OA Canadian Odyssey

First OA Wilderness Adventure - Canadian Odyssey

Since its creation in 1999, the OA Wilderness Voyage (OAWV) program at Northern Tier High Adventure Base has provided life-changing opportunities for over 900 Arrowmen, who spend one week repairing portage trails in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in northern Minnesota (which covers 2 million acres of land and water), and a second week canoeing through the Boundary Waters. These trail improvements will last for many years to come and provide safe travels for the millions of visitors that travel to the Boundary Waters each year. To date the OAWV program has given over 1 million dollars worth of service to the Boundary Waters. Located just across the border in Canada, the Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario covers 1 million acres (with over 600 lakes) and receives over 250,000 visitors each year. However, even with that amount of traffic, the Quetico has hardly had any conservation work in the past 100 years.

The OAWV program has worked on Canadian portages in the past. In August 2004, OAWV Foremen volunteered for 10 days repairing the Nym to Batchewaung portage. In 2007, the program worked on its first international portage, Big Knife. (Some portages are located on one side of the U.S-Canadian border, but are used by both countries.) In 2008, the OAWV director staff proposed a Canadian branch to voyage.

Northern Tier, the National OA Committee, and the Ontario Ministry of National Resources approved this. With the Canadian program, Arrowmen paddle back to the United States from Canada during the second week of the Voyage. The OA Canadian Odyssey started in 2009. So far the program has completed work on one Canadian portage, and is working on a second.