Northwoods Weekend and Day Canoe Courses

2017 Summer and Fall Dates to be announced!

Join Abel (Chris) Bean on a weekend or day canoe adventure down the Pine River, located in the heart of the Headwaters Wilderness of the Nicolet-Chequamegon Forest, where you will:

  • Learn basic and advanced canoe strokes (all levels of experience are welcome)
  • Cultivate wilderness awareness skills
  • Drink from natural springs
  • Get an up-close and intimate view of the natural plants and animals that inhabit the river and shoreline
  • Hear stories of the land as well as learn about plant and bog land ecology


The Weekend Course offers all of the above, but will also include:

  • Advanced wilderness survival and awareness skills
  • Learn how to prepare for and live outdoors, including campsite location, natural shelter building, and how to set up a cordless tarp for shelter.
  • Primitive cooking over an open fire



Weekend Canoe Course: $225
– Includes solo canoe and paddle rental, tarp, and meals

Day Canoe Course: $100
– Includes solo canoe and paddle rental
– Participants must bring their own lunch/snacks and water


Abel (Chris) Bean

Abel (Chris) Bean

Senior Wilderness Guide

Abel is a professional level wilderness guide with 15 years of experience at Teaching Drum Outdoor School. His expertise puts him in the top tier of wilderness skills professionals where he excels in the areas of shelter building, friction fire making, hide tanning, wilderness foraging, primitive cooking, solo canoeing, orienteering, weather forecasting, dreamwork, and co-parenting. He scored Level 3 in the 2015 Track and Sign Evaluation and holds a current Wilderness First Responder certification. To find out more about Abel, visit the staff biography page.

The Headwaters Wilderness is the largest of Wisconsin’s wilderness, where wolves and bears scout the shorelines; beaver, muskrat, and otter ply the waters; and a host of birds grace the scene with song and color. Expanses of marsh grass, wild rice, and cattails blanket the shallows, while golden water lilies dapple the surface of the deeper waters. It is also characterized by forested swamps and muskeg, bog lowlands, hardwood ridges, and the largest and oldest trees of the Nicolet National Forest.

In 1965, the Wisconsin legislature designated the Pine River a wild river to protect it from development. Access is limited and the area is rugged. Canoeing on the Pine River is a wild experience for any nature enthusiast that holds many opportunities to see the natural inhabitants up close in their natural habitats. 

Pine River