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Yearlong Wilderness Bushcraft Immersion Program

“Jack mountain is a school like no other. The experience gained through living in the woods and traveling the rivers is profound. You learn through a true hands on approach where everything has to be experienced. The more you put in and the more accepting of learning by sometimes failing the more you achieve. So many lessons are learned through the experience you almost don’t realize that you are learning as they come from having to do things. You can take everything as far as you want to go. Tim has an impressive knowledge and a big heart and will share his experience and point you in the right direction if you want to know anything. I think the year long course has a lasting impact on all those people that undertake it. It gives you the ability to feel comfortable in the woods in any conditions from winter to summer and be able to understand more of what is around you. You see the woods and plants in a different way than before, not just as a beautiful place but something that can give you warmth, shelter and in some cases food. I have a unique and special set of memories and some great friends for future expeditions for forays into the wild. ”

– Andrew Crawford-White, England
Yearlong Immersion Program

Wilderness Bushcraft Semester Program

“I found bushcraft at a time when my academic orientation was transitioning from environmental liberal arts to ecology. My experiences in bushcraft have made significant contributions to my understanding of both fields. Spending time with Tim was, both intellectually and academically, a deeply valuable experience.

Studying environmental issues from the liberal arts perspective is, at its core, about the relationship between humans and the rest of the world. For urban people that relationship can be murky and the truth of it can be hard to grasp because it is so heavily mediated. Studying bushcraft and having the experience of life in its least mediated form is essential. My time at the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School enhanced my ability to parse what is necessary from what is not. When you can differentiate the unnecessary you gain a clearer view of the place of humans in the world.

Spending time on the land has also been a great help for studying ecology in an academic environment. Success in any science requires developing a strong intuition for the subject and intuition comes from experience. A semester of bushcraft training is, in many ways, like taking an entire semester of 24/7 ecology labs. You spend every day surrounded by ecological relationships, actively studying natural history with the guidance of a skilled naturalist. When you return to an academic setting you have a great wealth of ecological information to draw upon. Many of the conceptual aspects of the science then become names for patterns you have seen or even lived.

Bushcraft can be hard to clearly define because it is not simply the component skills and facts that make it up. Building a shelter, plant identification, friction fire, optimal foraging theory, poling a canoe, Aldo Leopold’s land ethic and tracking a snowshoe hare are all a part of the same thing. These are the dots and lines of understanding how to be in the world, bushcraft is the space between. Without the experience of doing and seeing on the land your picture is incomplete.”

– Taran Rallings, British Columbia, Canada
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Spring 2009

“In my opinion Tim’s greatest gift is his ability to demystify bushcraft. He makes bushcraft enjoyable and more importantly, accessible. So many of today’s practitioners of bushcraft would like you to believe that bushcraft is a rarefied art form, with only a diligent few acquiring mastery. This is, in my opinion, an elitist approach. Granted, many bushcraft skills require years of dedication to master, but Tim has a knack of making these skills accessible to any person interested in bushcraft. He gives his students the skill set and self-belief for a far more enjoyable, and vastly more enriching, experience of the outdoors. Well-learned Bushcraft enables an individual to develop a more intimate and respectful bond with nature, it also emboldens the individual to rely on their own ingenuity and skills.

There was something truly grand and liberating in spending 10 full weeks in the woods, to being outside everyday in the wilds of north Maine. When do we ever get a chance to directly experience and fully appreciate the slow seasonal transformation of summer to autumn?

One of my fondest memories of my 10 weeks with Tim was when we had camped beside a remote lake. Our canoes were secured for the night, the campfire was blazing, and slowly but surely a few loons began to let loose their haunting calls across the lake. Eventually, the moon made an appearance through the clouds. That sense of freedom and connection in a place of such great natural beauty is priceless. I don’t believe that feeling can always be easily acquired but it can be enhanced through the ancient and evolving art/science of bushcraft. In effect Tim is a gatekeeper of sorts, he teaches bushcraft but he also instils within the willing student – confidence. The confidence to get out there and have our own adventures in the wild. What more can you ask for? ”

– Sean Fagan, Ireland
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Fall 2008

“I would like to take some time to discuss just how wildly different the experience at Jack Mountain is from a normal college semester. Every night, at home and on trips, the students sleep in shelters they have built with their own hands. Exams are not necessary because everything is practiced daily, at least to the point of competency and often beyond. Students study botany and zoology using the local flora and fauna as the object of their studies, and because of the daily contact with them the students are able to identify a specimen by its Latin name at a glance. Manual skills such as axe and knife-work are put to use just about every day of the course, even on the weekends. Traveling by canoe on a river the students are placed in a situation where they must choose either to learn the correct way to pole the canoe or to give up and sit down on the bank of the river. The “middle ground” of simply attending class and trying to absorb the information through osmosis is not an option at Jack Mountain, and this is what makes the school and its students stand out miles above a traditional college. Personally, I can say that I learned much more in ten weeks than I have in the past three years at college.”    Read more from Russell’s final paper

– Russell Venditto, Rhode Island
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Fall 2007

“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, New York
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Fall 2007

“I’m not sure anything I could write would do the least bit of justice to the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester, or should I say, words can’t even begin to describe my experiences at Jack Mountain, and my writing falls short of capturing my time there even if I were to write 100 pages about it. Aside from all the technical information I learned, I feel like I learned a fair amount about myself and really adopted some new philosophies along the way as well. Jack Mountain was just an overall wholesome experience. I feel confident about my wilderness navigation and survival skills, as well as my ability to create practical objects and tools out of wood and leather, using some of the oldest traditions known to man.”

– Julian Staller, New York
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Fall 2007

“The Wilderness Bushcraft Semester was a truly unique and profound educational experience. During the semester your daily rhythm slows the speed of life. When that happens, the ordinary things you used to just walk by become profoundly obvious and infused with deeper meaning. It was only when I took the time to watch a radiant frost give birth to the golden mists of a morning, to listen in awe to bard owls and loons tell stories in the evening, to feel the wood under my knife reveal a secret, to smell the romance of a rutting season courtship, and to taste the hidden treasure of a creeping snow-berry, that I realized I was gaining more than just knowledge, but awareness.”

– Devin Hickman, Vermont
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Fall 2006

“The Wilderness Bushcraft Semester experience focused on the practice of wilderness living skills. The theory and science were given their due time and importance as well, but the difference for me was how much time we spent putting our new knowledge to use. But it wasn’t just the things I learned. Just as important was how I learned them surrounded by fast/deep friends and lots of laughter. It was a great experience for me how smoothly we worked together, dividing up chores and taking turns cooking. I really enjoyed learning as a group, sharing our observations, and theorizing on different phenomena. As our semester progressed I felt more and more a part of nature. The distance and numbness promoted by modern convenience living slowly peeled away as I learned how to use my axe and knife to build what I need to live in nature. The necessities that I had come to take for granted, warmth for example, were things I had to generate for myself. I have become both more confident and more humble.”

– Dawa Fitzmaurice, California
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Fall 2006

“The song of life is a mixture of lyrics and melodies, rythems and rhymes; one without the other creates imbalance. When they are known and lived, the music of life rings harmoniously. Tim has the wonderful ability to teach the words, while letting you find the melody and rythem on your own, allowing you to take what Tim is teaching in whatever direction works best for you. When we took a tree, we didn’t ask the forest for permission or leave an offering, but through Tim’s actions, he taught us reverence for what was around us. The level of realsim in the class was refreshing in an age of trendy spiritualism and plastic wrapped religion. Basically were we learning how to live, not just to survive.”

– Paul Sveum, Wisconsin
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Fall 2005

“It was good to get back to the basics of life, only having to worry about firewood for the night and keeping your axe sharp.”

– Brandon Clark, New Brunswick, Canada
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Fall 2005

“Whether people like it or not we are still animals with the same needs and instincts as the earliest homo sapiens. I think some primal aspect of ourselves is made very uneasy by how ignorant we are of the means of fulfilling our basic needs. People who live off microwave burritos are totally cut-off from where their food actually comes from, how it’s produced, gathered and prepared. I can now wander into the woods with nothing but the clothes on my back and build myself a shelter that will keep me warm in freezing temperatures, build traps to catch animals and collect edible plants. I can tan the hides of those animals to make clothing, and use their bones to make knives and fish hooks and various other tools. I’m aware of what my most basic needs are, and I know how to satisfy them. I realize that the likelihood that my survival will ever depend on these skills is slim to none, but that doesn’t change the fact that engaging in them puts me in touch with a fundamental element of my humanity that has thus far received little attention.”

– Brian Lacey, Saskatchewan, Canada
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Fall 2004

“After finishing the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester people are always asking me what I liked most about it. What a hard question when the answer is simply the entire experience. It was the ability to retreat into the woods and immerse oneself in primitive living and bush skills for an entire three months. It was the daily chores of collecting firewood, identifying plants, and being aware of the movement of animals and changes in the forest. It was waking in the middle of the night to stoke the fire, gaze at the stars, and listen to the wind move the branches of the surrounding hemlocks. From my early morning sit to the sunset over the lake, each day brought new experiences and a growing knowledge of the forest resources around me. So I tell them, my favorite part was collecting firewood. For then I knew that night I would sleep warm.”

– Ernie Davis, New Hampshire
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Fall 2004

“Thank you so much for a wonderful 12 weeks and for being a great teacher and friend. Your determination to figure out how something works and your passion for passing on that knowledge to others had more of an effect on me than anything else. You’re an inspiration and the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester was an experience that will continue giving me benefits long into the future.”

– Peter Frost, Washington
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Winter 2004

“I came into the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester looking to become more comfortable in the woods, with my main focus being survival situations. We’ve accomplished that and much more. The instructor’s knowledge, skills, patience, and flexibility are truly inspiring. The available resources are nearly limitless. I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to learn to live in closer connection with the natural world and have a great, fun time in the process.”

– Jim Kossick, Illinois
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Winter 2004

“Before I took the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester, I had a huge list of gear that I needed to have in the outdoors. Most of the ideas for this list came from books and well-meaning outdoor instructors who probably read the same books. Now I have an entirely different list, a much smaller list, based on my experiences, my new skills and new awareness that I gained from the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester. I have so much more faith in my ability to improvise and use the materials around me.
The Wilderness Bushcraft Semester demystified wilderness skills for me. The skills became not only accessible but also achievable. I didn’t need to know the secret hand-shake, I just needed to have the opportunity to practice the skill under the guidance of a teacher. This is one of the many things that the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester provided for me. Every day was a new challenge, a new experience.
And with these new skills and experiences came new perspectives. For example, by carving a canoe paddle myself instead of buying one mass-produced by another, I not only gained a deeper appreciation for the paddle but I also gained a larger understanding of what it would take for someone to provide for himself all of the things needed to live.”

– Lisa Tancredi, New Mexico
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Fall 2003

“For the twelve weeks of the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester I always knew what phase the moon was in and what the weather was. This awareness was something I’d seldom had the opportunity to foster before. Before this, all my outdoor experience had been recreational. Having grown up camping and backpacking, this took something I already knew and gave it a half-twist so I was looking at the same environment in a totally different light. The greatest gratification came from taking walks in the woods and gradually feeling less and less blind. More than a class, the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester was a twelve-week exploration, with Tim acting as guide. The things I did and the crafts I built were amazing, but the most important thing I walked away with was a new level of comfort with the natural world. More than ever I’m aware of how little I know, but Tim and his course gave me a foundation from which to build on from here.”

