Safety Afloat and Safe Swim Defense training and rescue training for the type of watercraft to be used in the activity, and at least one must be trained in CPR. It is strongly recommended that all units have at least one adult or older youth member currently trained as a BSA Lifeguard to assist in the planning and conducting of all activity afloat.

For Cub Scouts: The ratio of adult supervisors to participants is one to five.

2. Physical Fitness

All persons must present evidence of fitness by a complete health history from a physician, parent, or legal guardian. Adjust all supervision, discipline, and protection to anticipate any risks associated with individual health conditions. In the event of any significant health conditions, a medical evaluation by a physician should be required by the adult leader.

3. Swimming Ability

A person who has not been classified as a "swimmer" may ride as a passenger in a rowboat or motorboat with an adult swimmer, or in a canoe, raft, or sailboat with an adult who is trained as a lifeguard or a lifesaver by a recognized agency. In all other circumstances, the person must be a swimmer to participate in an activity afloat. Swimmers must pass this test:

Jump feet-first into water over your head. Swim 75 yards in a strong manner using one or more of the following strokes:

sidestroke, breaststroke, trudgen, or crawl; then swim 25 yards using an easy resting backstroke. The 100 yards must be swum continuously and include at least one sharp turn. After completing the swim, rest by floating. This qualification test should be renewed annually.

4. Personal Flotation Equipment

Properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) must be worn by all persons engaged in activity on the open water (rowing, canoeing, sailing, boardsailing, motorboating, waterskiing, rafting, tubing, kayaking, and surfboarding). Type II and III PFDs are recommended.

5. Buddy System

All activity afloat necessitates using the buddy system. Not only must every individual have a buddy, but every craft should have a buddy boat when on the water.

6. Skill Proficiency

All participants in activity afloat must be trained and experienced in watercraft handling skills, safety, and emergency procedures. (a) For unit activity on white water, all participants must complete special training by a BSA Aquatics Instructor or qualified whitewater specialist. (b) Powerboat operators must be able to meet requirements for the Motorboating merit badge or equivalent. (c) Except for whitewater and powerboat operation as noted above, either a minimum of three hours' training and supervised practice or meeting requirements for "basic handling tests" is required for all float trips or open-water excursions using unpowered craft.

For Cub Scouts: Canoeing, kayaking, rowing, and rafting for Cub Scouts (including Webelos Scouts) are to be limited to council/district events on flat water ponds or controlled lake areas free of powerboats and sailboats. Prior to recreational canoeing and kayaking, Cub Scouts are to be instructed in basic handling skills and safety practices.

7. Planning

For Cub Scouts: Cub Scout canoeing, kayaking, rowing, and rafting do not include "trips" or "expeditions" and are not to be conducted on running water (i.e., rivers or streams); therefore, some procedures are inapplicable. Suitable weather requires clear skies, no appreciable wind, and warm air and water.

8. Equipment

All equipment must be suited to the craft, to water conditions, and to the individual; must be in good repair; and must satisfy all state and federal requirements. Spare equipment or repair materials must be carried. Appropriate rescue equipment must be available for immediate use.

9. Discipline

All participants should know, understand, and respect the rules and procedures for safe unit activity afloat. The applicable rules should be presented and learned prior to the outing, and should be reviewed for all participants at the water's edge just before the activity begins. When Scouts know and understand the reasons for the rules, they will observe them. When fairly and impartially applied, rules do not interfere with the fun. Rules for safety, plus common sense and good judgment, keep the fun from being interrupted by tragedy.

Note: For cruising vessels (excluding rowboats, canoes, kayaks, and rafts, but including sailboats and powerboats greater than 20 feet long) used in adult-supervised unit activities by a chartered Venturing crew/ship specializing in watercraft operations, or used in adult-supervised program activity in connection with any high-adventure program or other activity under the direct sponsorship and control of the National Council, the standards and procedures in the Sea Scout Manual may be substituted for the Safety Afloat standards.

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

Properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) must be worn by all persons engaged in activity on the open water (rowing, canoeing, sailing, boardsailing, motorboating, waterskiing, rafting, tubing, and kayaking).

