Northern Star Council

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Northern Star Council
Owner Boy Scouts of America
Headquarters St. Paul, Minnesota
Country United States
Founded 2005
President Richard Neuner
Council Commissioner Jon Pederson
Scout Executive John Andrews[1]
 Scouting portal

Northern Star Council is a Boy Scout Council headquartered in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The council was formerly the Viking Council and Indianhead Council until the two councils merged on July 1, 2005.[2] The council serves communities across central Minnesota and western Wisconsin, encompassing 25 counties.[3]


The Viking Council was founded on October 15, 1910, as the Minneapolis Council and later in 1952, the name was changed to Viking Council.[2] At the time of the merger with Indianhead Council, the geography of the Viking Council spanned from Minneapolis all the way across Minnesota to the South Dakota border. The Viking Council's main camp, Many Point Scout Camp located near Ponsford, Minnesota, is among the largest in the United States. Other camps from the Viking Council included Stearns Scout Camp in Fair Haven Township, Minnesota and Rum River Scout Camp in Anoka, Minnesota. A history of patches used by the Viking Council and Minneapolis Council is available at the Viking Council Patch Archive.

The Indianhead Council was founded on October 1, 1910, as the St. Paul Council and later in 1954, the name was changed to the Indianhead Council.[2] The Indianhead Council was headquartered in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and included Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota, and much of western Wisconsin. Its name came from the shape of the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, which is said to resemble that of the head of an Indian. As well as the office building in Saint Paul, facilities included Tomahawk Scout Reservation near Rice Lake, Wisconsin, Phillipo Scout Reservation near Cannon Falls, Minnesota, Fred C. Andersen Scout Camp near Hudson, Wisconsin, and Kiwanis Scout Camp near Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota.

The history of each of these councils, as well as the older councils from which they were formed, is depicted below.[4][5]


Northern Star Council is divided into districts to better administer Scouting within geographic, specialty and cultural communities.


District Sampling of Communities Served
Chief Black Dog District Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan
Crow River District Albertville, Annandale, Buffalo, Clearwater, Dassel, Delano, Hector, Kimball, Monticello, Norwood
Dan Patch District Bloomington, Burnsville, Savage, Shakopee
Eagle River District Western Wisconsin counties of Burnett, Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix plus the Hastings, Minnesota vicinity
Great Rivers District Afton, Bayport, East St. Paul, Lake Elmo, Maplewood, Marine on St. Croix, North St. Paul, Oakdale, Stillwater, Woodbury
Kaposia District Cottage Grove, Inver Grove Heights, Mendota, Newport, Saint Paul Park, South Saint Paul, West Saint Paul
Lake Minnetonka District Chanhassen, Chaska, Crystal Bay, Excelsior, Hamel, Hanover, Maple Plain, Medina, Minnetonka, Mound, Orono, Plymouth, Waconia, Watertown, Wayzata
Many Waters District Birchwood, Chisago City, Forest Lake, Lindstrom, Lino Lakes, North Branch, Rush City, Scandia, Taylors Falls, Vadnais Heights, White Bear Lake, Wyoming
Metro Lakes District Minneapolis, Richfield, Saint Anthony
Mustang District Eden Prairie, Edina, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Saint Louis Park
North Star District Saint Paul
Northern Lights District Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Champlin, Crystal, Golden Valley (except Hopkins School System), Maple Grove, New Hope, Osseo, Robbinsdale, Rogers
Northwest District Arden Hills, Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, Little Canada, the west panhandle of Maplewood, Mounds View, New Brighton, North Oaks, Roseville, Shoreview
Prairie Lakes District Coates, Farmington, Hampton, Lakeville, Prior Lake, Randolph, Rosemount
Rolling Hills District Scott, Rice, and Le Sueur Counties in Minnesota
Three Rivers District Andover, Anoka, Blaine, Cambridge, Circle Pines, Columbia Heights, Coon Rapids, East Bethel, Fridley, Ham Lake, Isanti, New Brighton, Ramsey, Spring Lake Park
Trailblazer District Atwater, Bird Island, Canby, Clara City, Dawson, Granite Falls, Kerkhoven, Litchfield, Madison, Montevideo, New London, Olivia, Renville, Spicer, Willmar

