Wilderness Perspectives

Northwoods Employment - Jobs in the Outdoor Industry in Northern Minnesota

Feb 8, 2022
Madelyn Fahnline
Arial view of a canoe

There are many businesses in Northern Minnesota ranging from family owned outfitters to fishing resorts, scout camps to gear manufacturing operations. All of these businesses are searching for folks would would love to live and work close to a first class wilderness and other natural areas. These businesses across Northern Minnesota are currently hiring full-time, part-time, seasonal, and year round employees. Some of these businesses offer training and housing if you are just getting your start in the outdoor industry! 

Happy Portage Trails! 




Retail & Gear Production


Piragis Northwoods Company • Ely, MN

Customer Service Team Member


Piragis Northwoods is seeking candidates for the customer service team. 30+ hours per week; seasonal with the potential for year-round. 

Duties include assisting customers over the phone, receiving merchandise, fulfilling orders, etc. Idea applicants are self-motivated, organized, detail-oriented, and able to multi-task. 

For more information or to submit a resume, email jordyn@piragis.com, call (218) 365-6745, or stop by the store at 105 N Central Avenue. 


Sawtooth Outfitters • Tofte, MN

Retail Employee

We are seeking energetic, self motivated individuals who share our passion for the outdoors. Someone with retail/customer service experience in the outdoor gear industry and is interested in learning about the latest products and services related to what our company offers. Full and Part time positions available

Primary responsibilities: running a computerized register, answering questions about our products and services, checking in /stocking/ organizing inventory, taking reservations for rentals/tours, running shuttles, helping to keep shop and rental equipment clean/serviced.

Qualifications: Retail/customer service experience, solid computer skills, ability to multitask. Must be physically able to lift canoes and kayaks when necessary.

Benefits – Competitive wage, employee discounts, flexible hours, use of rental equipment.

Contact Info: info@sawtoothoutfitters.com  or call 218-663-7643


Wintergreen Northern Wear • Ely, MN



Wintergreen Sewing opperations

Sewing Technician

Wintergreen Northern Wear creates quality outdoor apparel on the main street of Ely, MN. We are looking for creative, talented individuals to sew our garments. If you love to sew, we'd love to have you on our team! Sewing experience is required; experience with garments is preferred. We'll train you on our industrial machines. A cheery, clean work environment and benefits included. Competitive wages based on skill level and experience.

Contact: Michele Anderson at 218-365-6602 or email michele@wintergreennorthernwear.com

Apply on our website: https://www.wintergreennorthernwear.com/pages/careers




Resorts, Outfitting & Guiding


Big City Mountaineers • Northern Minnesota Base

Minnesota Regional Program Manager

The Minnesota Regional Program Manager (RPM) is responsible for all aspects of BCM programming based out of Minneapolis and St. Paul. This includes delivering high quality and mission focused day trips, overnights, and weeklong expeditions in the Boundary Waters for youth affiliated with partnering youth agencies in the region. To see this realized, RPMs hire and support seasonal instructors, coordinate program logistics, liaise with partner agencies, manage a regional budget and occasionally facilitate programs directly. RPMs are supported directly by and report to BCM’s National Program Director.

The Minnesota RPM will work from a home office, and will need to be physically located in or near the Twin Cities. RPMs can expect to travel regionally to meet with youth and partners, and to travel four times per year to the BCM headquarters in Colorado for professional development and national team meetings.

Role Requirements:

• Personal and professional values consistent with BCM’s mission, values, and principles, including principles of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

• High degree of motivation to increase access to the outdoors for youth from disinvested communities,

• Unwavering belief in the power of nature-based experiences to help youth strengthen life skills and build community

• Residence in or near the Twin Cities

• Prior professional experience working with youth from disinvested communities and racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse groups, ages 12-18, preferably in outdoor, educational, or outdoor education settings

• Personal or professional experience, familiarity, and comfort in backcountry and outdoor settings

• Demonstrated experience in outdoor program development, facilitation, and management

 • Training and experience managing and responding to physical, emotional, and situational risks inherent in youth outdoor programs

• Willingness and ability to travel locally to meet in-person with agency partners and regionally to Headquarters in Colorado as job and duties require

• Current WFR or WMET and CPR certification or ability to attain one within 60-days of employment start date

• Clean driving record and reliable transportation

To apply please email  a current resume and thoughtful cover letter detailing why you believe your experience, capacity, and passions align with BCM’s needs to recruiting@bigcitymountaineers.org. In your cover letter, be sure to address the following: Your history and experience working with youth from disinvested communities, Your personal and/or professional experience in the backcountry, How your personal identity and/or lived experience plays a role in your motivation to do this work. Combining both documents into a single PDF is preferred. 


