Please update your web browser or disable Compatibility View.

Bonfires and Camping at Saint John's


NOTE: Current burning restrictions are in place across Minnesota until sufficient green growth occurs and fire danger recedes. The Saint John's Fire Chief is not approving bonfires on campus until conditions on the ground change.

Requesting firewood and approval for your fire less than 7 days in advance of your event may result in the inability to fulfill your request. Follow this procedure to host a bonfire:

Cost for firewood at Watab Picnic Grounds is $25. A $300 charge will also be made to that account if the Fire Department is called to control or extinguish the fire. A $25 fee will be charged if the wood storage key is not returned to SJU Life Safety on time, $100 if the key is lost.

  • COMPLETE the Camping/Bonfire Request Form. Requests received less than 7 days prior to your event may not be able to be fulfilled.
  • RECEIVE an email confirmation from Outdoor U tentatively approving your request.
  • RECEIVE an email confirmation from SJU Life Safety approving your request.
  • RECEIVE an email confirmation from the Fire Department for final approval of your event and your burning permit. FOR FIRE REQUESTS ONLY. SAVE THIS EMAIL.
  • PRINT AND BRING a copy of the email from the Fire Department to your event. FOR FIRE REQUESTS ONLY.
  • PICK UP THE KEY for the wood storage locker from SJU Life Safety (Tommy Hall basement) after NOON on the day of your event.
  • RETURN THE KEY to Life Safety by 10 a.m. the day after your event.

Cancelling your event.

In the event that you need to to cancel or postpone your event, due to inclement weather or otherwise, you MUST do the following to avoid being charged $25 for firewood:

  • REPLY TO ALL by 4:00 p.m. on the day of the event on the email you saved from the Fire Department to be sure all interested parties are made aware of the cancellation.

Extinguish your fire!

Please be responsible! You WILL BE CHARGED $300 if the Fire Department is called to control or extinguish your fire. This includes embers and coals of any size that remain after you leave the fire. Follow these guidelines to completely extinguish your fire before you leave.

Request a Program

Saint John's Outdoor University is happy to offer outside talks to complement your evening bonfire. Topics include:

  • the night sky
  • owls on campus
  • general Outdoor U & Arboretum information
  • night senses
  • storytelling
  • and more!

Contact the Outdoor U at (320) 363.3163 or send us an email to learn what programming is currently available and/or to schedule a program.  Please contact us at least one week prior to your bonfire.

About the site

The campsite at Watab Picnic Grounds is designed as a primitive site. No facilities, hook-ups, or potable water are available on-site (water for dousing your campfire can be hauled a short distance to the fire ring from Stumpf Lake).