The Steger Wilderness Center is located ten miles northeast of Ely, Minnesota, on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness which, with the bordering Canadian Quetico, is the largest contiguous, motor-less canoe area in the world.
The Steger Center, founded with the dual goals of providing applied education through partnerships with technical and training schools; and serving as a convening center to address critical human and environmental needs, occupies 240 acres of glaciated bedrock ridges, wetlands, and Pickett Lake.
Since its inception in 2004, the Steger Wilderness Center Residents Program has grown to eight residents each year. Residents spend the summer amidst the wilderness in their own tents which they have freedom to pitch in designated areas of the Steger Center forest. Residents are provided healthy, free meals weekdays prepared by a full-time cook at the homey Steger Wilderness Center Lodge which also serves as a computer work space, library, music room and informal gathering place.
Residents typically work an 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. schedule. Regular two-day breaks are provided throughout the summer. Everyone works some evenings and some weekends to fulfill the Residents Program role of welcoming and seeing to the needs of day and overnight guests in connection with the Center's program, fundraising and governance work.
On the off hours and days, the Center encourages residents to take advantage of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Loaner canoes and paddles are available for sign-out. Swimming and canoeing are available on the Center's Pickett Lake which is bordered by bedrock ridges and outcroppings. The sauna on Pickett Lake is available two days a week. The surrounding forest, wetlands and glaciated ridges provide a wild, peaceful daily setting.
In addition to the life-changing experience and self-determination boost, there is a compensation of $1000 for the summer. And, for the first time in 2018, the Residents Program will have a Director that guides and schedules the work, serves as a teacher and mentor, and develops skill positions among the Residents.