Category Archives: History at Strathcona Park Lodge

Started in 1959 Strathcona Park Lodge has a unique history. Find old videos, pamphlets, articles…etc

Flash Back Fridays

Flash Back Fridays

Flash Back Fridays

Flash Back Fridays

Flash Back Fridays

STUDENTS REPORT ON TRIP

Ian Forbes, a naturalist and plant photographer who frequently took groups to the Sundew Bog

Ian Forbes, a naturalist and plant photographer who frequently took groups to the Sundew Bog

Forty grade 7 students from Parksville middle school returned recently from a three day trip to the Strathcona Park Lodge where they took part in kayaking, canoeing, nature study and rope climbing classes.

The three day outdoor instruction “gave the students and teachers a chance to get together on a more informal, less structured basis and taught us all a few outdoor skills,” said middle school teacher Dick Tindall.

“I felt the trip was very successful,” he continued, “I don’t know how much value to put on the actual skills we were taught, but it was valuable in that a rapport between the students and teachers was developed.”

“Kayaking is done in a small, very buoyant boat, shaped like a banana,” wrote Colleen, one of the students, after the trip. “You use a two-ended paddle and a spray deck to keep dry.”

“It seems to be a very interesting sport, but before you can really go anywhere, you have to do a wet exit. A wet exit is when the kayak is upside down and you escape from it.”

“It was a long trip here and, after this interesting feat of kayaking, we were ready for a big dinner. Our dinner consisted of tea or milk, salad, soup and chicken.”

“Our next activity was really interesting,” wrote Lisa. “First you go up a dirt trail off the highway, and then you turn off onto the Preece- Evans trail. It was really pretty.”

“A bog is a dry lake that becomes a swamp, then eventually a meadow, and a bog is in between swamp and meadow. You come to a boardwalk, planks over the muck. If you step off the boardwalk you’ll sink.” “We saw some squirrels. We had to stop because the boardwalk ended and it was all mushy.”

“The students were not forced to do anything during the trip,” Tindall explained.

“It’s all individual choice. The rope skills instruction, for instance. Some of the students have a fear of heights and they only have to take it as far as they want. “First we walked across a swaying log which swung back and forth when you were on it. Our leader was a French lady from Quebec named Danielle.” “After we finished the log walking, we had to walk up a wire using a rope to pull ourselves. That was hard.”

“Finally, we put on the belts and ropes with a clasp on them. There were logs about 1,520 feet high (actually 12 feet) with a cable above them, which is where you hooked your clasp so you wouldn’t fall. It was pretty hard because it was so cold your hands were numb.”

“I jumped on purpose to let the clasp hold me up and it was excellent”.

Flash Back Fridays

NORLAN CABOT – 80s

Dan McKinnon barbequing salmon west coast style

Dan McKinnon barbequing salmon west coast style

I remember my little West Van self being dropped off at the side of the road to take my Strathcona courses. I felt so out of place. Everyone was a wild bushman and then there was shy me. I had never hiked or paddled or anything. The very first person I met was Jim. I will ALWAYS remember it. He was at the end of the boat dock fish-ing or something. He had on his big hat. I had on a red and white gingham shirt bought for the occasion. I was SO intimidated!!!!

And then it was all down hill as I began the courses. Penny Milbrandt and I were put in a canoe together, and we could not make it out of the paddock. We arrived at the campground two hours after everyone was there! I did ten days in the rain on

Read more

Flash Back Fridays

FOLK WEEKEND 1977

Like much that happened at the lodge, the folk weekend came from an impulse. There were some talented musicians at the lodge lead by Bob Sutherland. Stevie Smith sang British drinking songs, and Rob Wood sang climbing songs, and the accountant Ross “rock spider” Nichol always sang the MONSTER MASH. They needed a sound system. The plan was to sing for staff and others in town and then pass the hat, take the cash and let Ross,who had been a roadie for a rock band, go to Vancouver and buy a sound system.