– Cate Brown, Virginia
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Fall 2003

“I highly recommend the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester to anyone interested in living more fully. The instructors and the material covered not only broadened my awareness of the natural world, but also taught me to begin to perceive life, with all its subtleties, in a much deeper way. All the skills taught during the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester, from primitive fire-making to brain-tanning to mukluk sewing, were presented in a useful and enjoyable manner. I am so grateful for all the lessons I learned in the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester and know I will reference them time and time again throughout my life.”

– Aiyana Booth-Athenian, Maine
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Winter 2003

“The Wilderness Bushcraft Semester exceeded my expectations and altered my perspective. The instructors have set up a solid course for the maximum in wilderness living skills learning without burnout. Tim Smith is a wealth of knowledge and another level in humor. The atmosphere of the class is easygoing and fun. From plant identification and application to shelter construction to mental awareness exercises, we were exposed to a wide array of teachings. Most importantly I took away a spirit of learning and an increased awareness of myself and my surroundings.”

– Bret Schact, Nebraska
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Winter 2003

“The Wilderness Bushcraft Semester is an experience without compare; in looking for a course that gives a full and cohesive curriculum of primitive and wilderness skills, this is the only one that fulfilled my requirements. And the experience of those twelve weeks lived up to and surpassed all my expectations. I have learned more practical knowledge, and had more fun doing so, than in any of my university semesters. The experience also made me aware of how much we take for granted in life. I have begun to see how all the things that make our lives “easy” have a price, and have realized how empowering it can be to turn what is considered “waste” into beautiful compost, and how free I feel living without things that are made in an unsustainable way. For me, the best part of this program was its focus on living in harmony with nature, not overcoming her.”

– Jessica Gorton, New Jersey
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Winter 2002

“When I went into this course I tried to limit any expectations. I just kept a positive outlook on the experience and had a feeling it would be life changing. It has been that and more. I’m still trying to take in all the course has taught me, but I certainly notice and change in my personality, demeanor, spirit and connection.”

– Ryan Grindle, Maine
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
Winter 2002

“Looking back, it is amazing to me not only the number of skills I learned, but how much I grew intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. During my three-months, I learned basic survival skills such as shelter building, friction fire, finding water, and identifying edible plants. I lived in a natural shelter and helped construct other shelters. Living in a natural shelter is a reflection of the entire experience – it is remarkably unique and you are literally surrounded by nature.
I’ve been a suburban/city person most my life so the program was quite a change. The day I arrived, I sat outside my shelter for a while just amazed at how different it was than anything I’d seen before. Lying on a bed of boughs (evergreen branches), my new home smelled like earth, trees, and coolness. Spring peepers’ chorus and other nighttime noises surrounded me like a warm homecoming. Even for city people like me, the life style, living arrangements, and survival skills promote developing a connection with the Earth. I have never felt as close with Nature, or as comfortable and happy being outdoors.
The benefits of learning survival skills have followed me out of the woods and into every aspect of my life. In many ways, survival skills are a tool to expand your mind. For example, living on wild edibles is outside the realm of many people’s imagination and therefore seems impossible. Seeing its feasibility breaks the hold of the idea that it is “impossible”.
Being a biology and education major, conservation is very important to me. I have seen through my studies that a holistic, large picture understanding of the Earth is essential for conservation. Most of the survival skills I learned depend closely on understanding the Earth and were taught with respect of the land and conservation in mind. Because of this, these skills have given me a type of connection and knowledge of our Earth that few biology classes could. I feel that this awareness of the Earth has made me a more effective conservationist; after all, you cannot help what you do not understand.
For those in college, the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester can count for internship/applied learning credits. More importantly, it is an amazingly unique chance to open your mind to different possibilities, life styles, philosophies, and spirituality that can make the college experience easier and more meaningful. For all people, the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester is a unique opportunity to learn survival skills and attitudes that promote an intimate understanding of nature with wonderfully skilled and humorous teachers. I wish that everyone had the opportunity to take part in this experience.”

– Kathy Chen, North Carolina
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester Pilot Program, 2000

Bushcraft Summer Immersion Program

“The time my son and I spent at the 2007 Bushcraft Summer Immersion Program was an eye-opener for the both of us. I thought of myself as knowledgeable in outdoor skills and survival but Tim taught us skills we can use in the wilderness with confidence. His unlimited knowledge of plants, trees and their properties for food or medicine during plant walks was educational and entertaining. Tim and his staff made us feel at home the minute we arrived, and we enjoyed their quick wit and humor throughout the course. Thanks Tim.”

– Stephen and Jordan Marshall, Nova Scotia, Canada
Bushcraft Summer Immersion Program
June-July, 2007

“My experience at Jack Mountain revealed a whole new world. I have a better understanding of how the different parts of this life fit together-namely our human society and nature. We view the woods and open lands as backdrops, as optionals we can take or leave. But throughout time, they are the constant. It is our society, our almost dream-world, that is the temporary, changing thing. This summer, sitting on the ridge of a mountain, watching the sun set over endless trees, I felt more at touch with reality than ever before. During my time at Jack Mountain, I gained both practical skill and a more thorough interpretation of our role as a species. We are, in fact, part of the natural world. Appreciation of this fact is the most valuable thing I have gained.”

– Emma Tipping, Pennsylvania
Bushcraft Summer Immersion Program
July 2005

Guided Canoe Trips

“As a place, Ouje was like no other. I experienced a silence and serentiy undescribable. Sunrise on a desolate northern lake – no people, just nature. Even the tracks of bear, moose, wolf and beaver were quiet. Eagles, loons, geese and kingfishers kept us company. The Cree of Ouje are incredible also. Our guides were very lean on speech, but they taught much by doing their everyday tasks with skill, grace and precision. Every day gave me a great deal of satisfaction.”

– Vince Walsh, New York
Ouje-Bougoumou, Quebec Canoe Trip
August 2007
Kawing Crow – Adirondack Nature Awareness Center

“As we near the corner of winter my thoughts go back to August on the Allagash with you guiding us; me, Grandpa – 3 vigorous sons in their late 30’s and 40’s and my “greenhorn” grandsons, age 7, 10, and 12. This, because of you, was an unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience. Your patience with all my kids, and particularly the grandkids, is a lesson all of us should learn, and you’re only 33. Your skill – teaching as well as canoeing – safety mindedness and acute knowledge are amazing. We will never forget the sightings (as close as 15 feet away) of moose, weasels, beavers, fox, and above all the eagles, one of which swooped down to take an ill-advised swimming squirrel only five feet aft of a canoe. Weren’t those kids bug-eyed! I would recommend your guide services (and at such a reasonable cost) to anyone of any age (down to 7). Your teaching, observation and empathetic nature made this a trip people should stand on line for. They are extraordinary! Lots of thanks and fond remembrances.”

– Dr. Peter Garner, New York
Allagash River Canoe Trip
August 2004

“The trip was outstanding. The length of the paddling sections were very appropriate and my arms never really got tired. By the end of the trip I was so used to being out there camping and paddling and living in the woods it really became second nature. Thanks again Tim. I really had a blast.”

– Ross Wolfson, New York
St. John River Canoe Trip
May 2003

” I am an older person and was most comfortable on this trip from beginning to end. I am not an expert outdoorsperson or an expert canoeist, but the helpfulness and professionalism of the guides made the trip fun and not too difficult. Time spent on the water was just right; no days were too long. When the weather was cold and rainy having the wall tent and wood stove along made all the difference. I was impressed when you invited the people from the other party in to warm up, demonstrating that your sense of fellowship and camaraderie extended beyond our party to all who we met on the river. A true learning experience and one I highly recommend.”

– Diane Messner, Florida
St. John River Canoe Trip
May 2003

” The St. John is the most spectacular river in Maine. The peace and tranquility is unbelievable. Water varies from quiet flat water to roaring rapids. I have experienced low water and high water runs with Tim. I had the great fun running down the Big Black Rapids with Tim in the stern in high water and only got my sleeve wet. His humor adds to the campfire chat. I love the St. John river, this being my fourth trip.”

– Mary Sue Carlisle, Maine
St. John River Canoe Trip
May 2003

“Because of never having done something like this and age, I was a little fearful. However, being on the river and lakes was so peaceful and the scenery grand. I felt good at the end of each day – ready for sleep and looking forward to the next day. I felt that my husband and I were in good hands.”

– Janet Smargon, Massachusetts
Allagash River Canoe Trip
May 2003

“Jan and a I had a great time. I am recommending your trips to all the people I speak to. ”

– Pete Smargon, Massachusetts
Allagash River Canoe Trip
May 2003

Wilderness Skills and Survival Courses

“The Jack Mountain Bushcraft School gave me the opportunity to earn contact hours toward my professional recertification needs as a secondary education teacher. Whether you are interested in implementing elements of “outdoor education” into a Science, Mathematics, History, or English curriculum, or in starting a full-blown program at your school, Jack Mountain can meet your needs. From wilderness survival, to botany, to Maine “woods” history, Jack Mountain offers multi-faceted college accredited programs that will help any teacher add dynamic instruction in and out of the classroom.”

– Jeff Giallombardo, Maine
Riverman Course
June 2011

“In June of 2010, I took back to back week long courses at the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School, the Woodsman and Bushman (Primitive Skills). I am a school teacher of ten years and for the past two or three years I have been looking for a course involving outdoor education and living skills. I had come up empty for quite a while because most courses I found around the U.S. were promoting “survival” and what to do in stressful situations. This did not interest me because I feel that if one is truly an outdoorsman, the chance of finding oneself in a “survival” situation is slim to none. I am interested in in the knowledge of plants and animals in the natural environment surrounding me and the skills to live, not survive, in that environment. The Jack Mountain Bushcraft School was exactly what I was looking for and more. Tim Smith is an extremely knowledgeable and experienced instructor. I couldn’t have been happier. Obviously, two weeks is not enough time to master all of bushcraft. But, you are able to get a good base from an abundance of knowledge and skills for you to continue your own personal growth and research. Tim will show you the right way and the safe way to get started. I strongly recommend the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School for all. I have spent a lot of time in the woods. However, walking throught the woods after those two weeks was with a new awareness that I did not have before. Knowledge of plants, trees, and their uses gives you a new set of eyes.”

– Greg Averill, Maine
Woodsman And Bushman Courses
June 2010

“I can honestly say that I had a wonderful time at the Jack Mountain Bushcraft Field School in Maine. The staff (Shawn & Jeff) were both very knowledgeable and friendly. Thanks to Shawn, we gorged ourselves on fresh moose meat throughout the week at meals. Where else can you do that? And Jeff kept us thoroughly entertained around the campfire with anecdotal stories of guided dog sled trips and bear hunting adventures.