Gunflint Lodge & Outfitters • Grand Marais, MN


 Various Positions - Resort Employee, Guide, Outfitting, Climbing/Zip lining

Live and work where you love to play! Come to Minnesota's Great Northwoods to experience the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and discover your adventurous spirit. Guide guests as you soar above the Boreal forest in the Towering Pines Canopy Tour. Take a child fishing for the first time. Gear folks up for a canoeing trip into the Boundary Waters! Winter brings ice fishing, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing! Be prepared to see the Northern Lights as well as moose, black bear, whitetail deer, fox, lynx, rabbit, wolves, eagles, loons, and a host of songbirds and birds of prey right outside your back door!

Gunflint Lodge & Outfitters, Minnesota's premier Northwoods lodge and Boundary Waters canoe outfitter, is hiring summer seasonal and year-round positions.  We are located on the scenic Gunflint Trail about 45 miles from Grand Marais, MN.

Available jobs may include:

• Resort : Human Resources Generalist, Marketing Coordinator, Guest Services Supervisor, Guest Services Associate, Housekeeping Supervisors, Resort Housekeepers, Maintenance Associate, Landscaper/Groundskeeper, Massage Therapist

• Restaurant : Activity Cook, Breakfast/Lunch Cook, Line Cook, Server/Bartender, Server,

• Outfitting & Adventure : Manager, Canoe Outfitter, Boundary Waters Canoe Day Trip Guide, Passenger Boat Captain, Naturalist, Sky Guide zip line Guide, Climbing Guide

For more information, take a look at our careers website and check out this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPCelGtj_lI then fill out our online employment application


Nature of the North • Moorhead, MN

Community Engagement and Hospitality Coordinator

We're adding to the team at our indoor rock climbing wall in downtown Moorhead! This position is the backbone of our organization and essentially the welcome party for all guests coming in, so we're looking for some friendly faces that love working with kids and chatting with parents! This role will help with the check-in process for our bouldering wall, daily cleaning and upkeep duties, and monitoring safety within the space.

This person will also help facilitate parties and events at NotN that include: children, families, and various other community groups. To ensure the best experience for our guests, we're looking for a friendly, enthusiastic team member who loves working with all ages!

No climbing experience required! 15-25 hours per week. (2-4 shifts/wk) with day & Evening Shifts Available. Must be able to work rotating weekends. (1-2 shifts/month) Youth experience is preferred.


• FREE MEMBERSHIP with unlimited rock climbing!

• 25% off all in-store retail products

• 50% off gear rentals

• Free access to all Nature of the North events

Various discounts around town with many local companies:

• 10% off Swing Barrel Brewing

• 50% off Amy's services at Healing Arts Revolution (massages + more!)

• $1 off per drink at Mick's Office

• $5 off comedy shows at Front Street Taproom

• 10% off ax throwing at Rough Cut Social

• 20% off self serve dog washes at Hot Dog Pet Salon

• 20% off Conquer Ninja memberships & day passes

Come meet tons of new friends, and the opportunity to do something great for our community!

For more info please visit: https://www.facebook.com/jobs/job-opening/293494152808765?source=job_ats 


Northernair Lodge • Ely, MN

Cabin Cleaner

2-3 cabin cleaner/housekeeper positions will be available starting early June. Our biggest need is cabin cleaners available morning to afternoon (typically 8-2) on Saturdays, but there will be opportunities for mid-week/sunday hours as well. No cleaning experience needed, but we are looking for people who can learn quickly and work efficiently. Attention to detail is a must! Pay starts at $15/hour and you will receive an end-of-season bonus in November. Saturday staff lunches are provided as well.

Northernair Lodge is a small, 12-cabin resort on Mitchell Lake that is about 10 mins from town. It is managed by a young couple (Rane & Zach) and each cabin is different. We work hard to create a fun and positive work environment!

Contact Rane & Zach Klinkenborg at inquiry@northernairlodge.com


River Point Resort & Outfitting Co • Birch Lake• Ely, MN 



Canoe Outfitting, Resort Maintenance, Housekeeping, & Wildwood Lodge Staff

Looking For Exciting Employment in the Beauty of the Wilderness of Northern Minnesota?

Look no further than River Point Resort & Outfitting Co. located in the Superior National Forest near Ely, Minnesota and just four paddle miles to the famous Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for employment opportunities.

River Point is located on a magnificent, private wilderness peninsula with over a mile of shoreline bordered by 20-mile long Birch Lake and the South Kawishiwi River with direct water access to the BWCA, just a 12 minute drive from downtown Ely, Minnesota, and an hours drive from the North Shore of Lake Superior/Two Harbors, MN. Our wilderness setting under a canopy of birch and pine and a star studded sky is rewarding for those seeking to work in the great outdoors of northern Minnesota.

We offer River Point Resort for guests seeking to stay in a high comfort lakefront cabin, villa, or chalet and enjoy all the abundant recreational opportunities available such as hiking the private two-mile "Trail of Reflections'' which takes them along the bluffs overlooking the South Kawishiwi River and swimming at the two sand beaches. They also love kayaking, fishing for walleye, northern pike, and smallmouth bass, boating and picnicking, gathering around the bonfire while roasting marshmallows, listening to the call of the loons, taking a sauna, and jumping in the lake.There's even shopping at Wolf Den Gifts in the Wildwood Lodge. And, all of these fun things to do can be enjoyed by our staff when employed at River Point, too.

We also offer River Point Outfitting Co. for the more adventurous guests who desire a wilderness canoe trip adventure within the beauty and solitude of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.We outfit them with everything they may need from canoes and camping equipment to trip routing and orientation sessions, maps, and transport shuttles to all of the Ely area entry points into the BWCA. Our River Point paddlers also have the wonderful option to "paddle back" to River Point with a gentle downstream current via the South Kawishiwi River right to our marina at the end of their canoe trip. What a great sense of accomplishment that is!

At River Point we are proud of the high quality of service provided to our guests and a professional and customer-friendly, happy atmosphere is very evident at our facility. Prospective employees should be customer-focused, friendly, helpful, and positive. Supporting and working with co-workers in a “team approach” is important and vital to the guest’s overall enjoyment of their “North Woods” vacation. Plus, you'll have fun at the same time.

The two qualities we most look for in a potential employee are a positive, cheerful attitude and the ability to be flexible no matter what the task may be or how the day unfolds.

The 2022 “open” season runs from May 13 through October 1. Staff is also needed to assist with the “opening-up” and the “shut-down” of the facility in early May and through the first part of October. It is important that you know your available start date and ending date of employment when you submit an Application for Employment. However, we always work with you to determine a positive “start” and “ending” date dependent upon school/college schedules and other needs and commitments you may have. Perhaps, you are not able to begin your employment until the end of May or, perhaps, you need to end your employment by the end of August. Both of these situations would be completely acceptable for employment at River Point.

Please find the website link below for an Application for Employment for River Point Resort & Outfitting Co. It describes the positions being offered and much more information related to employment at River Point.  

Visit this link at https://elyoutfitters.com/employment-application/    Email:  info@elyoutfitters.com or Call:  1-218-365-6604 if you have any questions.


Sawbill Canoe Outfitters • Tofte, MN


Crew Member

Each employee is selected very carefully. You are selected on the basis of experience in canoe country, passion for wilderness, personal optimism, enthusiasm, good personal adjustment, and demonstrated willingness to work. You are not hired for a particular job. We reschedule all the jobs on a weekly basis and you are generally able to choose the actual work you do. We guarantee that you will work full time. Crew members live here at Sawbill, room and board are provided. Sawbill Canoe Outfitters is a fun and rewarding place to work!

Since 1957, Sawbill Canoe Outfitters has provided its customers with high quality outfitting services. Our success, in large part, is due to the wonderful crew members we have had over the years. With their active participation we have developed an atmosphere that promotes excellence in service while treating employees fairly!