Only U.S. Coast Guard-approved equipment (types I, II, or III) is acceptable for use in Scouting aquatics. Ski belts are not acceptable. Scouts and unit leaders should learn which type is appropriate for each specific circumstance and how to wear and check for proper fit.

Canoeing the Rivers of Hidden Valleys

Kickapoo Valley Reserve


The Kickapoo River has been a favorite among canoeists for many years. The word "Kickapoo" is from the Native American Algonquian language meaning "he who goes here, then there." Translated locally as the "crooked river," it certainly lives up to its name, meandering its way along a 125-mile course that covers only 65 miles "as the crow flies." The shallow, gently flowing river is tame enough for the beginner but challenging enough for the advanced paddler as well. The upper stretch of the river from Ontario to La Farge is arguably the most beautiful, if not the most accessible for the public to enjoy.


The river is a textbook example of an entrenched dendretic river system. It is the longest river completely within the driftless portion of the upper Midwest and has been suggested by some geologists to be the oldest river system in the world outside of Antarctica. Over a period of millions of years, the river has carved a valley that varies from less than a mile wide at its greatest to a narrow gap at other places.

The river is fed by a number of smaller streams and tributaries, many of which offer excellent trout fishing opportunities. Springs and free-flowing wells contribute to keeping the river cool year round.

Log jams are a natural occurrence along the Kickapoo. Be careful when swimming or portaging. The cool water temperature, deep pools with surprisingly strong currents, and hidden logs can be hazardous.


The river will take you through both Wildcat Mountain State Park and the Kickapoo Valley Reserve.

A bird survey conducted in 1997 along the upper Kickapoo found that there are over 100 species of breeding birds that call the area home. Among them are several species considered either threatened or endangered such as the Kentucky Warbler and the Louisiana Waterthrush.

Other forms of wildlife often seen along the river include muskrats, beaver, white-tailed deer, raccoons, woodchucks, mink, and otters. The best opportunities for viewing wildlife are often early in the morning and on weekdays when traffic on the river is lightest.

The native flora is as diverse as the fauna here in the valley.  Short grass prairie remnants and Pleistocene era relicts are a few of the unique features found only in this special part of the driftless region. The imposing sandstone cliffs that line the river along your route are home to a number of rare and endangered species that are holdovers from the time of the last great ice age. Towering old growth pines and hemlocks shade you as you travel down the river where you’ll also see numerous species of ferns and mosses clinging to the weeping sandstone cliffs. Over 300 species of plants provide a constant display of color from early spring through late fall along the river.


Over the years, the canoe rental businesses and individual paddlers have established a simplified timetable for canoe trips.  Obviously, times are estimates and may vary with water levels, skill, and number of rest stops along the way:

Ontario Canoe Landing To:


Lower Picnic Area - Wildcat Mountain State Park

3 hours

Bridge 5

3 hours 15 minutes

Bridge 7 

3 hours 45 minutes

Bridge 8 - Winchel Valley Road

4 hours 15 minutes

Bare Beach Camp Area/canoe access - CTH P East

4 hours 45 minutes

Landing 12

5 hours 45 minutes

Bridge 14

6 hours 30 minutes

Bridge 20 - La Farge/Highway 82 intersection

9 hours 30 minutes

(Note:  To estimate time from starting points other than Ontario, simply subtract new starting point from end point.)

If you plan an overnight trip, there are a number of lodging options available. Campgrounds, bed and breakfasts, motels, and cabins are listed in the Kickapoo Watershed Businesses directory. The Kickapoo Valley Reserve allows primitive, low impact camping. All visitors are encouraged to use campsites listed in the visitor’s guide. Camping fees are required; camping permits may be purchased at the Visitor Center or one of thirteen self-registration stations on the Reserve.  Low impact standards for camping and a pack-it-in, pack-it-out policy of litter control will be enforced.

Safety is a primary concern when planning a canoe trip. Always carry a personal flotation device for every member of your party - it’s the law. Bring proper provisions along including a change of clothing, plenty of drinking water, insect repellent, sunscreen, plastic bags for removal of trash, and a first aid kit. The Kickapoo River is well known for rapidly changing water levels. The river will rise quickly during a heavy rain.  At the first sign of threatening weather, be prepared to seek shelter on higher ground. Think safety first and enjoy your trip down the river that time forgot, the beautiful and majestic Kickapoo.



