2019 Schedule of Events is posted!

Our 2019 Schedule of Events is posted! You’ll notice that our course lineup is missing a few of our regular courses and classes. Don’t worry! Big things are on the horizon and all your favorites and more will be back in 2020.

Blackthorn-USA has been providing the best skills training and most immersive outdoor experience in the Midwest since 2011. 2019 will be our 4th year at our main Base Camp location and we are beginning Phase II of site improvements and infrastructure. So while we will miss being in the woods 80% of the time, we have to free up some time to build cool new stuff.

More training facilities, parking areas, demo structures, improved and expanded camping areas and a lot more are on the list. Many thousands of dollars going into this. Much more than the school made this year.   And we’re doing it with our money, no GoFundMe’s,  no grants, no subsidies, no begging.

Anyone can build a wikiup down by the river and teach you how to make fire with flint and steel. We know that when looking for a school to attend people want to know that it’s not going to be gone tomorrow.  Blackthorn-USA has history and is investing heavily in the future. We are dedicated to providing the best training facilities and quality skills training to our students, customers and friends.  This is our life, and we appreciate you being part of it!


PS, We will probably be adding a few workshops during the year and will be attending a couple of off-site events as well. See ya there!

2019 Training Schedule

News from Blackthorn Base

So here it is, almost spring 2017, and almost time to kick off another season of outdoor adventures and training. When we last met here we had just designed an entirely new website. That was two years ago. A lot has happened since then and I thought I’d take a moment to update those who haven’t been out to see us recently.

In the summer of 2015 we purchased an additional property about six miles away from our original location. Our intention was to develop this new property into our new headquarters, or Blackthorn Base Camp. This brings our total training area to 430 acres and both properties border 12,000 acres of Public Wildlife land. We’ve got room to explore.

Our new property was, and is, heavily forested. So much in fact that when we first started clearing areas the tress wouldn’t fall once they were cut. They would just lean into the next one. When we did get them down, we had nowhere to put the brush, and couldn’t burn it in the forest. Our first major purchase was a trailer mounted, V8 powered, wood chipper. Life got a little easier.

Most of winter 2015 and spring of 2016 was spent clearing trees and processing them into firewood, chips for trails, and logs for future building projects. We cleared a gathering area, campsites, parking areas, training areas, cut in new trails and about two thousand feet of new road. We hauled in stone and made fire rings and a small foot bridge on one of the trails. Our cooking structure and hide tanning racks were built, and an Adirondack lean-to was started from logs harvested on site.

As the weather became warmer we started concentrating on infrastructure and the site plan. It was a stop and go process as we were now fully involved with the county planning and zoning departments. We did what we could including digging in thousands of feet of water and power lines. We purchased a road grader and a skid steer to develop and maintain our roads and parking. A couple small buildings were built along with a couple semi-permanent tents and shelters.

After many months of meetings with zoning officials, surveyors, planning committees, county board of directors, fire marshals and anyone who could squeeze a dollar out of us we finally got approved to develop our site plan as we envisioned it. This was October 2016. So now, while we are a few thousand dollars poorer, we are on track to continue development of Blackthorn Base.

So here it is winter again, and we’re back to cutting trees… Although now we have a sawmill so we can turn them into lumber. But classes have slowed down this time of year and we’re still busy everyday getting the site ready for next season. Lots of projects ongoing and coming in the future. It’s going to be fun! We’re looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones as we settle into our new place.

I’m grateful that I have an understanding family, good friends and great instructors that have helped me along the way. I also appreciate all of you who have come out and spent time with us. You really are my incentive to create this training site.

Thanks, Dave

Welcome to the new site!

I intend to turn this site loose in the wild today. We’ll see how long it takes to come online. This wasn’t a site migration, it was a complete rebuild from the ground up. And while some of the content was copy/pasted over there are a few new features as well.

Most notable is the fact that it can be used with all mobile devices now! So I hope that comes in handy for some of you. Additionally our menus have changed with the courses and info across the top and gear and supplies down the left side.

Our registration process is now easier, automated and can be done right on the course description page.

Our products for sale are categorized a little differently but still easy to find and payments are still processed securely through PayPal. Product pages also feature reviews now so you can see what other people think of them and of course we appreciate any reviews you would leave for them.

All pages and products are sharable so it’s easy to tell your friends about us, and thank you very much for doing so! There’s also this blog space which may not see a lot of use as I prefer to spend my time outside, however, occasionally I may try to post something interesting.

If you have suggestions, find glitches or just want to say hi, please don’t hesitate to do so!


Wonder if the blog works…

It occurs to me that it’s entirely possible that I am better at making fire with sticks than I am at making websites. It’s 3am and the fear is gone. Or maybe it’s just the feeling in my butt from sitting in this chair for hours on end for the last couple weeks. It’s almost enough to make me want to brave the 11° weather outside.

Our old website, as many of you know, was not optimized for mobile. I found out the last part of 2014 that the editing program was not upgradeable and wouldn’t be suited for our needs in the future. Bad news for me, I had to take myself back to school and learn a whole new editing program.

So while I may have been better off hiring your average 12 year old to build the site, I believe I have about stumbled my way through it. Hopefully it will be a better experience for our students, customers and anyone who happens to find themselves here. Suggestions are appreciated as well as pointing out any glitches you may find.

Thanks, Dave



Outdoor Adventure School