Tim is a walking encyclopedia of bushcraft and outdoor knowledge who is evenly balanced with the appropriate experience. There are many Outdoor Educators, Wilderness Leaders or Instructors who are well versed in the many theories and principals of bushcraft and wilderness living. But few possess the qualifications that come with the application of that knowledge in the heart of the Northern Forest (or anywhere else for that matter). Tim’s understanding of bushcraft is uniquely expressed by his confident command of the subject, and is perhaps most evident in his actions. His years of experience are conspicuous in every fluent stroke of his canoe paddle or skillful manipulation of his knife blade. There are subtleties in these actions that are impossible to fake or hide. Perhaps most importantly, Tim is approachable; he makes you feel comfortable and he is eager to share what he knows. The teaching environment is very relaxed and flexible, with an emphasis placed more on ensuring comprehension of the subject material than on simply reciting prepared notes from a lesson plan. If you want to learn from one of the best, then stop looking and visit Jack Mountain Bushcraft. You won’t be disappointed.”

– John Brennan, New York
Riverman Course
May 2010

“Thank you for a great winter survival class! I had a very enjoyable weekend and learned more than I imagined possible in such a short time. You have a gift for quickly making the survival material seem simple, accessable and do-able. You not only know a tremendous amount, you are able to impart that knowledge in a way that was immediately empowering for me and the rest of the class. I’ll be processing and applying what you shared for months – both the hard skills and your approach to survial.”

– Mark Kutolowski, Vermont
Winter Survival Weekend Course
February 2008

“Your weekend class was great! I signed up to learn some of the basics, but got more than I expected. By your covering a balanced agenda of skills — shelter building, fire ignition, map and compass reading, etc. — we received a broad introduction to many critical areas of survival. Also, your framework approach is practical and informative. In short, I enjoyed the class and will recommend it to others.”

– John Coates, New York
Summer Survival Weekend Course
July 2007

“This past weekend, (July 20, 2007), my friend Dan and I took the Summer Survival Course. Dan and I were quite confident we knew enough to survive and only wanted to brush up on our knowledge. We were quickly humbled by Tim’s knowledge and our lack of knowledge of the outdoors. Tim’s style of hands on skill learning and sense of humor made the class not only interesting by extremely enjoyable. Only now do I know how lucky I was NOT to have been lost in the woods before. I have no doubt that if I do get stranded, I will be able to keep calm and survive until help arrives. I highly recommend his courses. We will be back for more knowledge. On the Good to Bad scale, this is definitely “GOOD”.”

– Kenneth Muravnick, Connecticut
Summer Survival Weekend Course
July 2007

“Tim Smith of Jack Mountain Bushcraft and Guide Service is one of the most knowledgeable guides and educators that I know. His bushcraft and outdoor cooking skills are great, and he has that certain way of teaching that conjures up thoughts of that favorite teacher that you once had in school. He allows you to learn and enjoy at the same time. The lost art of bushcraft is not lost as long as Tim’s around, it’s a pleasure to know him!”

– Steve Murphy, Massachusetts
Northwind Outfitters and Guide Service
Outdoor Cooking and Sourdough Baking Course
February 2007

“In my 60 odd years I have run into lots of smart people, but they are seldom good teachers. My weekend with Tim provided me with one of those rare occasions where the combination occurred. Tim taught us basic survival techniques using a friendly, hands-on approach. He stressed the process not results so there was never a fear of failure or looking foolish. A two day course can only skim the surface of the survival field, so Tim welcomed questions that allowed us to dig deeper into areas of special interest. And no matter how far we went into an issue I never had the impression we were any where near the end of Tim’s knowledge on the subject. He is incredibly well read, and has the bibliography in his head, so I came away with several recommendations for further learning. And all the academics are, of course, seasoned with the experience gained from extensive time in the bush. An introduction to the art of living in the bush has whetted my appetite for more. That’s what good teachers do.”

– Dick Forte, Massachusetts
Winter Survival Weekend Course
December 2006

“When one of the course participants fell off the shelter bed he was sleeping on in the middle of the night and woke up laughing, I thought it was the perfect testimony to the way Tim is able to take the urban dweller, introduce him to the outdoor life and make it a thoroughly enjoyable experience, whatever happens. Although time constraints meant we could only lightly touch the whole subject of wilderness and survival during our weekend course, Tim was the perfect guide – attentive, knowledgable, entertaining and engaged. He also crammed in a large dollop of his incredible fund of knowledge on topics ranging from fire making to edible plants to soap making. The best thing is that he cares. Go on one of his courses, re-connect with the real world and tell all your friends.”

– Derek Perkins , Massachusetts
Summer Survival Weekend Course
June 2006

“Thank you for an excellent workshop on canoe poling and paddling at the end of April. The tips I received will come in very useful in my future adventures, and I can now tackle the Northern Forest Canoe Trail with the confidence that I have the skills to paddle and control my boat no matter the conditions.”

– Chuck Horbert , Rhode Island
Canoe Poling and Traditional Paddling Workshop
April 2006

“Tim not only teaches useful hands-on skills but also the theory and history behind them. This combined with his teaching ability, easygoing personality and incredible depth of knowledge make Jack Mountain a perfect place to learn.”

– Bruce Ebbett, New Brunswick, Canada
Northwoods Bushcraft Course
April 2006

“The course taught me things I always wanted to learn but could never find anyone to teach me.”

– Wendy Weiger, MD, Maine
Advanced Winter Survival Course
February 2006

“The course was great. It was like scout camp for adults.”

– Jack Platt, Massachusetts
Advanced Winter Survival Course
February 2006

“The course was the perfect level of instruction for the beginner or intermediate outdoorsman. I was exposed to the necessary skills. The more advanced people in the class also came away with plenty of new information. The 4:1 student to instructor ratio made the instructors very accessible to get more detail whenever necessary. I plan to be back for the winter course.”

– Steve Torla, New Hampshire
Summer Survival Weekend Course
June 2005

“In preparing for a 7-day solo trip I was seeking knowledge and confidence. Tim exceeded my expectations in both areas. If I ever need a guide in Canada, Jeff Butler (friend of JMBS, occasional instructor and the owner of Northwoods Survival in New Brunswick, Canada) is the one only call I will make; knowledgeable, conscientious and fun.”