Minnesota Canoeing

MN Canoe and boating guides

Canoe and boating guides include a map and description of public access points, campsites, rest areas, navigational features and river miles. They are available for 25 of the 28 Minnesota designated canoe routes and the Vermillion River through the DNR Information Center. You can have them mailed or pick them up at DNR offices that stock them. The guides are free, with a ten map limit per request. Descriptions for all guides are below, including digital versions of the guide's map that can be viewed and printed.

Canoe route locations in Minnesota.

Big Fork River
Cannon River
Chippewa River
Cloquet River
Cottonwood River
Crow River, North Fork
Crow Wing River
Des Moines River
Kettle River
Little Fork River
Long Prairie River
Minnesota River
Mississippi River (Hastings to the Iowa Border)
Otter Tail River
Pine River

Pomme de Terre River
Red Lake River
Red River of the North
Root River
Rum River
Sauk River
Snake River
St. Croix River
St. Louis River
Straight River
Vermilion River
Watonwan River
Whitewater River
Zumbro River (including Whitewater River)

A sample panel from the Root River site, above.



Where to go… Hiking



Historic Trails Award

Historic Trails Award
An award that may be earned by members of a Boy Scout troop, Varsity Scout team, or Venturing crew for hiking a trail listed in Nationally Approved Historic Trails and completing a project related to the trail.

Nationally Approved Historic Trails

Locate Trails

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More than 300 trails have been approved for Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Venturers, and family campers. The Boy Scouts of America strongly recommends that hikers use only historic trails that have been nationally approved. Trails that have not been approved often do not meet Scouting standards.

Each trail is different. They vary considerably in length, overnight accommodations, markings, terrain, and awards. This type of information is available from the contacts indicated.

Hikers should organize themselves so that no more than 12 nor less than 3 hike in one group with proper leadership. Groups with more than 12 members should organize into two or more smaller groups that operate independently along the trail, again with proper leadership in each group. This helps to maintain the backcountry atmosphere for everyone using the trail, offers a better opportunity for observing wildlife, and makes it easier to keep the group together. Large groups tend to become strung out along the trail.

Each trail listed has been rated by the trail operator so that prospective hikers may determine the suitability of the trail for each of the various age groups.

Some regional listings, as of fall, 2006:


Diamond Trail


Diamond Trail, Inc.
P.O. Box 555
Newton, IA 50208



Gold Trail


Mid-America Council, BSA
12401 W. Maple Road
Omaha, NE 68164-1853






Hoover Trail


Hoover Trail Committee
P.O. Box 444
West Branch, IA 52358






Kate Shelley Trail


Kate Shelley Trail, Inc.
P.O. Box 134
Boone, IA 50036


Blue & Gold Trail


Mid-America Council, BSA
12401 W. Maple Road
Omaha, NE 68164-1853






Red Trail


Mid-America Council, BSA
12401 W. Maple Road
Omaha, NE 68164-1853






IOWA, cont.


Blue Trail


Mid-America Council, BSA
12401 W. Maple Road
Omaha, NE 68164-1853






Sac and Fox Trail


City of Cedar Rapids Park Department
Indian Creek Nature Center
6665 Otis Road, SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52403




800-735-5557 (Toll Free)



Brown Trail


Mid-America Council, BSA
12401 W. Maple Road
Omaha, NE 68164-1853






Charles Larpenteur Trail


Mid-America Council, BSA
12401 W. Maple Road
Omaha, NE 68164-1853






White Trail


Mid-America Council, BSA
12401 W. Maple Road
Omaha, NE 68164-1853






Chief Wapello Trail


Chief Wapello Trail Committee, Inc.
111 North Webster
Ottumwa, IA 52501









Algonquin Woods Nature Trail


Boy Scout Troop 6
c/o Karl Lindahl, Trailmaster
Trinity Lutheran Church
675 E. Algonquin Road
Des Plaines, IL 60016



Belleville Historical Trail


Troop 83, St. Clair District
Okaw Valley Council, BSA
1801 N. 17th Street
Belleville, IL 62223-6122



Old Nauvoo Trail


Old Nauvoo Trail
716 East Oakton Street
Arlington Heights, IL 60004



Blackhawk Trail


Blackhawk Area Council, BSA
1800 Seventh Avenue
P.O. Box 4085
Rockford, IL 61110-0585








Rapatuck Trail


Illowa Council, BSA
311 East Main, Room 607
Galesburg, IL 61401-4895






Cahokian Trail


William L. Barton Jr.
Troop 81
5806 State Route 162
Glen Carbon, IL 62034



Chief Shabbona Trail


Snyder Watson
1515 Burry Avenue
Joliet, IL 60435






Stephenson Blackhawk Trail


Lena Community Park District
609 North Schuyler Street
Lena, IL 61048






ILLINOIS, cont. 


