“When NOLS was founded, mountains were its heart and soul. But as the school has grown, so has our understanding of that heart and soul and what it can teach us. In addition to mountains, wilderness is also embodied in gravel coastlines reached only by a few hardy paddlers, or winding desert canyons, or sweltering jungles. Leadership doesn’t only mean attaining a summit in good style; it also means forging relationships across cultures and acting decisively in an emergency.”
- Molly Herber, in A Worthy Expedition: the History of NOLS
Latest Course Updates as of July 1, 2020
Please find the most recent course impacts due to COVID-19 here:
- NOLS announced the suspension of expedition field programming at the following international campuses for the Fall 2020 season (Mexico, Patagonia, and New Zealand) due to continued travel advisories issued by the U.S. State Department. The Pacific Northwest campus will also suspend courses for the Fall 2020 season due to travel restrictions in its operating areas. The school will be offering 15 Fall semesters and one domestic year-long expedition. Skill areas include: hiking, horsepacking, rock climbing, whitewater (canoe, oar raft, kayak), and winter.
- Wilderness Medicine will continue to monitor opportunities to run courses in the fall where local guidelines permit. The residential WEMT program will resume on July 20 at the Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus.
- Select Alumni trips and Custom Education field courses are scheduled to operate in the fall and will be announced as details become available.
- NOLS Risk Services continues to monitor local guidelines where courses are scheduled for the fall season and will communicate updates directly with participants.
Check out the new student resources page outlining COVID-19 practices for upcoming courses.
Practicing Tolerance for Adversity and Uncertainty
NOLS has been actively monitoring and responding to the evolving situation around COVID-19. The school’s leadership has been in close consultation with federal and state public health experts, peer organizations, and our educational partners since January.
For 55 years, NOLS has helped over 350,000 students learn the lessons of the wilderness: self-reliance, judgment, risk management, and the skills to thrive in a changing world. The current environment of uncertainty speaks directly to the NOLS curriculum and our values as a school. This is truly a time for leadership and judgment, given the unpredictable trajectory of the pandemic. We thank you for your support, patience, and understanding as we navigate the rapidly changing landscape.
We will continue to assess the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on escalating travel, health, and safety restrictions and proactively communicate any impacts on future courses. Please check this page for the latest updates.
- June 4 - President’s Letter
- May 12 - President's Letter
- April 8 - President's Letter
- March 17 - President’s Letter
- March 12 - President’s Letter
- March 3 - Fremont County Press Release
Archived Course Updates
- NOLS announces limited operations as it resumes select field and classroom courses starting July 1. Courses in Alaska have been cancelled due to continuing travel restrictions.
- Field expeditions will operate from two Wyoming locations, Lander and Boulder, and include a small mix of backpacking and horse packing courses.
- A small selection of Wilderness Medicine courses will resume in the U.S. and internationally.
- The 27th Wilderness Risk Management Conference will pivot to a digital event. Registration and event details will be announced soon.
- Additional Expedition field courses scheduled for July and August have been cancelled including Adventure courses (for ages 14 and 15), as well as whitewater and rock climbing courses. NOLS campuses in the Northeast, Pacific Northwest, River Base, and Teton Valley have suspended summer operations in addition to the previously announced closures in Scandinavia and Yukon.
- Select July and August Expedition and Custom Education field courses at NOLS Rocky Mountain and NOLS Alaska enrolling and scheduled to run.
- Assessing ability to conduct class-room based courses for Wilderness Medicine, Risk Services, and Custom Education starting after July 1 on a rolling basis 30-45 days prior to scheduled start date.
- Expedition courses, Custom Education field courses, and Alumni trips are cancelled through June 30.
- Wilderness Medicine, Risk Services, and Custom Education classroom-based courses are suspended through June 30.
- NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Custom Education, and Risk Services extended the suspension of all classroom courses through May 11.
- NOLS Expedition, Custom Education and Alumni Trips announced the cancellation of all field courses through May 11.
- NOLS Expeditions made the decision to suspend courses in the field and implemented a separation plan to bring students back to campuses and facilitate their return home.
- NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Custom Education and Risk Services announced the suspension of all classroom courses through April 23.
- NOLS Expedition and Alumni Trips announced the cancellation of international field courses through April 23.