– Doug Leland, California
Summer Survival Weekend Course
June 2005

“Tim gives a real nice introduction into the skills. You get very hands-on and you can progress and learn as much as you want. Great facilities. Tim is a great resource and a vessel of knowledge. Jeff Butler (friend of JMBS, occasional instructor and the owner ofNorthwoods Survival in New Brunswick, Canada) is fantastic; super knowledgeable and has an easy, friendly teaching style. Together Tim and Jeff complemented each other well. It was a treat to have their combined knowledge and they made for a fun, relaxed environment. Great stories too.”

– Keong Sim, New York
Summer Survival Weekend Course
June 2005

“Tim has an enormous amount of knowledge on almost every aspect of wilderness skills. Having applied his knowledge to perfecting his skills, he zeros in on what works most effectively and what to avoid. In three days of rainy weather we were able to hone the skill of the one-match fire to the point of feeling confident in making a fire despite adverse conditions. Jeff Butler (friend of JMBS, occasional instructor and the owner of Northwoods Survival in New Brunswick, Canada) has a wealth of knowledge that he readily shares in all aspects of survival skills and Bushcraft. His humor is invaluable and added levity to the weekend.”

– Karen Zale, Vermont
Summer Survival Weekend Course
June 2005

“Tim is really knowledgeable and a great host. I think I will enjoy all of my hikes more after this course.”

– Nathan Gauthier, Massachusetts
Mammal Tracking Workshop
January 2005

“I had a great time and learned some very useful information in a rather short amount of time. I’ll be back again!”

– Josh Carter, Maine
Mammal Tracking Workshop
January 2005

“The great thing about this course is that Tim explains the scientific principles behind every survival method he teaches so it is easy to understand and absorb.”

– Sid Stubbe, Massachusetts
Summer Survival Weekend Course
June 2004

“Thank you very much for the survival information that I learned while attending the Winter Survival course in January, 2003. The information would be a life saver if the unexpected occurs. To the game or trophy hunters who think this knowledge is not necessary, take it from me, you are seriously wrong. Things can happen even with a guide. I have been on a number of guided hunts, drop camps hunts, and self organized 2 week camping-hunting trips. On our non-guided trips, there have been times when a member of our group has gotten turned around while out in the field, but always found their way back. On one occasion the hunter missed the marked trail (blaze orange ribbons) and missed the camp by about 20 or 30 yards. The other hunter did not hear the whistle because he was tone deaf for that pitch (we found this out afterwards and we changed our whistles). He finally got back to the camp a few hours later than expected. The worst experience happened to me, when my guide became lost and we had to stay out in sub-freezing weather for the night, with the woods being wet because it rained on and off that day. Everything the guide did was wrong in a survival sense. The only lucky thing was that the last inch of a 12 inch car flare finally got the damp wood burning. After that experience I told myself that the only safe way is have the survival knowledge yourself. The guys in your party should also be at the same level. Once again Tim thanks for the great course.”

– Charles Scott, DPM, Connecticut
Winter Survival and Wilderness Skills
February 2003

“Tim brings a great depth of knowledge and is able to communicate complex concepts simply. Five star course.”

– Frank Grindrod, Massachusetts
Summer Survival Weekend Course
June 2003
Earthwork Programs

“The wilderness navigation class that Tim taught was both educational and life changing. In addition to the planned wilderness navigation skills we also learned about edible plants and roots, the use of a sundial, fire making skills, basic backpack/knapsack making, essential knots and rope usage, and even how to make and play the didgeridoo. But the characteristics of the class that I was most affected by were Tim’s overall appreciation of being outdoors and respect for nature. I left the class with a greater appreciation for the wilderness and a longing desire to quickly return. I truly believe Tim is one person that could be dropped in the middle of the uncharted wilderness with nothing but the clothes on his back and be able to survive with ease for as long as he desired.”

– Ted Corrigan, Massachusetts
Barehand Navigation and Travel Course
July 2000

“It was a great experience…and a good reminder of how unnecessary many of life’s complications are and just how much nature has to offer us.”

– Shayne White, Nova Scotia, Canada
Barehand Navigation and Travel Course
July 2000

“I really appreciated being able to take part in this class despite my health problems. It was absolutely worthwhile. I learned tons even though I was tired often. Thanks for working with me around my limitations.”

– Amy A., New Hampshire
Summer Survival and Wilderness Skills
July 1999

“The highlights of the class were getting my first hand drill coals, tracking the owl, and to a lesser extent having it defecate on my arm as it flew low overhead. Along with the broad range of survival skills covered, I enjoyed the fun and laughter that permeated the entire week.”

– Craig Augustinsky, Connecticut
Summer Survival and Wilderness Skills
July 1999

Canoe Expedition and Guide Training Course

“I took Tim’s Allagash trip to help me expand my guide service from day trip fishing to canoe tripping. We learned and practiced everything from planning and provisioning to group management while we worked on paddling, poling and bushcraft skills. Instruction was tailored to fit individual learning styles as well as the skill being taught. The result was rapid increases in skill levels by all and a thorough appreciation of what it takes to turn a group into a team over the course of two weeks on a river system. Tim’s unique sense of humor and leadership style capped the experience. Highly recommended!”

