Northern Wisconsin National Canoe Base                               Boy Scouts of America

From Bob Gregg, Director, 1943 to 1948

I guess one of the most interesting incidents was the night that Woody and I got a call from a party on an island in Rice Lake.  Their Scoutmaster had been playing Tarzan and fell out of a tree on a rock and injured his back.  We put a cot and blankets in the new Dodge stake body truck, took a stretcher and headed out.

When we got to the island, we lashed the stretcher between two canoes and transported him to the hospital in Tomahawk.  After ten days in the hospital, he recovered OK.

1943 - Electricity was supplied by gasoline driven generators which were cranked to start every morning and shut down the last thing at night.  Water came from an excellent well and was pumped into a 20,000 gallon elevated wooden tank.  The tank dried out every winter and required a great deal of caulking and soaking each spring.  Ice had to be cut each winter from the lake and stored in the ice house from which huge blocks were put in the walk-in refrigerator each day to provide the only refrigeration in Camp.  Vegetables were kept in an underground cellar in the hill behind the mess hall.

One of the great asset of the Camp was J. A. Scott.  His telephone to the Forestry Headquarters at Trout Lake was our only contact with the outside world.

Another person who should be mentioned is Dr. Kate Newcomb who served this entire vacationland area and later became famous for her dedicated services through the television program "This Is Your Life" and through a book, "Angel on Snowshoes".  She made many trips to the Landing to do medical rechecks and was always on call for emergencies.

Building #1 was used as a  Camp office and for adult staff and camp lounge.  Building #2 served as map room, equipment issue and a place for planning sessions.  Building #3 provided overnight facilities for incoming groups and storage for their equipment while on the trail.  Building #4 housed the junior staff.  Canoes were kept on racks in the pines near the Lake.

War rationing became a serious problem by 1943 and made it necessary for parties coming from a distance to travel by train.  Fortunately, the Milwaukee Railroad still had one train a day to Star Lake, about seven miles away.

Most of the food we obtained then was either fresh vegetables or canned goods in glass jars.  This made it almost impossible to carry enough food for more than four or five days so we arranged for food drops to be picked up along the route.

Cooking and water heating at the Base was done on coal or wood-burning stoves.  All laundry was done by hand.

In spite of transportation problems, our 1943 attendance was 192 campers and leaders from 17 councils for a total of 234 camper weeks.

1944 - Our cost this year was $2.00 registration plus $1.50 per day per person and the length of the period was any time desired by the party.  We had enough equipment to maintain 70 people on the trail at a time.

Woodrow Hickman, a superintendent of schools in Danvers, (Danville?) Illinois, was Program Director this year and for the succeeding years until 1952.

Our staff of young men increased to 12.

Ted Shearer, Ed Schwechel and Dick Potter each gave us a week or more as cooks for the Base.  The year the attendance was 418 campers and leaders from 25 Councils for 578 camper weeks.

Hiking - Judge Rosenberry, Chairman of the Conservation Commission, was greatly interested in hiking so the Commission developed and marked some wonderful hiking trails in the immediate area around the Landing.  Several courageous parties took these trails instead of canoeing.

1945 - Thompson Brothers and the Base worked out an agreement to replace all canoes each year for a percentage allowance.  Forty new and replacement canoes were secured under this plan to give us a fleet of sixty canoes.

In 1945, 631 campers and leaders from 33 Councils for a total of 850 camper weeks attended the Base.  In 1945, Ben Phillips, Scout Executive of Samoset Council, enlarged and brought up to date the original maps prepared by Ernie Schmidt.

In the fall of 1945, a sub-committee of the Regional Executive Committee (?) members were Sidney Wager III, Chicago; Judge Rosenberry, Madison; and Otto Janus, Indianapolis.

1946 - In 1946, our attendance was 547 campers and leaders from 37 Councils for a total of 740 camper weeks.  This made a grand total of 64 Councils in Region Seven that had used the Scout Landing facilities. 

Our first telephone was installed this year.  We purchased the poles from a lumber camp, peeled and dried them, got wire and insulators through contacts in Chicago and the Base staff and volunteers set poles and strung the wire.
During the 1963 season, Canoe Base operation included the physical operation of Wood Badge and the establishment of a  conservation course on Lost Canoe Lake.  The conservation course officially opened in 1967 with three 12-day periods.