WMI has introduced a new style of WFR recertification.

The major differences are:

  • 1 day of online review and an online test that you complete on your own time, when you want, but must be completed prior to class start.
  • 2 days of classroom and scenario work.
  • Recertification registration is now handled by NOLS not SMC.

SMC still sponsors courses but registration is no longer via through us. Please direct all questions to NOLS.

This two day scenario-based course is designed as review and practice of evacuation and decision making guidelines. It also provides wilderness medicine practitioners with current updates in the wilderness medicine field.
The newly formatted WFR Recertification includes an online component in addition to the traditional scenarios and skills. Pre-work allows you to review the curriculum at your own pace, and focus on the hands-on element during your two days on course. You’ll just need to complete all online components, including a written exam, prior to the course. Once on course, the scenario-based approach to recertification provides you the opportunity to test your skills against realistic situations. You’ll practice and relearn wilderness medicine protocols, review evacuation and decision making guidelines, and receive the latest updates in wilderness medicine over the course of two days.

Students must successfully complete the online modules prior to arriving at the course. Students will then demonstrate their practical skills during scenarios throughout the inperson portion of the course. Students must successfully complete both components to pass the course and obtain recertification from NOLS Wilderness Medicine.

For optional review resources (different from the online modules) go to the “Resources”page.

Upon successful course completion you will earn the following NOLS Wilderness Medicine certifications: Wilderness First Responder/Wilderness EMT (dependent on your current certification), Adult and Child CPR & Airway Management, and Epinephrine Auto-injector.

This course cannot be used to recertify a WFA (Wilderness First Aid). There will be a written examination at the beginning of this course to assess what you have retained from past years and current knowledge.
This is a recertification course; please bring a copy of your WFR card to the course. Most WFR certifications are current for two years from the date the WFR card is issued. There is a one-year grace period but remember that during this time your card is inactive.


Sierra Adventure Center at Bernasconi Ranch in Big Pine. Lodging is not available onsite. We recommend you stay at a hotel inBig pine. Please contact us before hand to set up lodging arrangements. Camping or sleeping in vehicles on the property is not permitted.


This course is sponsored by Sierra Mountain Center and provided by The Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS. WMI’s goal is to provide the highest quality education and information for the recognition, treatment and prevention of wilderness emergencies. WMI’s teaching philosophy is to emphasize treatment principles and decision making, not the memorization of lists. Their philosophy centers around the physical and psychological well being of their students and staff. They value the entire experience of a WMI program rather than simply the learning of medicine. Their staff are professional educators who understand the importance of fun and experience as invaluable learning tools. They feel strongly that a student’s ability to feel confident about themselves and their ability to make decisions is of greater value than text-book medical skills. They emphasize decision making and employ scenario based teaching as a complement to lecture style instruction. They believe that this is why their students learn so well and feel confident in employing their newly acquired judgment and skills.

Class format

Check in is at 7:45 a.m. on the first day of the course. Course days run from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with an additional evening class on the first day for students needing CPR recertification. Attendance is required at all scheduled classes. Scenarios and practice sessions will take place both inside and outside.

Bring outdoor clothing appropriate for lying on the potentially wet, muddy, snowy, or cold ground playing the role of both rescuer and patient. Frequently stage (moulage) blood and make-up are used to enhance the realism of a scenario.

We use classroom space which is comfortable and to maximize room we remove most of the tables and chairs. You will probably want a Crazy Creek type chair for classroom sessions. Much of the practical lessons take place outside, rain or shine, warm or cold. Bring a small tarp to spread out on and your own foam pad that you don’t mind getting dirty or even cutting up to make splints.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

Beginning in November 2021, NOLS will require all students on all Wilderness Medicine courses to be vaccinated against COVID-19. While this policy includes a tiered implementation timeline and limited exemption policies, it affects all students on all NOLS Wilderness Medicine courses. For details, please see the NOLS COVID-19 Practices and Policies.


Pets are not allowed on site so please leave Fifi or Sparky at home.

We are often asked if the course materials can be sent ahead of time but this is difficult for us to arrange. There is a formal book that is provided with the course but there are also numerous handouts and the like that are not finalized until very near the course so WMI does not send course materials to us until just before the program.

WFR card re-certification and expiration:


NOLS Wilderness Medicine Graduates: NOLS Wilderness Medicine certification holders will be afforded a one-year period after expiration within which to recertify. This one-year re-entry period is only offered to those certified through NOLS Wilderness Medicine. Enrolled students must bring their certification card to the course so that the instructor can verify the expiration date.

Graduates from Other Wilderness Medicine Providers: NOLS Wilderness Medicine welcomes eligible graduates from other providers to recertify on our Wilderness First Responder Recertification course or our Hybrid Wilderness First Responder Recertification course. To be eligible for recertification you must possess a current (unexpired) WAFA certification, WFR certification from a provider whose WFR course is a minimum of 70 hours, or WEMT certification.

There is no re-entry period once your certification expires. It is your responsibility to make sure your certification meets this standard. If you are unsure, please contact  NOLS Wilderness Medicine to verify your certification qualifies before enrolling in a course.

Students certified by other wilderness medicine providers are required to submit a photocopy of their unexpired certification card on the first day of the course. We cannot issue you a new card until we have verified your previous training. Students re-certifying the wilderness portion of their WEMT certification must submit a photocopy of their current EMT card on course.

If you have questions regarding the card please talk to the card’s issuing organization or WMI. SMC is not able to give you any decision regarding your cards validity.