Specialty and Cultural Communities[edit]

District Community
El Sol District Hispanic/Latino communities in the Twin Cities
Huron District Urban youth in after-school, summer, and community center programs in the Twin Cities
Polaris District Youth with special needs
Silver Maple District Asian communities in the Twin Cities
Zulu District African American communities in the Twin Cities

Neighboring councils[edit]

The following councils neighbor Northern Star Council.

Council Headquarter City
Central Minnesota Sartell, MN
Northern Lights Fargo, ND
Voyageurs Area Hermantown, MN
Gamehaven Rochester, MN
Sioux Sioux Falls, SD
Twin Valley Mankato, MN
Chippewa Valley Eau Claire, WI
Sioux Sioux Falls, SD


map of Minnesota with markers for the location of each council camp
Base Camp
Base Camp

Many Point
Many Point
Northern Star Council camps (click on markers for Geohack maps)

Northern Star Council is currently home to eight camps.

Camp Name Camp Location Size (acres) Website
Base Camp St. Paul, MN 6 Website
Fred C. Andersen Scout Camp Houlton, WI 260 Website
Kiwanis Scout Camp Marine on St. Croix, MN 110 Website
Many Point Scout Camp Ponsford, MN 2,400 Website
Phillippo Scout Reservation Cannon Falls, MN 450 Website
Rum River Scout Camp Anoka, MN 160 Website
Stearns Scout Camp South Haven, MN 1,200 Website1 Website2
Tomahawk Scout Reservation Birchwood, WI 3,300 Website

Tomahawk Scout Reservation[edit]

Tomahawk Scout Reservation
Location Birchwood, Wisconsin
Founded 1953

Tomahawk Scout Reservation is located near Rice Lake, Wisconsin. It sits on the shores of Long Lake, on which the camp owns several miles of shoreline. The camp encompasses approximately 3,000 acres (12 km2), and is the largest camp operated by Northern Star Council.

Tomahawk is made up of four sub-camps: Chippewa, Sioux, White Pine, and Navajo.


Tomahawk began with Indianhead Council purchasing 1,932 acres (7.82 km2) of land on February 14, 1953, from businessman Aksel Nielsen.

Many Point Scout Camp[edit]

Many Point Scout Camp
Location Ponsford, Minnesota
Coordinates 47°05′52″N 95°28′37″W / 47.097806°N 95.476926°W / 47.097806; -95.476926
Founded 1946

Many Point Scout Camp is a Boy Scout summer camp located along Many Point Lake on the White Earth Indian Reservation near the township of Ponsford in Becker County, Minnesota. The camp is currently the second largest Scout camp operated by the Northern Star Council, is composed of approximately 2,400 acres (10 km2), and borders the 143,000-acre (580 km2) Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge. Many Point is further divided into six sub-camps which serve troops, Venturing crews and families.


The first occupants of Many Point Lake and its surroundings were Native Americans of the Ojibwa tribe, who gave the lake its name for its many peninsulas. In the 19th century, the lake and woods which surrounded it were occupied by French fur traders and loggers, who harvested the abundant natural resources.

Many Point Scout Reservation was founded in 1946 by Wint Hartman, the first camping director for the reservation, and Boots Hanson, the first camp ranger. Wint's initial idea for the camp was that Scouts would come with their troops and be guided by principles such as leave no trace. This was a new idea for the BSA, as up until this time Scouts went to camp by themselves, and camps were much more para-military. Many Point Scout Camp was the first BSA camp to accommodate troops instead of just individual Scouts.

During the winter of 1946-1947, Boots Hanson lived alone on land purchased from the Many Point Gun and Rod club, what is today the Buckskin sub-camp. He spent the winter readying the land for Scouts. In the spring, when Wint Hartman drove up from the cities wondering if camp would be ready, he saw a red lantern hanging in Hanson's window, a sign that camp was ready. To this day, a red lantern is one of the symbols for Many Point. During the summer, lit red lanterns are hung outside of each sub-camp's lodge, as a sign that the camp is there for the Scouts. In the winter, red lanterns are placed in the windows of the rangers' homes.

