About the Northern Lakes Canoe Base

The Northern Lakes Girl Scout Canoe Base is the premier location for girls (over 12) and women to explore the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) and has provided all-female trips since the 1960s. The base is operated through the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes and Pines Council.

About the Alumni Association

The purpose of the Northern Lakes Canoe Base Alumni Association (NLCBAA) is to provide a continuing interest in, and support for, the mission and programs of the Northern Lakes Canoe Base in keeping with the policies of the Girl Scouts of the USA.

The NLCBAA is a non-profit organization made up of past canoe guides along with past participants, community members, and other friends of the base. Our goal is to guarantee that the program we all love continues to inspire new generations of girls by instilling in them a love of nature, a compassion for others, and a sense of self-worth.


For more frequent updates, please visit us on Facebook!

Current News & Announcements

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A MESSAGE FROM THE COUNCIL ABOUT SUMMER 2020: 

Dear Girl Scout Family, 

As our community situation continues to evolve during the pandemic, the plans for Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes and Pines must shift accordingly. Therefore, it is with heavy hearts that we announce the cancellation of all in-person resident, troop, and day camps through August 2020.

Trust me when I say I completely understand how heartbreaking this news is for our girls, families, volunteers, and staff. Canceling in-person summer camp is painful and emotional decision, but it is the right thing to do for our girls. As a member of Girl Scouts for 42-years, I can honestly say Girl Scout camp changed my life.

At the end of the day, the health and safety of our girls and members has (and always will) come first. While our camps adhere to the most stringent safety protocols, much is still unknown about when Minnesota and Wisconsin will be fully relieved of the Stay-at-Home directives. Social distancing and crowd limits will likely remain in effect throughout the summer, and too much is still unknown with respect to the spread of COVID-19. Please understand this was not a decision we chose to make, rather it was a decision we had to make.

Alternative Camp Programming 
Although we will not be meeting in person, we are working on special camp programs to welcome our campers – virtually. We remain committed to fulfilling our promise to offer high-quality outdoor experiences to our girls and volunteers. We will continue to share more about “GO Virtual” summer camp programming as plans become finalized.

We trust those who are impacted by this news will receive it with the courage, confidence and character that only a Girl Scout possesses. During this unique time in our history, remember Girl Scouting will be here for you, bringing opportunities to celebrate and experience the outdoors together.  I hope to see you this summer!

In Girl Scouting,

Leigh Ann Davis 
Chief Executive Officer 
Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes & Pines

Northern Lakes Canoe Base is working with current and former guides to bring everything you love about the outdoors right to your living room! Stay tuned for more information! 


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Summer 2018- That’s a Wrap!

This year was another great summer at the Girl Scout base, with 100% of our participants reporting they had a great, or very great, adventure.

We had 25 girls on NCRnW Session I. This is a big number for us! We had 5 crews enter the Quetico the day their trip started…after being stormbound in the Program Center until almost lunchtime! We played every game we knew, and the GITs dazzled us all with their interpretive reading of a favorite canoe base book, “Here Comes the Girl Scouts.”  Katherine Harrell wowed us with an impromptu voyageur lesson which makes me think she may watch that voyageur video even more than she lets on! The crews had great weather the rest of their trip – the council photographer came up and got some great shots of paddle-in day that will certainly be appearing in council publications. All had great stories about life-changing adventures, the magic of the trail and new friends they would keep in touch with, or at least remember, forever. It was awesome.

Another highlight — a former NCRnW participant bringing four friends back to the base, from Texas, for a 10-day canoe trip. I was impressed. No parents, and all except for the girl who did the recruiting were first-timers. They did great, of course!

We were excited to be invited to share the canoe base story twice in public settings this summer in Ely. In June, Doris and I presented at a Kiwanis breakfast meeting at the Grand Ely Lodge. Many heads nodded in agreement as Doris spoke about the early years, and knew many of the folks she referenced. In July, our neighbors on Leo Lane (the famous house on the cliff) invited us to present at a PEO meeting. PEO is a women’s organization that, as I understand, supports women pursuing higher education. After dessert and tea, we presented our story to about 30 Ely-area women, many of whom also already knew bits and pieces of our story, and a few who had been involved with Girl Scouts over the years. They were especially impressed with guides Caroline and Maddie, who were on base that session and came along to talk about our program today. These types of presentations are so valuable for our program, and something we look forward to every year.

In late July, we were approached by Keen shoes about the possibility of renting the property (grounds and showerhouse only) to them to co-host a fall event with the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters called a “Storycamp.” It was essentially an overnight camping trip sponsored entirely by Keen, where Keen provided the food (very delicious, cooked by chefs they flew in with pots and pans they had shipped to Ely) and attendees paddled into the wilderness in different directions on Saturday (which was a stunningly beautiful fall day) in canoes provided by Piragis (ours were already put away). Find out more at Keen’s article and website.