So by the summer of 1976, there was a sound system: mixing board, mikes, stands, cables, and large Trainor stand up speakers purchased by staff. Sadly, the good stuff was later stolen.

The first folk weekend was in the spring of 1977. June Simpson, Stevie Smith, Bob Sutherland, and other musical staff produced a weekend of sing along folk music and it was a terrific success.

Lodge youngsters being directed by Bob Sutherland (upper right)

Lodge youngsters being directed by Bob Sutherland (upper right)

Later prodded by Jim to have a fall get together, a year end celebration, and to have some kind of activity to assist the lodge to become a year round facility, Bob Sutherland switched the date to a long weekend in November .

In 1978 the Folk Weekend was a rousing good time and started a tradition that lasted 28 Novembers. The first few years were more end of year staff reunions with old staff returning, and new staff enjoying a break from school groups.

And then it got famous. In 1980 Quadra Island’s Smooth Edge came and played for 18 years in a row. They were a harmony singing group with some accompanying instrumental music. Later the Strathcona Choir was formed to sing such all time hits as: The Yellow Rose of T exas, Gypsy Rover, and When the Coho Flash Silver All over the Bay, all favorites of Jim. Read more

Ask Jamie Boulding

No one knows more about Strathcona Park Lodge than Jamie. He grew up there. Beyond running a remote, wilderness lodge, Jamie is passionate about “teaching the teachers” and can be found on the water instructing the COLT program and Lodge staff. He is one of the most respected outdoor educators and paddlers in Canada holding certificates for master canoe instructor, senior whitewater kayak instructor and sea kayak full guide examiner. He volunteers on the Water Use Planning committee for our local watershed and invested countless hours developing standards and best practices in outdoor leadership and education. Previous to the Lodge Jamie went to the University of British Columbia where he was the Thunderbirds Varsity Basketball Team Co-Captain. He started rowing at UBC, landing a spot on the Canadian national team. So what do ask a person who grew up in a unique environment and lived an accomplished life……well….anything you want. Just ask Jamie Boulding.

E-mail your questions to info@strathcona.bc.ca

Twitter questions to www.twitter.com/strathconapark

Post question on Facebook at www.facebook.com/strathconaparklodge

Flash Back Fridays

LIVING ON THE EDGE

Norm Rosein with his CBC film crew and

Norm Rosein with his CBC film crew

The height of the Lodge’s media exposure was during Josie’s second year. She hopped from lap to lap and was unstoppable. At the same time a CBC filmmaker Norm Rosein and a quiet sound man came to the lodge to shoot some film which ended up being 3 twenty minute sections for three successive nights on CBC supper time news. Called “Living on the Edge” the film followed Jim around the lodge and then out to the west coast for one of Jim’ s legendary adventures. The weather was perfect and everyone filmed was positively excited about whatever they were doing. From staff to visitors, to people on courses, the film caught the Lodge in high gear and high spirits.

Ah, those were the days when CBC spent money. And it was money well spent using helicopters, float planes, and time on the ground interviewing everyone who walked by, Norm Rosein caught the lodge exactly as participants experienced the kayaking, the ropes course, the food, and the west coast!

Next week we will present the documentary “Living on the Edge” in a 4 part series.

Flash Back Fridays

PAUL BRAGSTAD 1972

Paul Bragstad

Paul Bragstad

Paul had met Frankie Tacker and Jon Lind at a Meyer Baba retreat. They told him about the Lodge and Paul applied for a job. He was given the job of tutoring our three children. The schoolhouse was in my parent’s cabin which they only used in the summer. Michael Rewald, who became Paul’s friend, arrived about the same time with Friends World College. Paul liked to hike and undertook an epic trip while he was at the Lodge. He tried to walk from Flower Ridge to Della Falls. He returned exhausted and not having reached his goal. It is never a good idea to hike alone in Strathcona Park. Read more