Lewis & Clark Trail


Lewis & Clark Trail Association
P.O. Box 385
Wood River, IL 62095



Sun Singer Trail


Sun Singer Trail Committee
P.O. Box 50
Monticello, IL 61856



Lincoln Circuit Trail


Prairielands Council, BSA
907 W. Marketview, Ste. 6
Champaign, IL 61826-6267





Trail of the Fu Dogs


Sun Singer Trail Committee
P.O. Box 50
Monticello, IL 61856



Lincoln Heritage Trail


John Washburn
2051 S. Gate Drive
Decatur, IL 62521



Abraham Lincoln Trail


Abraham Lincoln Council, BSA
1911 W. Fairhills Mall
West Monroe at Chatham Road
Springfield, IL 62704-1596






Martyrdom Trail


Martyrdom Trail Committee
Rt. 1, Box 57
P.O. Box 223
Nauvoo, IL 62345






Martyrdom Trail


Martyrdom Trail Committee
P.O. Box 223
Nauvoo, IL 62354



Kankakee River Heritage Trail


Rainbow Council #702
2600 N. Winterbottom Road
Morriss, IL 60450



(815) 942-4450





Fort Snelling Historic Trail


Indianhead Council, BSA
393 Marshall Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55102-1795






Saint Paul Historic Trail (L'Etoile du Nord)


Indianhead Council, BSA
393 Marshall Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55102-1795









Northwest Voyageurs Brigade


Northern Tier High Adventure, BSA
Box 509
Ely, MN 55731-0509



Fax 218-365-3112





Ice Age National Scenic Trail


Potawatomi Area Council, BSA
N. 12 West 24498 Bluemound Road
P.O. Box 528
Waukesha, WI 53187-0528

Kettle Moraine State Forest - Southern Unit
S91 W 39091 Hwy. 59
Eagle, WI 53119











Milwaukee History Trail


Milwaukee History Trail
9711 West Metcalf Place
Milwaukee, WI 53222






Ozaukee Historic "76" Bike Trail


Thomas E. Weigend
11511 North East Gate Drive, 52 West
Mequon, WI 53092-2002






Hixton Forest

Hixton Forest Nature Center

2702 Quarry Rd
La Crosse, WI, 54601

Telephone Number(s)
Voice: 608-784-0303

Hixon Forest and the La Crosse River Marsh are beautiful natural areas with amazing varieties of plant and animal life. The easiest way to see and hear these wonderful creatures is to hike along one of the many trails that run through the forest and marsh.

One very interesting route is the River to Bluff Trail. This is a unique hike which starts at Riverside Park on the bank of the Mississippi. It then winds through the marsh and Hixon Forest and ends 400 feet up the bluffs at a native prairie overlooking the river valley. Even though this five mile trail travels through the middle of the city of La Crosse, it never crosses over a single street.

(Maps: Their web site has temporary broken links – likely fixed by the time you see this.)

Hiking Trails in Wisconsin




(Also see Wisconsin State Trails under Where to go… Biking, as most are dual-use.)

Minnesota Hiking Trails


Wheelchair-user navigating a trail.Douglas State Trail

Wheelchair symbol: accessible recreation opportunities.The 13-mile Douglas State Trail, cuts through agricultural land, scattered woodlots and occasional small wetlands from Rochester to Pine Island. The asphalt paving throughout its length does not extend across the gravel roads that cross the trail. Vault toilets are not accessible. Most toilets and the handpump at Douglas have grass approaches. At Pine Island, the ramp from the parking lot to the trail has a potentially hazardous (approximately 35 percent) slope. This slope can be avoided by getting into or out of vehicles where the trail crosses the road.

