Flash Back Fridays! (#FBF)


Vancouver Island, Canada
Strathcona Park Lodge and Outdoor Education Centre
P.O. Box 2160, Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada V9W 5C9

August 30, 1983

Province of British Columbia
Ministry of Lands, Parks and Housing
Parks and Outdoor Recreation Division
Victoria, B.C.
Attention: Mr. K.W. Baker
Manager, Operations Section

Dear Sirs:

I have been going to rewrite my original answer to your letter of June 4th all summer but have not been able to figure out what to say. I have decided to send my original reply.
In respect to your request that we require a park use permit for our trips, I would like to enter into some sort of a dialogue with you or someone in your department.

1. As you may be aware we have been using the park for twenty-three years with no mention a permit required.

2. Over the last twelve or so years we have dealt with approximately 5,000 school and university students per year teaching them outdoor education.

3. Two of the things we stress will all of our guests are wilderness ethics and low impact camping.

4. Our adventure holiday trips have grown out of teach education courses that we used to run.

5. We are not a business in the usual sense. As you can see by the enclosed list our education programs are backed by a foundation.

6. We particularly stress the use of quiet boats i.e. Canoes, kayaks, sail boats, windsurfers.

7. We promote the use of helicopter only for people who are unable to walk the considerable distance into the alpine in Strathcona Park, and then not into the Nature Conservancy areas (we were only told this rule last year).

8. We feel we are good neighbours to the park and do more than almost any other group to teach and promote good attitudes and the right use of the wilderness. We also have put out at least 6 fires in the park since we came here.

9. At the same time we are vastly unhappy about some other users of the park:
a. Western Mines – need I say more (the trout fishing is terrible – the water polluted)
b. A gold prospector madly staking the whole area for a foreign company – he seems somewhat eccentric and carried 2 powerful revolvers in holsters. He claims to have found a boulder with $20,000 worth of gold in this area.
c. Recently the industrial traffic past our place, particularly logging trucks from Western Mines has been truly frightening.

10. The public service by the Parks Branch doesn’t excite us either.
a. They have a rather inconspicuous office.
b. They keep very limited hours.
c. They do not register the trips of hikers (hikers plead with us to do
d. They do not have a public phone, causing all campers, locals and passersby to ask to use our radio phone. This is impossible because with our own business calls and staff outcalls and all the people on the channel; people trying to contact us for registrations just simply can’t get through.
e. Even after repeated requests for a sign on the highway before cars get to the Lodge saying that the Park Information and campsites are x km ahead; we still get a steady stream of people dropping into out office. We spend expensive hours giving information about the park. Perhaps we should enter into a voucher billing service to the Parks Branch for services rendered.

11. We expect that this sudden interest in us is a result of my husband being interviewed on National T . V . about park policy in respect to fire watch, and the use of water bombers. Unfortunately, this debate deteriorated into an irrelevant argument about who phoned in the first (the telephone company said that we did). His information about the water bomber policy was from a good government source/

12. We are also unhappy that the Parks Branch couldn’t give us any of the fire damaged wood last winter although they gave it to the cadets and also, according to a driver we talked to, to the air force.

You must understand that we really care about this park and are more concerned about its long term survival than are, it appears, some civil servants and politicians. We have spent years trying to beautify the area, at the entrance to the park, by removing stumps, removing debris from the lake, bringing in soil and sand, planting trees etc; in other words trying to repair the damage done by hydro development on this watershed.

You should read the diaries in the archives written by the early surveyors, people with profound vision. They would be horrified by what has happened to their beautiful park.

We do not want to fight with the Parks Branch. It seem during these troubled times that co-operation might mean survival for both of us. I just had a British guest leave this morning because the lorries kept her awake. The industrial traffic to Western Mines in steady from three a.m. on. I also hear the forestry has given approval for Elk Mountain to be logged. This is the beautiful mountain at the entrance to the park shown in the large picture (reversed) in our brochure. The ensuing mess and debris will probably mean our Waterloo.
Yours truly,
Myrna Boulding