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Our History

OA Wilderness Voyage

First Order of the Arrow Wilderness Voyage

The Order of the Arrow Wilderness Voyage (OAWV) was created in 1999 and was modeled after the success and service of the OA Trail Crew Program at Philmont Scout Ranch. This program operates out of the Charles L. Sommers canoe based at the B.S.A.’s Northern Tier National High Adventure Base in Ely, Minnesota. Wilderness Voyage is a 14-day trek experience broken into two distinct parts. Seven days of the journey is crew-based service on some of the hundreds of portage trails in the northern boundary waters. The second half of the Wilderness Voyage experience is a seven-day trek with the same service crew through the boundary waters. This trek is planned out by the crewmembers and can be modified to see some of the many beautiful waterfalls, rapids, landscapes, sunsets and Native American markings.

The success of this program was nationally recognized in 2003 when the United States Forest Service (USFS) awarded the program and the OA with a national award for youth support. The many miles and hours spent repairing and preserving portage trails along with Scouting’s excellent conservation record were included in the announcement of this award.

The accomplishments of the foreman, staff and participants in the OA Wilderness Voyage program would eventually lead to the development of the OA Canadian Odyssey in 2009 at the Canadian bases located within the Northern Tier family.