Get more information on the Douglas State Trail.


Root River State Trail

Wheelchair symbol: accessible recreation opportunities.In hilly, southeastern Minnesota, the Root River State Trail descends into the Root River Valley from the town of Fountain, traveling east along dramatic limestone bluffs. The trail begins at a paved, curbless parking lot in Fountain. Non-accessible bathrooms with water are available in the city park. Within the first mile is a long 5% grade. The next 5 miles east of Fountain is a 3% grade to Isinours Forestry Unit. There is a gravel curbless parking lot here, with non-accessible bathrooms and a hand pump. The trail follows the river, going through lovely, historic towns.

Approximately 3 miles east of Lanesboro is a 1/8 mile reroute with 2 short hills of 5% grades. One-half mile east of Whalan a gravel patch connects the trail to a curbless gravel parking lot. There are 2 vault toilets there and no drinking water. One-quarter mile east of the gravel parking lot you will find a trail reroute with an 8 percent, 60-yard slope uphill. Peterson has no DNR facilities and parking is on city streets or at the football field. No curbs exist between the road and trail. Between Peterson and Rushford, no further barriers exist. The Rushford parking lot is asphalt. A curbless concrete path connects the trail and the lot, which has designated handicapped parking spots.

The old Rushford railroad depot, now an interpretive center, is reached by brick sidewalk. The center's restrooms are designed to be accessible, but drinking fountains are not.

Six miles east of Rushford there is a 500' bridge across the Root River with 3% approaches for 300 feet. Half a mile further east is a 350 foot long 5% grade. For the next 3/4 mile grades vary from 0% to 5% up and down. Then there is a 2,000 foot long 5% grade, approximately 600 feet of level grades before a 2,700 foot, 5% downhill. the next 1/4 mile has short grades of 2%-5% hills. the remainder of the trail into Houston is fairly level with no grades that exceed 3%. Until the approach to the dike 1 mile west of Houston. This approach has a 5% grade for 350 feet. Finally, you will find a 4% slope leading into the parking lot.

Click for more information on the Root River State Trail.


Hiking Trails in Illinois

Illinois DNR Hiking Trails

Region 1 (NW)

Region 2 (NE)


Where to go… Skiing



Cross Country Skiing Techniques


Your Guide To Cross Country Skiing
Winter Trails Nordic skiers
Cross country skiing is a terrific way to enjoy the great outdoors in winter. The pleasures of cross country skiing can take your mind off the stresses of the daily grind, whether you seek the solitude of solo skiing or are spending some quality time with family and friends. It's also a great aerobic activity, enabling you to burn up hundreds of calories per hour without straining joints such as ankles and knees. You'll get a low-impact workout while enjoying the outdoors, and the scenery sure beats the view at your local health club.

But as with any new sport, cross country skiing can seem daunting to newcomers. Novices can be baffled by the variety of equipment choices and even the unfamiliar words. This guide is designed to put you at ease and give you basic information that will help you get started the right way.


Gear Up
Before renting or purchasing equipment, ask yourself a few questions: Will you ski two times a year or more? Where do you plan to ski? The terrain and location helps determine your equipment choices. Cross country skiing allows you to choose from a variety of locations. Parks, golf courses, hiking trails or cross country ski areas are all good choices. Determining your projected commitment level will help you decide whether to rent, lease or buy equipment.

Your equipment options include:

Ultimately, owning your equipment allows you continuity, comfort and control as you progress through skiing's learning stages and can also save you time and money in the long run.

Where you plan to ski the most will influence what type of equipment you use. There are basically several types of cross country skis, designed for different activities:

Traditional In-Track Touring Skis: These skis are often used with a traditional kick-and-glide motion on maintained track systems set by special grooming machines. They also can be used on ungroomed terrain. They have minimal sidecut so the skis will stay in the tracks. (Sidecut refers to the narrowness of the middle part of the skis in relation to the wider tip and tail.)

Off-Track Touring Skis: These skis are often used to navigate ungroomed terrain in parks, open fields and on golf courses. They are wider than in-track touring skis and provide more flotation and stability in fresh snow.

Skating Skis: These skis are used with a skating-type stride on groomed trails. They are shorter, narrower and lighter than traditional cross country skis. The technique is similar to inline skating, except poles are also used. Skating skis can provide the ultimate fitness workout.

