The Ivy League Of Outdoor Schools With Over 2 Decades Of Full-Time Experience
We help people become more skilled, more knowledgeable, more experienced and more confident by using traditional wilderness skills, a few simple tools and field-based experience. Whether you’re looking to go from city slicker to competent outdoor professional, want to experience a remote expedition, or just want to learn a few new outdoor skills, we’ve got you covered.
– Tim Smith, M.Ed., Registered Master Maine Guide.
Jack Mountain Bushcraft School Founder
“The most accomplished backwoodsman you’ll ever meet. This is Tim Smith.” – The Discovery Channel
Our Immersion Programs: The Most Comprehensive Professional Training Programs In The USA. College-Accredited, GI Bill ® Approved.
We’ve been training professional wilderness guides and bushcraft instructors in our immersion programs since 2001. These are full-time, residential, professional training programs, where students live off the grid for the duration, experiencing the woods life first hand and learning the lessons it has to teach. Our work has been recognized by universities and government agencies, demonstrated by approval from the Veterans Administration and having articulation agreements with the University of Maine at Presque Isle and Western State Colorado University.
The Wilderness Guide Training Semester
Length: 9 Weeks
Maximum Size: 10
College Credits: 10
When: Spring Term
Master wilderness living and travel skills while covering 300 miles by canoe.
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Length: 2 Weeks
Maximum Size: 8
College Credits: 2
When: Winter Term
Boreal forest winter bushcraft, snowshoes, toboggans and hot tents.
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Length: 4 Weeks
Maximum Size: 10
College Credits: 6
When: Summer Term
Two weeks of bushcraft in the forest, two weeks of traditional Maine Guide training on the Allagash.
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Our Experience: 20+ Years And 47 Long-Term Programs
Experience matters. Our programs and methods are based on our extensive experience, not untested theories. No other school has our level of experience. No school has been doing it longer. No school has run as many long-term programs. Read more about founder Tim Smith and our educational philosophy.
Our Instructors: Full-Time, Professional Guides And Educators Since 1999
We’re professional educators. We’ve been teaching and guiding full time, year-round, since 1999. Our instructors are Registered Master Maine Guides and Registered Maine Guides licensed by the state in the hunting, fishing, sea kayaking and recreation categories. Since 2017 we’ve been background checked by the FBI (as part of the licensing requirements for Registered Maine Guides). We’ve got over 20 years and 47 long-term immersion programs behind us.
We are not aspiring instructors, wannabee guides, hobbyist outdoorsmen, internet celebrities or reality tv personalities.
Our Curriculum: Practical And Tested On 20+ Years Of Expeditions
Our curriculum integrates primitive living and bushcraft with the skills necessary to be a professional wilderness guide. It draws on a variety of topics, including expedition leadership, bushcraft, primitive living skills, field ecology (edible and medicinal plants, mammals and their tracks, weather, the night sky, etc.), expedition canoeing and snowshoeing, natural crafting, off-grid homesteading, fly fishing, building your own gear (canoe paddles, pack baskets, bows, crooked knives, etc.) and living a simple, outdoor life. No misappropriation of native spirituality, no woo woo ceremonies, no passing along untested theories. More course-specific details are available on individual course pages.
Our Assessment System: Skills From The Past, Assessment From The Future
Our assessment system is based around rigid documentation standards, rigorous practical examinations and completing functional field assessments. We set the bar high and students need to be focused and work hard to complete all of the requirements necessary to achieve our certifications. Our documentation sysytem is based in Google Docs, and students complete daily and weekly assignments on a tablet, compiling an incredible amount of work and knowledge by the end of the course.
Our Students: Seeking Professional Training And Personal Enrichment
We’ve had immersion-program students from all over the world ranging in age from 18-55. The common thread has been a strong interest in traditional ways of living on the land. While we’re open to people from all walks of life, we specifically work with:
Earn a full semester of college credits while living the woods life. Eligible for Americorps education awards.
Professional training for the outdoor industry. Our field-based training gives you the knowledge and experience needed to turn pro and become a registered guide. Certifications available.
Our Academic & Teaching Method: The Anthropological Approach
Our approach to teaching bushcraft and outdoor living is what we call the anthropological approach, and is based on studying the cultures that have lived close to the land for millennia. It’s about being adaptable and learning from those who have done it and lived it, rather than trying to force a square peg into a round hole and force a pre-existing ideology onto a situation where it may not be appropriate. In addition to studying other cultures, this approach forces us to take an objective look at our own culture.
We also use the hard sciences of ecology to learn about the world around us and the principles of experiential education to build skill and muscle memory. Our programs are non-tactical and non-hippy.
Our Field School: 61-Acres Off The Grid In Masardis, Maine
Our field school is an ideal environment for training bushcraft instructors and wilderness guides. Winter is long and the snow is deep. Rivers are wild and remote. These are the big woods north of Katahdin.
Located off the grid in the northern Maine town of Masardis, our 61-acre field school is on the banks of the Aroostook river and directly adjacent to the North Maine Woods, a 3.5 million acre working forest. From our driveway it is 88 miles west to the Quebec border. In that space there are no towns, pavement or permanent residents, just working forest. Aroostook county, Maine is bordered by Canada on three sides, and our rivers flow into Canada before they get to the ocean.
At the field school we’ve got 3 miles of hiking trails, half a mile of riverfront, a stocked trout pond, several beaver ponds and a boreal forest biome. We routinely see bald eagles, moose, deer and turkeys, as well as see bear sign and hear the coyotes at night.
But while our location is remote, it’s surprisingly easy to get here. There are daily flights to Presque Isle International Airport (PQI) from Newark, NJ, on United Airlines. There is also daily bus service to Presque Isle. For more information on how easy it is to get here visit our travel information page.
Often Imitated, Never Duplicated
Over the years we’ve been copied, plagiarized, had our photos stolen and had entire web pages taken and reproduced countless times. But no one has been able to duplicate our experience. If authenticity and honesty matter to you, go with the original, not the imitation. We started running long-term wilderness immersion semesters in 2001. Now we’ve got 47 of them under our belts. We’re still innovating, still leading, still going strong.
What Our Students Say
“The Wilderness Bushcraft Semester profoundly changed my life – allowing me to challenge myself through opportunities and experiences I had, previously, only dreamed of.” – Jens Rasmussen, Fall 2007 Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Our Media: The JMB Blog, Podcast and Vlog
Check out our newest (or oldest) media posts on our media site at blog.jackmtn.com.
About The GI Bill ®
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by the VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.