As time went on and more land was obtained, new sub-camps were opened and additions were made to the camp. Today it is made up of a main administration area, three program camps for troop camping, a high adventure base, a camp with no staff or program for troops who wish to run their own program, as well as a camp for families.

Some of the staff have noted what seems to be a sunken bridge of some sort on part of the lake. They believe that over time, the lake began to fill with more water, causing this structure to collapse. They notice that the surrounding area is swampy, leading them to note that the loggers may have built a bridge over the swamp.


Many Point Scout Reservation is made up of roughly 2,400 acres (9.7 km2) of woodland and swamp along over six miles (10 km) of shoreline on Many Point Lake, Round Lake to the south, and a few small lakes to the east. The camp is located on the White Earth Band of Ojibwe reservation, bordering the 143,000-acre (580 km2) Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge.

Main Area[edit]

The administration area is located a short drive into the camp, and is where troops check in at the start of their session. The area houses the administration building, which includes a lounge for staff, also used by counselors-in-training (CITs) on weekends. The Many Point History Center and fire tower are also located here. A couple minutes away by foot is the camp maintenance shop and CIT base camp, also called CIT Hill.


Many Point is made up of four sub-camps, which are Buckskin, Ten Chiefs, Voyager and Pioneer. Many Point also has a family camp, where Scouting families may stay for the week. Preference is given to those families that have a Scout attending Many Point that same week. Family Camp includes a full program led by camp staff, 21 cabins, and 8 tenting sites. Many Point is also home to Flintlock, a high adventure base serving Scouts staying in Buckskin, Ten Chiefs, and Voyageur.


Buckskin is the oldest sub-camp within Many Point, and is a short walk from the administration area. Troops that camp in Buckskin stay in one of 13 troop sites, each containing multiple patrol sites. There is also a site called All Star, where Scouts, both boys and girls, may come independent from troops.

Buckskin is unique from the other camps for its dining hall, where Scouts and staff are fed, and therefore not required to cook their own food. The sub-camp is home to one of Many Point's three climbing towers and one of three 25-foot (7.6 m) water trampolines.

Ten Chiefs

Ten Chiefs is about two miles (3 km) south of Buckskin and the Administration areas, and is the second of the three sub-camps that troops use. Much like Buckskin, troops stay in one of 13 troop sites, but unlike Buckskin must do their own cooking, except for dinner, which is delivered from the commissary. The second of the three climbing towers and water trampolines are located within Ten Chiefs.


Voyageur is the third sub-camp used for troop camping and is just over two miles (3 km) south of Ten Chiefs. Voyageur has 13 campsites, and like Ten Chiefs troops must cook their own meals. The third climbing tower, as well as the third water trampoline, are both located within Voyageur.


Flintlock is unique from each of the other sub-camps as, instead of being composed of troop sites and activity areas, it serves as Many Point's high adventure base. Located about a mile north of Voyageur and a mile south of Ten Chiefs, older Scouts from each sub-camp may sign up for a day activity or overnight trip to the programs offered in each tier of activity. Flintlock and parts of southern Ten Chiefs are located in the camp's fabled Yeti Swamp which claims to be the home of the camp's legendary yeti.

Flintlock's activities are divided into three different tiers of adventure.

Tier One comprises activities where older Scouts (8th grade and above) from each sub-camp may sign up for a day activity or overnight trip to one of the camp's two Project COPE courses, the tree houses, or Huck Finn Rafts and also participate in International Target Sports Outpost and Adventure Cove.

Tier Two comprises trek style activities where older Scouts (9th grade and above) are able to participate in adventures outside of Many Point or higher adventure activities. They offer an 11-mile kayak trek down the Otter Tail River, two mountain bike treks at the Maplelag Resort and Itasca State Park, a multi-modal trek through the Beaver Lake chain nearby, and most recently an all-terrain vehicle day ride.