Backcountry Skis: These skis are for the more adventurous, who are exploring the backcountry and experiencing variable snow conditions. They can be as wide as alpine skis, for better flotation, and feature metal edges for more control.

Wax vs. waxless: Although more advanced skiers prefer waxing their skis, most enjoy the convenience of waxless skis. If you buy waxless skis, you can strap them on and go.

The boots you choose can make cross country skiing a real pleasure. Comfortable,warm boots are the most important component of the equipment package. Boots should be moderately rigid to resist twisting or deformity.

Look for a boot with some insulation between the inner lining and the outer shell .Classic touring boots that come up over the ankle might be the best choice for new skiers. These boots offer lots of support, warmth and comfort. If you are planning to conquer the backcountry, look for sturdier, more rigid boots that offer the most support.

There are many types of cross country ski bindings available, but the basic concept is the same: Keep the toe and front of the boot locked in place,leave the heel and back part of the foot free to move up and down. Boots and bindings are usually sold together as they must work as a team.

Recreational boots are available in three binding systems: 75mm three-pin (uses three pins that mate with three holes in the boot sole); Salomon system; and Rottefella NNN (New Nordic Norm).

Poles are used to help you with your balance and for pushing off while skiing. Poles can be made from fiberglass, aluminum, graphite or some combination of these materials.

Measure up
Skis are measured in centimeters (cm). Your ski length will depend on your ability, height and weight along with the type of skiing you plan to do most often. A shop employee will help you decide on the appropriate length.

Cross country ski boots are sized in one of three ways — European sizes (numbers in the 30s and 40s), traditional American sizes (generally 6-12)and also "mondo point," which is simply the length of the boot in centimeters .Generally speaking, Nordic boots designed for skiing in tracks or light-duty trail breaking come in European sizing with American equivalents, while telemark and heavier-duty backcountry boots come in mondo sizing (some backcountry boots come in Euro sizes). Because of these various sizing methods, it's important to try on boots before buying them. When trying on boots, wear one pair of medium-weight or light-weight socks and a liner sock made of synthetic materials or silk. The fit should be snug and your heel should remain in place. You should be able to wiggle your toes.

Poles are measured in inches or in centimeters (cm).

Get going
Cross country skiing is relatively easy to learn, but first-timers should still take a lesson from a qualified instructor. Lessons can greatly enhance the experience.This is especially true if you don't have any experience ice skating, inline skating or exercising with a cross country skiing simulator.

Call ahead to the local area or destination resort to find out about beginner lessons and any special deals or packages that might be available. Make the ski school your first stop. Take a group or private lesson.

Winter Trails ® is part of a larger program called Winter Feels Good, a nationwide public awareness campaign that promotes the health, fitness, social aspects and benefits of snow sports participation.





Snowshoe Technique


Your Guide To Snowshoeing

Winter Trails snowshoerStrap on a pair of lightweight aluminum snowshoes and you'll quickly see why snowshoeing has become one of the fastest-growing winter sports. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. People are using snowshoes for a variety of activities — everything from hiking into pristine wilderness and aerobic conditioning to pure recreation with family and friends. They're using snowshoes for discovery and adventure, whether in far-off mountains or their own backyard.

Even though snowshoeing is easy to learn, it can still be intimidating to first-timers. First-timers can be overwhelmed by new technological advances and the variety of equipment choices. This guide is designed to give you some basic information that will help you get started snowshoeing the right way.

Gear Up
Before renting or purchasing equipment, ask yourself a few questions: How much do you think you'll be snowshoeing? Will you be snowshoeing only on a vacation or also near where you live? Determining your projected commitment level will help you decide whether to rent or to buy equipment.

Your equipment options include:

In general, modern snowshoes are made of a lightweight, aluminum frame with durable synthetic decking materials for flotation, and an easy-to-use, supportive binding system to hold your feet in place. Snowshoes can also be made of plastic or composite materials, while traditional snowshoes have a wood frame with rawhide lacing.

There are three categories of snowshoes, designed for different activities.

