View this email in your browser

After an absence of too many years, The Portage Runner is making it’s new debut — in digital form! It’s safe to say that the Laketrails Family is stronger when we all stay connected. And we also know there is only one thing that Laketrailers love almost as much as being at Laketrails, and that is talking about Laketrails…about adventures in Lake of the Woods, the miles they paddled, the storms they weathered and the sunsets that are still crystal clear in their memories. The Portage Runner will be a place for Laketrailers to share those stories, to find out what's new at camp and to keep in touch.

If you’d like to write an article, submit a photo, or simply send us comments, we'd love to hear from you — email us at

2016 Staff | So long, Dear Skipper | Something New!
Ultimate Wish List | Back in the Day | Looking for Laketrailers

Meet the 2016 Laketrails guide staff!

These are just a few of this year's guides and while they come from many places and have their own unique outdoor experiences, they have one thing in common -- they are excited to meet new campers and to be at Laketrails all summer. Which one of the guides has hiked on the Appalachian Trail? Who has tried solo camping? How many guides like to slackline? Who witnessed a meteor shower while on a Laketrails trip? See photos of all the guides and read more about them on the staff page of the Laketrails website.
So long, Dear Skipper

As many of you know, Fr. Bill Merkens passed away on Feb. 26. He was one of Laketrails founders who in 1952, made the dream of a wilderness youth camp based on a lake, come true. For more than 60 years, Fr. Bill has been Laketrails' guiding force, leading by example, teaching with patience and good humor, and introducing generations of campers and staff to the wonders of God's creation.

Over Memorial Day weekend more than 40 Laketrailers gathered on Oak Island, as they always do, to open the camp and get it ready. This year, they honored Fr. Bill with stories, songs and the planting of a tree between the lodge and Nob Hill. Fr. Bill will not be forgotten as along as the stories are told and the Laketrails philosophy is taught by word and example to new campers and staff every summer on Oak Island...but we will miss our Skipper very much.

Click here to read an obituary. Click here to read a story about Fr. Bill that appeared in the Fargo Forum shortly after his funeral.

Memorial Day fun, sun and, oh yeah...a little work too!

Many thanks to the Laketrails alum who spent Memorial Day weekend getting the camp spiffed up for the 2016 staff and campers. Deep cleaning the laundry room and staff showers, cutting the grass, picking up the grounds around base camp, and any number of other chores were made enjoyable by being on the island and in the presence of wonderful people. They managed to have a little fun, too. Mark your calendars -- this opportunity is available every Memorial Day weekend!


Something new

In addition to our regular summer camping programs, we are working on several new opportunities for people to experience Laketrails:

  • Our first Artists’ Retreat, Sept. 8-11, is a long weekend open to adults who feel serious about their art form, whether it be painting, writing, photography, or another creative endeavor.
  • A fall Father-Son Fishing Weekend is in the works with a church in Thief River Falls.
  • Small school groups will come to the island for some new programming in September. Team building, leadership, and STEM activities are the current focus for these student groups.
Help us spread the word about these new new Laketrails opportunities. To learn more, contact the camp office: 800-450-6460.

Come to the lake — follow us on Instagram!

Take a break and come up to the lake. Catch up with us at Base Camp or on the trail through our Instagram account. There are lots of photos out there -- old and new -- and more to come as summer 2016 progresses. Check back often to see what we're up to.

The Ultimate Wish List

With spring comes the opportunity to renew and refresh! And at Laketrails this means not only revitalizing ourselves but also our equipment and gear on the island.
From the kitchen to the canoe racks, our needs
and wishes are both great and small.

We’ll do the shopping,
but please take this opportunity
to name the project you’d like to
claim as your own with a monetary gift.
Click here to make a donation,
then email us at
and tell what project you want to support!

Thank you!

Back in the day...

Remember when nuns paddled canoes and practiced their archery skills? And, remember when boxing was part of the Laketrails program? We’re not sure how a hard right punch fit in with Fr. Bill’s views of nonviolence, but nevertheless it happened on the island! The Laketrails program has had small variations over the years, but the heart of the experience -- the canoe trips -- has changed very little since 1952.

Do you have a favorite memory of days gone by at Laketrails? Share your stories with us! If you have a tale to tell or a photo from back in the day, please send it to: Laketrails Base Camp P.O. Box 810 Warroad, MN 56763 or email:

Looking for Laketrailers!

Help build our email list of Laketrails alumni. Forward this newsletter to Laketrailers you know, and if they did not already receive it, tell them to subscribe below. We'll keep them and you in the loop on Laketrails happenings and adventures through future issues of The Portage Runner
In the next issue: Laketrailer turned astronaut will carry Wilderness Badge to International Space Station
Copyright © 2016 Laketrails Base Camp, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp