The Steger Wilderness Center is located ten miles northeast of Ely, Minnesota, on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The Center occupies 240 acres of glaciated bedrock ridges, wetlands, and Picketts Lake.
The Steger Wilderness Center Residents Program
Participants in the Residents Program are committed to sustainability; embody the Center’s values; and work collaboratively in forest management, carpentry, construction, and the many practical tasks necessary to the operations of the Center.
The 2019 Residents Program will run for five months from the beginning of May through the end of September. A commitment of between 10 and 14 weeks is required for all Residents, with individual schedules tailored to college and/or work schedules.
“This was the best summer of my life. I don’t know how it happens, but the Steger
Wilderness Center attracts such amazing people. Everyone has so much to offer and it’s
amplified here. It really feels like a space where people can be at their best.”
– Sophia Skinner, 2018 Summer Resident
Orientation Week for all residents will be May 27th – June 1st at the Center. The orientation will address the mission, values and purpose of the Center. It will include work on a community construction project to facilitate tools/shop training; tours of the site and surrounding area; and guest speakers on critical aspects of life and work at the Center. Attendance of all residents at Orientation Week is required.
Residents live in their own tents. Meals are provided Monday – Friday, prepared by a full time cook at the Center’s Lodge.
Residents work weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but adapt their days of work and hours as needed to meet the essential operating requirements of the Center. The Center encourages residents to take advantage of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area during their days off. There are numerous hiking trails in the area, with maps and guidance available from Center staff and local guide services.
Swimming and canoeing are available on Center’s Picketts Lake. The sauna is available two days a week. The surrounding forest, wetlands and glaciated ridges provide a wild, peaceful daily setting.
$1000 for twelve weeks of the season, prorated for each resident’s actual time at the
“I got to meet so many awesome people this summer.
It was great. Especially the formal guests.
We had the opportunity to have amazing people visit
and it was our job to make them feel welcome.”
– Caitlin Augdahl, 2018 Summer Resident
To apply to the Residents Program:
• Please review the website of the Steger Wilderness Center.
• Send an email letter to email@example.com with your full name; full contact information; date of birth (must be 18 to apply); resume; and name, email address and telephone number of two references.
• Include in your letter a 100-200 word statement of why you think you would be a good
choice as a 2019 Steger Wilderness Center Resident.
If applicable, please include any skills or experience you would bring to the Residents
Program including, but not limited to the following:
– Food Preparation
– Organic Farming
– Operating Heavy Machinery
– Forestry/Chainsaw Operation
– Website Development & Social Media
– Fundraising/Development (If you have significant interest in this area, please consider applying for the Development Internship position)
Send your letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please contact us at any time with questions regarding the Residents Program by sending an email to:
We look forward to your application!
Steger Wilderness Center
We put a green roof on the Windfall Cabin! Learn from Assistant Director Jenna Pollard about the history of sod roofs and how we make ours at the Steger Wilderness Center.
We remodeled our sauna! After 25 years of use by Center staff and guests, the sauna needed a little TLC. Assistant Director Jenna Pollard shows us all the improvements that SWC residents and Summit Academy students made in just three workdays.
Follow along as Jenna leads a brand new group of Summit Academy students around the Homestead and shows them our solar array, wood shop, lodge, sauna, and lake village. Along the way we meet three of our dearest community animals — Jasper the sled dog, Mr. Chips the beaver, and Goliath the snapping turtle!
Two massive stone masonry projects — the Roman road and grand staircase — are finally coming together at the Steger Wilderness Center! Learn about this multi-year project from master stone mason Ian McKiel and his students.
Will and the Steger Wilderness Center communication squad travel together to Listening Point on nearby Burntside Lake – the fabled land of Sigurd Olson, the great nature writer, whose books still inspire love and wonder for the Boundary Waters and beyond.
In the video above, you can follow the full tour of Listening Point and hear Will tell stories about Sig. Below, watch our musical collaboration with artist Willow Bardlark who sang “The Singing Wilderness” during our visit.
Learn more about Sigurd Olson’s legacy at the Listening Point Foundation:
A new group of Summit Academy students arrives at the Steger Wilderness Center. The residents and newcomers will help master stone mason Jim Sullivan with his first project of the summer – building a terraced stone wall to divert pond water into the lake.
Johnny Ray & Jasper interview Jenna about the full-scribe log cabin she built with the Steger Wilderness Center summer residents and Summit Academy students after the great windstorm of 2016, which felled hundreds of trees in the area.