Tier Three is reserved for specialty week long programs offered through Flintlock High Adventure Base. Two programs are offered every week of camp, and others are offered on a specialty one or two week opportunity throughout the summer. Water Sports Outpost and Older Scout Adventure Blast are offered each week, where Water Sports Outpost allows older Scouts to ride personal watercraft and water ski or wake-board and Older Scout Adventure Blast offers all-terrain vehicle riding and mornings of Tier One Activities. The specialty programs are titled All-Things weeks and offer a full week of SCUBA, Aquatics, Wilderness Response, or Sportsman activities.

Also at Flintlock is the new Frontier program. Located across the bay from Buckskin and only accessible by boat, Flintlock staff and interested troops are helping to build a replica of an 1860s logging camp, the Thompson-Peake Lumber Company, that used to be on Many Point Lake.


Pioneer is located along the southwest shore of Many Point Lake, between Voyageur and Family Camp. Unfortunately, the sub-camp is no longer in use. However, troops and crews may come to this camp if they wish to make and run their own program with minimal staff interaction.

Family Camp

Family Camp is built on the site of a former resort, on a peninsula that stretches to the center of Many Point Lake. While priority for the cabins and tent sites is given to families of Scouts and Scoutmasters camping at another sub-camp, any family can come and spend a week doing some fun camp activities or relaxing for the entire week. Swimming lessons, arts and crafts, and trips to Itasca State Park are also available. Many Point Family Camp is unique from other BSA family camps as it is one of the only in the nation to run a program for families.

Former camps[edit]

In the early days of Scouting, councils did not own properties permanently set aside for camping. Scouts simply met at undeveloped land and set up a temporary camp. However, the need for larger, permanent spaces was recognized.[6]

Oak Point (Square Lake)[edit]

The first property purchased by the then-St. Paul Council was on Oak Point of Square Lake (45°09′24″N 92°48′13″W / 45.1566°N 92.8035°W / 45.1566; -92.8035) near Stillwater, MN. Established in 1918, it was officially named "Oak Point Camp" but known as "Square Lake Camp" by the campers. It served the council for many years, but became too small for the demand in the 1930s, and was closed in 1937 when it was severely damaged by a storm.[6]


Original entrance to Camp Neibel in 2012

Looking for a larger property, the council purchased 101 acres of land on the eastern shore of Balsam Lake, Wisconsin (45°28′06″N 92°23′17″W / 45.468459°N 92.388011°W / 45.468459; -92.388011), which was opened as Camp Neibel in the mid-1930s. It was named after Frank Neibel, who was the Scout Executive of the council at the time, and included a small island which was used for camping trips. Eventually, it too was outgrown, and it was closed in 1954, shortly after the land for Camp Tomahawk was purchased. The former Camp Neibel property was subdivided into individual lots, but the original pillars and entrance gate can be seen on the road that still bears the name "Neibel Lane".[6][7][8]

Order of the Arrow[edit]

The council is served by the Totanhan Nakaha Lodge, which was formed in 2006 after the Viking and Indianhead Councils merged. Its name means "From the Past, A New Beginning".[9] The previous lodges and their origins are depicted below.[10][11][12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Northern Star Leadership / Governance". Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Northern Star Council History". Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "Northern Star Council Fact Sheet" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  4. ^ "Council Guide 2012 Edition, Vol 5" (DOC). Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "Council Guide 2012 Edition, Vol 6" (DOC). Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c Claudia J. Nicholson (1 May 2012). "Square Lake Boy Scout Camp" (PDF). Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  7. ^ Dick Fihn (Summer 2011). "The Chronicler, Polk County Historical Society" (PDF). Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "Camp History, Tomahawk Leader's Guide" (PDF). 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "16 Totanhan Nakaha". Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "Lodge Merger History Chart". Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  11. ^ "Lodge Merger History Chart". Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "26 Blue Ox". Retrieved 29 January 2013. 

External links[edit]