For more information visit here: https://sawbill.com/employment/ 


Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply • Grand Marais, MN


Retail Staff & Guides

We are looking for seasonal full-time employees to work in the retail store and guide tours (canoeing, kayaking, fishing, climbing and hiking, depending on interests and experience).

• Duties include customer service with purchases, rentals and tours, as well as maintenance of the store and gear. 

• Guides must have a current Wilderness Aid Certification (or greater), which we provide if needed. Kayak guides must also hold an American Canoe Association kayak assessment of level 2, which we also provide.

We are also looking for long term full- or part-time employees to work in the retail store and guide tours (canoeing, kayaking, fishing, climbing and hiking, depending on interests and experience). Duties include customer service with purchases, rentals and tours, as well as maintenance of the store and gear. Guides must have a current Wilderness Aid Certification (or greater), which we provide if needed. Kayak guides must also hold an American Canoe Association kayak assessment of level 2, which we also provide.

Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply is conveniently located on the East Bay in downtown Grand Marais, MN. We are your gateway to the BWCAW East, the northern terminus of the Superior Hiking Trail and the most premier sea kayaking in the Midwest. We specialize in the best gear, clothing and footwear for your outdoor needs all year long. We offer guided tours and gear rentals for your own expedition. Resumes or application requests can be sent to andys@stoneharborws.com 


Vosburgh's Custom Cabin Rentals • Ely, MN

General & Cleaning Staff

Vosburgh's Custom Cabin Rentals is a resort 20 miles northeast of Ely, Minnesota. With eight cabins, a fleet of boats, and a BWCAW tow service, our resort offers a little bit of everything for most everyone. Visit us at customcabins.com for more information and to apply email wmvosburgh@gmail.com or call 218-290-7228

General Staff:

• Our full time staff, often referred to as "dock professionals", cover a wide range of responsibilities. Tow boat operation, bait sales, motorboat cleaning and light repair, and general maintenance are all possible on a given day. Applicants with a strong work ethic, self motivation, and a knack for customer service welcome. 

Saturday Cleaning Staff:

• Saturday is our turnover day for cabins and boats. Responsibilities include regular cleaning of resort facilities, trash removal, general inspection of cabins for function and appearance, and stocking of relevant paper products. Competitive wages and pay for travel time to resorts available. 

Camps & Youth Groups


Birchwood Wilderness Camp • Grand Marais • MN


Summer Canoe Guide, Rock-Climbing Guide, Music Man Counselor, Kitchen Staff, Grounds Staff

A little about Birchwood Wilderness Camp; For more than 50 years, Birchwood Wilderness Camp has used wilderness experiences as a vehicle to inspire self-discovery, growth, and a shared sense of purpose amongst our campers. We are an all-boys summer camp (ages 7-17) located at the end of the Gunflint Trail just a stone's throw away from the nearest BWCAW entry point. We are considered a wilderness tripping camp, which means that our staff and campers spend most days paddling, hiking, or climbing.   

Here is a link to all job postings via our website: https://birchwoodwildernesscamp.com/work-at-camp

1. Summer Canoe Guide: Staff Application Link

Here at Birchwood, our summer camp guides and counselors live in cabins with six campers, aged seven to seventeen years old, and one other adult co-counselor. As a Birchwood Camp Counselor, it is your responsibility to lead young campers, assuring a positive, fun, and meaningful camping experience. As a counselor, you will have the opportunity to take groups of campers on canoeing, climbing, and hiking trips ranging from three days to seven days. You must have knowledge around outdoor activities, like hiking, canoeing or climbing. We don't ask you to be an expert by any means, just be proficient enough to lead. If you’re patient, energetic, yet firm when needed, we’d like to meet you. As a staff member, you'll receive certifications in Wilderness First Aid, possible Lifeguard training, and training in all outdoor activities we offer.