Recreational hiking/fitness/walking:
This includes winter walking, casual hiking and family outings. Snow conditions are primarily packed or broken snow trails over rolling terrain. These snowshoes generally feature a "bearpaw" or Western-style frame. This oval, symmetrical frame shape evenly distributes your weight for greater stability and balance. Built-in crampons ("teeth" that dig into the snow) on the snowshoe's frame maximize traction.

Running/aerobic fitness:
This includes winter running and fitness training, usually on packed or groomed trails. These snowshoes tend to be smaller and lighter than other styles of snowshoes. Some running/aerobic fitness snowshoes also have an asymmetric shape, allowing for more clearance and a natural, more efficient stride.

This includes making steep climbs and descents. Snow and terrain conditions are variable, including powder snow on unbroken trails and wind-packed snow. These snowshoes are generally the most durable, and are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions and use. They usually feature highly supportive binding systems, built-in toe and heel crampons for maximum traction and durable decking materials.

Measure up
Snowshoes are usually measured in inches. The size of the snowshoe you need depends on your weight and the snow/trail conditions you will be experiencing.

The type of snow you will be snowshoeing in can determine what style and size of snowshoe to use. Wet or icy snow conditions, often experienced in North America in the Northeast and Northwest, call for smaller snowshoes with grip-enhancing crampons. Plastic composite snowshoes can also be a good choice for these conditions because of their molded-in treads. Lighter, drier snow or fresh powder calls for a larger snowshoe with greater flotation. In general, keep in mind that unpacked snow will require a larger snowshoe.

Depending on the type of snowshoeing you are doing, the weather and the snow conditions, you have a choice of footwear. For casual recreational hiking and walking, insulated boots or rubber boots should be fine. For running and aerobic conditioning on packed snow, some athletes use running shoes. In powder snow, waterproof hiking shoes or boots are recommended. For hiking and backpacking, use waterproof, insulated hiking boots. If you're hiking in fresh powder, you may also want to wear gaiters (waterproof coverings for your lower legs), which will keep snow out of the top of your boots.

Many snowshoers use poles to help with their balance and rhythm. You can choose alpine, cross-country, or backcountry ski poles, which are made from fiberglass, aluminum, graphite or some combination of these materials. Backcountry poles are collapsible and height-adjustable, advantages that many snowshoers prefer.

Get going
You can either sign up for a short clinic (inquire at your local snow sport or outdoor shop) or just strap on the snowshoes and head out. Modern snowshoes, with their compact, streamlined frames, allow you to have a natural stride in varying snow conditions. You'll soon learn the proper technique to make the most of your new snowshoes. Not only is snowshoeing fun and easy to learn, but you also can do it in your backyard or local park.

Snowshoeing is a low-impact activity that allows you to burn between 420 and 1,000 calories per hour, depending on whether you are walking or running, on packed snow or powder. It's great cardiovascular conditioning and excellent winter cross-training for runners and cyclists.

Dress in layers and bring along a lightweight pack or waist pack with some high-energy foods such as fruit and energy bars, plus water or a sports drink. Don't forget to bring and use sunscreen.


Winter Trails ® is part of a larger program called Winter Feels Good, a nationwide public awareness campaign that promotes the health, fitness, social aspects and benefits of snow sports participation.

Regional Wisconsin/Minnesota Cross Country Skiing

Coulee Cross Country



Hixon Forest (La Crosse, WI)  <<<La Crosse Public Library list of stories about Hixton Forest

Perrot State Park (Trempealeau, WI) <<<Park Conditions

Coulee Experimental Forest (Barre Mills, WI) (approximately 15 miles east of La Crosse in La Crosse County. The forest consists of about 3,000 acres of public land open for hunting, cross-country skiing, hiking, and horseback riding, however, no camping or campfires are permitted)

Black River State Forest (Jackson Co, WI) <<<Park Conditions.

Wet Bark Trail (Houston , MN) <<<Park Conditions (5 miles west of Houston, MN)

St. Mary's University (Winona, MN) <<<Skiing and hiking. St. Mary's doesn't charge a trail fee, although a $2 daily donation is requested. For more information on skiing at St. Mary's, call 507/452–4430. Trails are open during daylight hours and maps are available at the Toner Student Center.

