Chesapeake Wilderness Institute

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Chesapeake Wilderness Institute is a remote camping program that focuses on Character, Leadership, Adventure and Discovery. Students sleep in tents, cook in teams and engage in high adventure activities such as kayaking and rock climbing while they explore leadership and community. By removing students from their normal social and educational settings, the CWI program is able to foster reflection and connection through a series of environmental and character-based classes, delivered in the context of outdoor adventure.

What to Expect 

Ages: 12-17
Students: Co-ed (limited space: 60 per week)
Cost Per Student: Please contact CWI’s staff for most current pricing.
Staff on Site: Environmental and character-based education guides during the day, outdoor skills guides during the night, one Wilderness First Responder (certified logistical point person) present at all times.

The Site
The Chesapeake Wilderness Institute’s primary campsites are located on the banks of the Upper Chesapeake Bay. The exclusive camping and educational facilities lie directly adjacent to Elk Neck State Park; students of the Chesapeake Wilderness Institute have full access to this 2188 acre tract of land for activities and adventure. The CWI base camp is situated directly on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay with easy access to water and breath taking views.

The Experience
The week at CWI is about connecting with self, others, and the environment. Community development and environmental exploration will be interwoven into a journey of learning and growth. There will be a rotating cooking and cleaning schedule. Skill training and activities will include, but not be limited to:

– Canoeing
– Kayaking
– Snorkeling
– Navigation
– Rock climbing
– Songbird banding
– Tracking
– Fire-building by friction
– Fishing
– Hiking
– Wild edible identification

Environmental and character based education guides will accompany student groups during the days; outdoor skills guides will be present during the nights. CWI aims to provide enough staffing to accomplish small class sizes, in order to be able to devote more time and energy to small groups of students on the path to discovery. A Wilderness First Responder Med Tech will be acting as logistical point person at base camp and additional medical support will be provided by NorthBay Wellness Center.

Each student-group will be provided with a modern dorm in case of inclement weather or other emergency. The default housing arrangement is small 3-season tents that comfortably sleep three to four individuals. Upon special request, large group platform tents are available; each of these tents will fit 10 students and one adult with their belongings comfortably. Sleeping bags and foam mats are provided for each student. Cooking and bathroom facilities are primitive and have no running water (non-flushing toilets). Drinking water and hand-washing stations will be abundantly available.


Continue to read more about our education programs by exploring the links under the “Education Program” drop down menu.


Partners. We couldn’t do it without you.

We’re grateful for the support of our great sponsors and partners below.
Thank you for believing in NorthBay’s vision to connect students with the natural world in the challenging, lesson-filled environment of CWI.
This project was made possible by grants and gifts from the United Way of Cecil County, the Outdoor Foundation, W.L Gore & Associates, and Jansport.

Booking NorthBay for your group, event or school is easy. 

If you are interested in booking a school for our week long program, CWI program, or a day trip at NorthBay throughout the school year, please contact     Daniel Burke at the office: 443-674-9025, on his cell phone at 410-245-9561, or at his email: