Backcountry Leadership Training Program (BLT)

A joint partnership between UAF School of Management and Nanook Recreation.

This exclusive summer program is for anyone, at any experience level, interested in gaining meaningful skills to become more confident and competent in the outdoors. The program will immerse you in a variety of outdoor opportunities within the great state of Alaska. In a five-week format, you will earn six college credits, several industry certifications and a variety of outdoor hard skills from a group of experienced guides and instructors.

Ideally, students will complete the summer program and then, with the help of UAF recreation professionals, work within the Alaska outdoor recreation industry while completing their Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Business (BSRB) degree at UAF. This summer program can act as a starting point for students pursuing the BSRB; however, it is not limited to only BSRB degree-seeking students – anyone is welcome! There are only 10 available spots, so don’t hesitate to reserve yours!

  • Earn credits toward a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Business
  • Complete requirements for several professional certifications
  • Get assistance with finding future internships or summer positions in the recreation fields

Birch Creek

Valuable skills students will learn

  • Outdoor leadership skills
  • Backcountry decision making and risk management
  • Rock climbing
  • Backcountry safety
  • Swiftwater boating
  • Canoeing
  • Navigation and route finding

Credentials students can earn

  • Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Certification from Wilderness Medical Associates
  • Swiftwater Safety Certificate from Garrett Jones with Arctic River Guides
  • 6 UAF Credits that can be used towards a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Business Degree
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Hiking, biking, and ski trails

28.5 miles
On campus

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Wilderness Opportunities

Easily accessed within 1 hours of campus
Skiing, mushing, hiking, fishing, climbing, biking and hunting.

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Nearest university

To beautiful Alaska wilderness areas
Denali National Park and the Remote Gates of the Arctic National Park

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Chosen Best U.S College

For hikers and backpackers
By Backpacker Magazine

 Program Summary


Cost- $2750 Early registration (before 3/1/20) $3000 (after 3/1/20)

A $760 non-refundable deposit is due 3/1/20 and the balance of the payment is due 5/14/20

What is Included- All gear and technical equipment, transportation for all activities, food on the expeditions, instruction, class materials, certifications, and 6 UAF lower division credits.

What is not included- Lodging and food while not on expeditions.  There are several options for this both on and off campus.  Please contact us for more information about these options. 

Dates- May 30th-June 30th  2020

Trips and Expeditions-

8 day kayak expedition on Birch Creek, a National Wild and Scenic River, in the heart of the White Mountains.

4 day backpacking trip into the Mt Prindle Area in the White Mountains.

4 days of outdoor rock climbing at local climbing areas

4 additional days paddling in Interior Alaska lakes and rivers

1 day hike on a beautiful Interior Alaska trail



Students in the program will earn a number of certificates upon successful completion of the BLT Program. The students will also have the opportunity to earn 6 college credits during this program. Most of these credits can be applied toward the Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Business (BSRB) degree.

Backcountry Leadership Training Program Courses

Course title Certs Credits
Wilderness First Aid Certificate Yes 0
Remote Worker Safety: Swiftwater Rescue Class Yes 0
NRM 161: Introduction to  Wilderness Leadership  N/A 3 NRM
RECR F180B:  Introduction to Expedition Kayaking  N/A  1 RECR
RECR F140Z: Canoeing N/A 1 RECR
RECR F140H: Beginning Rock Climbing N/A 1 RECR
 Total earned 2 6