– Bud Farwell, Maine
Registered Maine Guide
Canoe Guide Training and Bushcraft Course
September 2006

        “As a 20 year serving member of Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry of the Canadian Armed Forces and the subject matter expert for dismounted infantry operations at the school of infantry, I enrolled in Tim Smith’s Canoe Expedition and Guide Training Course with high expectations. Tim not only met, but exceeded them. His knowledge of the north woods and his respect for the old ways made the course a delight to be a part of. I learned so much by talking with and observing Tim during our time together. I would highly recommend any of Tim’s courses to anyone who has a desire to learn about the natural history and traditions of the north woods, as well as the skills that are required to get out an enjoy them. Tim’s knowledge of the bush, courtesy towards his clients and wonderful sense of humor made this course a great learning experience. I’ll be back.”

– Jeff Butler C.D., New Brunswick, Canada
Warrant Officer
Infantry School SME
Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry
July 2004
Northwoods Survival

Private Courses and Custom Workshops

“Thank you for your hospitality. I thoroughly enjoyed your course. I feel as though you are extremely well-read and an expert in bushcraft and primitive living skills. Your course had taught me valuable skills and an awareness that is needed when traveling through wilderness settings. As a result of your teachings, I feel more confident in my outdoor skills. Accordingly, I will be a safer backpacker and kayaker.”

– Austin Schwartz, Illinois
March 2006

” Tim Smith meets and exceeds all expectations. From his professional approach with his work to the hospitality that he shares with all who visit Jack Mountain, the experience leaves a positive lasting impression. I found that as long as I was willing to listen, Tim was willing to pass on information. He made the experience of making a bow and toboggan easy and enjoyable.”

– Larry Sandford C.D., New Brunswick, Canada
Captain, Canadian Forces(RCR)
January 2006

“I am the parent of two children and wanted to organize a primitive technology course for my children and their friends, with varying ability and age. I asked Tim to be the instructor and being a new father, he agreed as he understood what a course such as this could be for kids. Tim was great. He was very flexible when discussing potential course topics, which we agreed would be bow-making. We started the bow-making day, walking into a patch of new growth with Tim identifying the trees and selecting a tree to make a very simple survival bow. We then selected staves to make a self-bow that we would carve. During the course he kept the children interested in bow making for 3 straight hours, without a break. He was able to teach to all levels of children’s ability and he walked from person to person offering guidance and instruction as needed. Tim’s approach is laid-back, but very knowledgeable. He demonstrates the techniques and then repeats the instructions for those who may have missed a step. It was great to see the kids actively working on bow-making and by the end of the day, begin shooting their new bows. Later in the day, Tim was prepared to teach an ad-hoc course making a string bottle holder for those who were interested in other crafts. It was great to see proud children going home, carrying their new tool. We will definitely have Tim back for another course. ”

– Jim Turner, New Hampshire
January, 2006

“I came over from Scotland for a 2-week private workshop with Tim to gain the skills and experience needed to start a new career. As a first step on that career ladder, spending time with Tim was the best thing I could have done. Ten out of ten for the skills I learned, the experience I gained, and especially for making me feel like part of the family.”

– Paul Carpenter, Scotland, United Kingdom
July – August, 2004

“Being able to enjoy a whole weekend doing the simplest of chores – fire-making, tracking and carving, was great! Tim was able to build confidence in my skills and teach me so many new ones. He has patience and courtesy and is truly a gentleman of the woods.”

– Moe Blondeau, New Hampshire
January, 2005

“I love the knowledge I acquired – being able to master the basics – or try to anyway. I have learned so much from Tim. He is very patient and social. You can rely on him to teach you anything!”

– Tyler Blondeau, New Hampshire
January, 2005

“The course was great. I camp with lots of enthusiasm and left with more. I loved how the instructor adapted to my changing interests.”

– Josh Cowan, Quebec, Canada
October, 2004

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the experience. I had contacted Tim, based primarily on his solid and growing reputation, to brush up on “survival” skills I had learned some years back. I left with a far greater level of technical proficiency and confidence than I’ve ever had. That was expected. What was truly an unexpected and positive surprise (in addition to just how much fun the week was) is Tim’s extensive knowledge of, and passion for, primitive living and culture (I should have known — go look at his resume). Importantly, Tim shares this knowledge and passion in an interesting, and very relevant way. Being a NYC resident and having grown up in a “military” environment, I initially wondered if this angle would detract from my re/learning technical “survival” skills. How wrong I was. Aside from being extremely interesting, it provides a real context (obviously, a critical element for any learning) for everything else. It truly is additive to the learning experience, regardless of what you want to get out of your time with Tim. He is wonderfully humble and personable, highly knowledgeable and proficient, and an excellent teacher. Truly, more than I ever hoped to find in an instructor/guide. I should add that the teaching doesn’t stop when you leave. Tim makes himself highly accessible afterward to answer questions, provide reading suggestions, etc. Rest assured, I will be back time and again.”

– Kyle Rudden, New York
April 2003

Crafting Workshops

“Thank for an extremely educational and fun-filled experience at the pack basket workshop. The best thing about the class was that you never doubted my ability at handling a knife, drilling, sawing or weaving. I would recommend this class to anyone, Tim will make the experience memorable and enjoyable. Thank you Tim, I think I found a hobby of my own!”

– Janice Watson, New Hampshire
March, 2006

“I enjoyed learning how to construct a toboggan at Jack Mountain Bushcraft. Tim really knows his stuff and is a nice guy; he guided me through the process of constructing it and gave me some tips on how to pack it and use it.”

– Jonathan Jessop, New Hampshire
January, 2006

“While over from Scotland completing an internship, I was fortunate to be able to spend a few days with Tim at Jack Mountain Bushcraft & Guide Service, learning the fine art of bowmaking. The excellent facilities, and the practical and extremely knowledgable teaching I recieved from Tim, helped me to turn out my first primitive bow, which I couldn’t have been happier about!! If you get the chance…….get over there!! ”

– Steven Hanton, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
November, 2004

School Programs and Presentations

“Thanks for working with the kids of the Paul School science club. Your ability to transfer your obvious wealth of knowledge in a way where the kids could have fun and understand was a pleasure to see. Thanks for planting this seed and giving it the right amount of water.”