2. Rock Climbing Guide: Staff Application Link

Birchwood Wilderness Camp Rock Climbing Guides double as counselors and live in a cabin with six campers, ages seven to seventeen, and one other adult counselor. You will be expected to take groups of campers on canoe and hiking trips ranging from three days to seven days. You must be in appropriate health to carry a canoe over portages, willing to cook on a campfire or camp stove.  Our rock-climbing guide will be required to maintain our climbing gear, teach basic top-rope climbing on local rock, and be the lead counselor on climbing-specific trips. All camp counselors are expected to lead in-camp activities such as; fishing, riflery, archery, arts and crafts, wilderness cooking, canoeing, and kayaking. We don’t expect every counselor to be an expert in all of these, just be willing to learn and try new things. 

3. Music Man Counselor: Staff Application Link

Camp counselors with musical ability will live in a cabin with six campers, ages seven to seventeen, and one other adult counselor. You will be expected to take groups of campers on canoe and hiking trips ranging from three days to seven days. You must be in appropriate health to carry a canoe over portages, willing to cook on a campfire or camp stove. We are looking for someone that can lead songs in small groups. Someone that can teach young kids how to play the guitar or ukulele. You will be expected to be an important part of campfire sing-alongs. All camp counselors are expected to lead in-camp activities such as; fishing, riflery, archery, rock climbing, arts and crafts, wilderness cooking, canoeing, and kayaking. We don’t expect every counselor to be an expert in all of these, just be willing to learn and try new things.

4. Kitchen Managers Position: Staff Application Link

At Birchwood, we feed around sixty people three meals a day for five days each week for approximately eight weeks. Only applicants that have a love for the outdoors and an appreciation for working at a summer camp should consider this position. We hire one manager/cook, one cook, and one assistant. The manager/cook and the cook will share a cabin if appropriate. The Kitchen Manager will be required to establish appropriate recipes for the menu, develop food orders twice each week, and place the order electronically to our suppliers. We do prepare special meals for campers with dietary restrictions. Our kitchen has electricity, gas stoves, hot water, a walk-in cooler and a computer with internet. Although we don’t have a dishwasher, it is a good industrial kitchen for the job at hand. 

5. Kitchen/Grounds Assistant: Staff Application Link

The person hired for this position will be responsible for assisting the cook and kitchen manager.  In addition, this person will perform clean-up after meals, wash kitchenware, sweep and mop floors, and haul garbage and recycling. This position also requires cleaning of our four-stall shower house. Help with trip food packing is also required as needed

This is an entry-level position; no experience or training is required. This applicant will need to be flexible and willing to get the job done. A valid driver’s license is required.


Northern Lakes Girl Scout Canoe Base • Ely, MN

Wilderness Canoe Guide and Base Staff

The canoe guide has the primary responsibilities of guiding multi-day wilderness canoe trips with the capability to perform other duties as assigned. The canoe guide will assess the physical emotions, and program needs of the tripping crew and help them achieve their potential. Guides help canoe trip participants understand the life up to the Girl Scout promise and law and strive to develop enjoyment and appreciation of the outdoors environment. The canoe guide will ensure that participants have a fun positive, fulfilling, and educational educational experience that supports membership growth and retention. 

Our guides come from all over and have a range of experiences.  If you love adventure and are hard-working this job is for you!

Visit https://www.girlscoutslp.org/en/camp/Outdoor.html

Contact Ann for more info: mcnally.ann@gmail.com


Wilderness Canoe Base • Grand Marais, MN


Canoe Guide Counselor, Kitchen Team, Health Staff, Maintenance Team, Outfitter

We are hiring a variety of different positions ranging from Canoe Guide Counselor, to Kitchen team, to Health Staff, to Maintenance team, to Outfitter.  Because Wilderness Canoe Base provides all certifications necessary for these positions (Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness Water Safety, CPR/AED training), there are no “qualifications” necessary to apply.


Wilderness Canoe Base is located at the end of the Gunflint Trail, 54 miles northwest of Grand Marais, MN. In the heart of the forest, and on the lakes and streams of the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness, you will find stillness and serenity. You will also find friendship, space for conversations about faith, and community on our two islands located on Seagull Lake. At Wilderness Canoe Base, we want every person to realize that they are strong, loved and welcome. We believe that working in wild places can help open our hearts to these things, and we would love for you to consider joining our team to experience this yourself.

Visit this link for more info, as well as up to date job availability and descriptions: www.lakewapo.org/employment/wcbemployment