Wilderness First Responder near Orlando, Florida

January 3-12, 2024 WFR course, planned again be held at Wekiwa Springs State Park. 
$875 for the public, discount for current Lewis & Clark undergrads. Lodging (in rustic cabins with heaters and overhead fans) is free if you’d like it.  An optional meal plan for omnivores and vegetarians is available for $275; 3 meals per day, plus snacks & coffee breaks.
This may change by fall of 2023, but currently, you need to be up to date with your Covid-19 vaccinations to register for WFR courses. This is a Lewis & Clark College requirement.  Call us at 503 880-5387 if you believe you have a special situation, and we may be able to make an exception.

Wilderness First Responder (WFR) is the medical course that has become the standard for back-country rangers, river guides, outdoor leaders, as well as NOLS and Outward Bound instructors. It’s also great for those seeking to be more prepared for personal wilderness adventures and potential natural disasters. The course is sponsored by College Outdoors at Lewis & Clark College, and taught by professional NOLS Wilderness Medicine instructors.

While taking this course in Wekiwa Springs State Park (in the Orlando area), snorkel or swim over the lunch break in the turquoise waters of Wekiwa Springs (a major tributary of the Wild and Scenic Wekiva River), and hike or run the many miles of state park trails before or after class each day.  (NOTE: registration form at the link below has been updated for the Jan. 2023 WFR course, in June of 2023 it will be updated for the January 3-12 WFR course.)



This 80-hour WFR course will meet 8 to 12 hours per day from 8  AM Wednesday, January 3th - through 5:00 PM, Friday, January 12th, 2024.  The course schedule (syllabus) may be found here:  https://www.nols.edu/media/filer_public/ee/28/ee283770-6b4a-47da-a988-59a2899bfc2d/nols-wilderness-first-responder-course-schedule.pdf

NOTE: There is one day off in the middle of the course, scheduled on Monday, January 8, 2023. You’ll appreciate this breather, as the course is fairly intense learning.  Canoeing, hiking, or snorkeling are among the options on this day off.

Class length is generally 8 hours per day, with two evening sessions (scheduled for day 3 and day 8 of the course) of an additional 3 to 4 evening hours.  We recommend you don’t have any other commitments while taking this course, as you will be busy!


All participants must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to register. This may change by fall of 2023.


Fees for this course cover tuition, lodging in rustic cabins, books, and first aid materials for the scenarios. Meal plans are available for additional cost as listed below:

  • $875 - Tuition
  • Lodging in rustic cabins, with heaters and ceiling fans, is offered free, at no extra charge. Cabins are located around a central bath/shower house.  We plan to place no more than 2 people per 10 bunk cabin at Wekiwa Youth Camp (some cabins will have only 1 person- inquire if you’d like this), so there will be plenty of room, and you can choose your cabin mates if you’d like.  (We will have try to have separate cabins available for those who snore.)  
  • NOTE:  lodging is included, whether you’d like to use the lodging or not, because the camp we rented to teach this course comes at one set price, which includes the cabins.  However, this is about the average price, nationwide, for Wilderness First Responder tuition alone, so the lodging is a bonus if you’d like to use it.  If you’re a commuter, the lodging may be useful because it allows for free daily entry to the park (before park opens at 8 AM, via a gate code), and also covers lodging for you on the two nights of the evening sessions, should you decide to stay overnight.
  • Lodging opens as early as the afternoon of Monday, January 2, 2023 , and closes at 11 AM Saturday morning, January 14, 2023.  You can arrive before the WFR course starts, and leave the day after the WFR course ends, if you’d like.
  • $1050- Tuition plus all lunches & 2 dinners** (including lodging if you’d like it some or all nights) This is an optional meal plan, if desired, for commuters. Includes all lunches plus 2 dinners on the days of the two evening sessions, plus all coffee & tea breaks daily.  (In other words, the option of just lunches, coffee breaks, and 2 dinners are $175 in addition to tuition.)
  • $1150 - Tuition with All Meals**, (including lodging): 3 meals a day, including coffee and tea breaks daily.  In other words, the meal plan for all meals & coffee breaks for 10 days is $250.  Meals are excellent  quality with an emphasis on healthy and delicious.  Past course participants have raved about the food. Both meat and vegetarian options are available at each meal.
  • no motor homes, tents, or camping trailers are allowed at the Wekiwa Springs State Park Youth Camp, where this course will be taught (this is a state park regulation, not Lewis & Clark College’s).  However, if you want to stay in your motorhome and book far enough in advance, you may be able to get a site for a motor home nearby in the Wekiwa Springs State Park campground, at a local KOA, or at Kelly County Park 5 miles away.

**Group meal plans will accommodate both omnivore/carnivore (meat eaters) and vegetarian diets.

For vegan, gluten free, and other dietary restrictions, check with us, we may be able to accommodate some special diets.  If you don’t want to purchase the meal plan, please bring your own food, pots & pans, cooler, ice, camp stove, utensils, etc. to prepare your own meals (in other words, bring the same kitchen items as if you are car camping.) Picnic tables are provided.

Location Details:

The course will take place at Wekiwa Springs State Park Youth Camp in Apopka, FL, a NW suburb of Orlando, Florida. It is possibly the most scenic sub-tropical location to get your Wilderness First Responder certification in January.  (It’s usually warm & sunny, too.) 

Wekiwa Springs State Park encompasses 7,800 acres including palm, pine, wetland and live oak forest (the park boasts 22 distinct plant communities).  The state park has miles of trails and 70 degree F. water flowing year-‘round from crystal-clear Wekiwa Springs (a major tributary of the Wekiva National Wild & Scenic River).  Wekiwa Springs has an output of roughly 45 million gallons of water per day, making it one of the largest springs in Florida.  

Snorkel or swim in the turquoise waters of this giant spring over the lunch break, or the day off, and hike or run the miles of state park trails before or after class each day!

Motorhomes, camping trailers, or tent campers trailers may reserve a site at Wekiwa Springs State Park campground, or at Kelly County Park a few miles away, but you must do this with ReserveAmerica (for Wekiwa Springs) or for Kelly County Park by phone directly, and the overnight camping fee is additional.  The campsites/motorhome sites book up very quickly for this time of year, so you need to reserve far in advance.

How To Register:

You can register by phone or email.  Payment is not due until October 1.

PHONE: Please call the outdoor program office, 503 768 7117, or if no answer, please text Joe Yuska, the program director, cell (503) 880-5387.   We can accept credit and debit card payments over the phone. We can also accept checks made payable to “Lewis & Clark College” (Postal mail checks to: Joe Yuska, Lewis & Clark College Outdoors, 615 S. Palatine Hill Road, Portland, OR 97219.)  Americorps grants and 529 College Savings plan payments can be used for this course, plus your travel and meals, but must be processed no less than a month before the course start-  please inquire for details.

REGISTER BY EMAIL: Download this Registration Form fillable PDF (Google Chrome recommended) and “save page as” -before filling in the blanks!- on your computer.   Once the blank form is downloaded and saved, close this Webpage, go into the saved document on your computer, fill it out, and save it again so your information is retained.  Then email it to yuska@lclark.edu.

If you have trouble downloading the fillable PDF, simply print out the registration form on paper, fill it out with a pen, then scan it (or take a good picture with your phone) and email it in. If you prefer not to include credit card information on the form, you can email us the registration form, then make payment over the phone with a card, or by check as indicated above. 

__________________________________________________________________________________________      **Group meal plans will accommodate both omnivore/carnivore (meat eaters) and vegetarian diets. Cost for “All Meals” covers 3 meals/day, from breakfast on 1/4/2023 through dinner on the evening of 1/13/2023.

For vegan, gluten free, extreme food allergies, and other dietary restrictions, check with us.  We may be able to accommodate some special diets, but it depends on the specifics of each person’s restrictions.