Great River Bluffs State Park (Nodine, MN) <<<Park Details

Levi's/Trow Mound (Clark Co. WI) <<<Park Conditions (East of Eau Claire, WI). Skiing, biking and hiking on County Forest land. Trail Fees For XC Skiing: $6/day. $3 children

Wildcat Mt. State Park (Ontario, WI) <<<Park Details & Conditions.

Wisconsin DNR trails <<<State Parks & Trails Cross Country Skiing Conditions

SW WI DNR Map <<<Map of facilities

Minnesota DNR Trails <<<SE MN Trail conditions at a glance.


Human Powered Trails (La Crosse, WI)


The Human Powered Trails were built by volunteers from the community and Human Powered Trails Inc., a not-for-profit corporation based in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Human Powered Trail's mission is simple. “To develop and maintain a first-class, human-powered, active recreational area.” We work closely with the La Crosse Parks Department and city officials to deliver professional trail-building know-how and muscle. Through the combined efforts of Human Powered Park members and community volunteers, many of you included, Human Powered Trails has succeeded in building over 10 miles of Shared-Use Trails that we can all be proud of and enjoy using.



Wisconsin DNR Park Conditions



(Also see Wisconsin State Trails under Where to go… Biking, as most are dual-use.)


LaCrosse County Forest Preserve


400 4th St. N., Room 208
La Crosse, WI, 54601

Telephone Number(s)
Voice: 608-785-9770
Fax: 608-785-5714

Web Site: http://www.co.la-crosse.wi.us


Cross Country Skiing:

Raymond C. Bice Forest Preserve, located 2 mi. E on Davis Rd. off SR 108 in Mindoro, WI, offers 6 mi. of trail in a wooded area from rolling to steep with scenic overlooks.

Goose Island Park, located 3 mi. S of La Crosse, WI, offers 3 trails, approx. 2 mi. long. the trails wind within 610 acreas of scenic Mississippi backwaters and hardwood bottom land.

When conditions permit, each trail is groomed weekly for skating and traditional styles.


Wisconsin Cross Country Ski Trails


(Also see Wisconsin State Trails under Where to go… Biking, as most are dual-use.)







Wisconsin Sleigh Rides




Wisconsin Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding





Wisconsin Tubing


"Camp, 22

Bear Paw Scout Camp, 19

Big River Campground, 39

Black River State Forest, 41

Bluebird Springs Recreation Area, 37

Brice Prairie Swarthout Park, 43

Brush Creek Campground, 40

Camp Ammon, 8

Camp Decorah, 21, 28

Camp Hiawatha, 21, 27

Camp Indian Trails, 24

Camp Ingawanis, 22

Camp Long Lake, 24

Camp Lowden, 26

Camp Maywood Wilderness, 20

Camp OH-DA-KO-TA, 23

Camp Twin Lakes, 20

Canyon Camp, 26

Crockett's Campground, 41

Crystal Lake Scout Reservation, 19

Cub Scout World, Camp Rokilio, 20

Devil's Lake State Park, 41

East Fork Campground, 39

Ed Bryant Scout Reservation, 24

Elroy Campground, 41

Flambeau Canoe Base, 19

Gamehaven Scout Reservation, 22

Gardner Dam Scout Camp, 20

Goose Island Campground, 38

Guide to Safe Scouting, 14

Hanna Venture Base, 19

Hoffman Park, 21, 30

Indian Mound Scout Reservation, 25

Jax Camp, 20

Jellystone Park Camp Resort & Three Bears Lodge, 42

La Riviere Park, 42

Lake Neshonoc South County Park, 43

Le Feber Northwoods Camp, 25

Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan Scout Reservation, 26

Mindoro Park, 43

Nelson Park, 43

Neshonoc Lakeside Campground, 37

Neshonoc Swarthout Park, 43

Ni-Sanak-Tani, 8

Order of the Arrow, 8

Outdoor Code, 13

Phillips Scout Camp, 19

Pow Wow Campground, 40

R. S. Lyle Scout Reservation, 23

Tesomas Scout Camp, 19

Tomah Campground, 40

Tomahawk Scout Reservation, 23

Veterans Memorial Campground and Park, 39

Wildcat Mountain State Park, 40

Winnebago Scout Reservation, 22

Wisconsin Scout Camps

Crystal Lake Scout Reservation, 19

Woodman Center for Camping and Education, 25