– Christine Wrightington
Paul School, Sanbornville, New Hampshire
March, 2006

“The kids were so excited to go outside with you and check out animal tracks. It was great to have a field expert speak with them and provide an opportunity to explore a natural setting that is so close to home.”

– Laura Dufresne
Paul School, Sanbornville, New Hampshire
March, 2006

“Our school had the great fortune of having Tim Smith visit us recently. Tim was able to amaze over 100 students by giving a presentation that included numerous artifacts that the Native Americans used, demonstrating how these items were utilized, and then allowing the children to explore the tools themselves. Additionally, Tim enlightened the children with fascinating information delivered in an extremely warm and kid friendly manner. After teaching for nine years and having countless guest speakers, I can honestly write that I have never had such positive and enthusiastic feedback from not only the children but parents as well.”

– Stephen Facques
Riddle Brook Elementary School, Bedford, New Hampshire
January, 2006

“Tim Smith’s presentation captivated every child’s attention in the audience. He was extremely knowledgeable in his field and we look forward to having him return next year.”

– Amy Poisson
Riddle Brook Elementary School, Bedford, New Hampshire
January, 2006

“It was clear right from the beginning that Tim Smith was an affable, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable presenter. Days after his visit, my class was still buzzing over what a great time they had.”

– Kerri Vivathana
Riddle Brook Elementary School, Bedford, New Hampshire
January, 2006

“Tim Smith’s recent visit to our school was a fascinating experience. There wasn’t a question that he couldn’t answer based on his personal experience in combination with his vast knowledge of historical facts. We all thoroughly enjoyed his visit and learned many valuable lessons to incorporate in our lives.”

– Nicole Lewis
Riddle Brook Elementary School, Bedford, New Hampshire
January, 2006

“In November Mr. Arthur Viens, Ms. Mercedes Warren and I took the Team Vista 7th and 8th graders to Tim Smith’s facility to learn about primitive living and survival skills as part of a unit on Discovery Exploration and Settlement. The students broke into small groups to study shelter building, wild plants and foods and fire making. In each group students were able to experience first hand how Native Americans, explorers and pioneers might have lived. Students climbed inside shelters and learned about their construction, tasted native plants including wintergreen and Jerusalem artichoke, and attempted to start a friction fire using a drill and board.
The students were extremely excited about their experiences with Tim. They continued to discuss what they’d learned on the way back to school and for weeks to come. Many students and parents have told us that the kids have continued to practice the skills they learned at home and were excited to share their new knowledge with their parents. One student even built a shelter in his back yard, where he plans to sleep when the weather warms up!
Our field trip to Tim’s facility was by far one of the most valuable field trips we’ve taken. It was an extraordinary learning experience for our kids and left a great impression on them. Students who do not ordinarily get excited about learning were talking about what they’d seen for weeks afterward. Our kids clearly enjoyed their experience, gained a greater appreciation for the outdoors and were thrilled with the skills they learned. ”

– Katie Jarnot
Kingswood Regional Middle School, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire
December, 2005

“Tim Smith’s presentation, given to four 11th grade American Studies classes, was a wonderful supplement to our classroom. His presentation was engaging and well prepared. The accompanying slide show allowed students to see terrain and wilderness survival techniques, helping them to visualize a great deal of material that we had been talking about as a class. They were also able to see and touch examples of baskets, gear, deer hides, etc. lending a necessary tactile element to the unit. Mr. Smith was extremely well prepared, having been in contact with me well before the scheduled presentation date. As a result, his presentation was nicely tailored to the audience. The students were engaged and interested. Many students later cited his presentation as one of their favorite activities from the semester. I will certainly have Mr. Smith come to talk to future classes.”

– Jeannine Bock
Kingswood Regional High School, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire
March, 2003

“Tim Smith shares his wealth of experience with our young people in a fun and light-hearted way that communicates caring toward the earth and the people in the group. His students are well taught and inspired.”

– Jeff Eckhouse, Education Director
Maine Conservation School
August 2003

Television and Film Consulting

“Tim had the challenge of taking our team of “urbanites” and prepping them for a night on their own in the deep woods of New Hampshire. Not only did Tim impress the team with his knowledge and experience in bushcraft and survival training, but he taught them methods and techniques that are both essential and practical for even the most inexperienced of outdoorsman.”

– Rob Haley
Senior Producer
American Builder
April, 2007

“Tim worked on the Alaskan Mountain Range episode of ‘Man Vs Wild’ with Bear Grylls for the Discovery Channel as the survival expert. Tim is not only a hugely knowledgable bushcraft/survival consultant but also a very professional and amiable person to work with. It was a pleasure to have him on the crew. I’m not filming another survival show without him.”

– Belinda Kirk
Associate Producer
Diverse TV, Brisol, United Kingdom
August, 2006

Letters Of Reccomendation

“Tim Smith has taken extensive courses in wilderness skills and survival from me in the past few years and we keep in touch regularly. Tim is one of the most educated and knowledgeable outdoorsmen that I know. He is also a cultured person, in my estimation, having a character that is worthy of being a professor. He is a skilled instructor and leader.

I feel Tim would make an excellent professor in the subject of outdoor education in which he is well educated, skilled and articulate. He is constantly expanding his knowledge in this field. I have always known him to be a scholar of the past and present literature on the out of doors. He has a significant collection of books on the subject. His course outlines on wilderness skills are the most comprehensive I have ever seen. I have absolutely no reservations in highly recommending Tim for a university-level outdoor education position. ”

– Mors Kochanski, Alberta
February 2002

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