Backcountry leadership training program

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 an assortment of valuable outdoor credentials, at least five college credits and skills from a group of experienced guides and instructors.

Ideally, students will complete the summer program and then, through 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

tent in the mountains

Valuable skills students will learn

  • Outdoor leadership skills
  • Backcountry decision making and risk management
  • Rock climbing
  • Backcountry safety
  • Swiftwater boating
  • Canoeing
  • Fly fishing

Credentials students can earn

  • Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Certification from Wilderness Medical Associates
  • Swiftwater Safety Certificate from Garrett Jones with Arctic River Guides
  • American Canoe Association Level 1-3 Certification
  • Climbing Wall Instructor Certification from the Professional Climbing Instructor Association (PCIA)
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Hiking, biking, and ski trails

28.5 miles
On campus

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Wilderness opportunities

1 hour
From skiing, mushing, hiking, fishing, climbing, biking and hunting

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On campus

2 lakes
Available for fishing

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Nearest university

To beautiful wilderness
Deanli State Park and the Remote Gates of the Arctic National Park

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Choosen Best U.S College

For hikers and backpackers
By Backpacker Magazine


Students in the program will earn a number of certificates upon successful completion of the Summer Program and passing the relevant certification assessments. Some of the courses also offer course credit that can be applied toward the Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Business (BSRB) degree. Backcountry Leadership Training Program Courses

Course title Certs Credits
Orientation Rock Climbing N/A 0
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 F170P:  Introduction to  Arctic Backpacking  N/A  1 RECR
American Canoe Association: Canoe Level 1-3 Certification Class  Yes  
Professional Climbing Instructor Association: Climbing Wall Instructor Certification Class Yes 0
Two-Day Fly Fishing Course N/A 0
  Total earned 4 5