Strathcona Park Lodge was green before green was cool.
From its very beginning, in 1959, it led by example, fostering and teaching the principles of sustainable tourism and travel. Today, Strathcona remains completely off the grid. We generate our own power, filter our own water, follow in order the three “Rs” of waste reduction (reduce, reuse, recycle), and protect and nurture the land around it.
The Lodge’s role as a good steward of the environment is even more vital considering it is located within the drinking water catchment zone of the town of Campbell River and is on the edge of Strathcona Provincial Park.
Here’s how Strathcona Park Lodge founder Myrna Boulding describes the Lodge’s relationship with nearby Strathcona Provincial Park:
Strathcona Park Lodge has taught outdoor education since 1959 (over 150,000 students), trained the trainers through its internationally-recognized Canadian Outdoor Leadership Training program, and has second generation leadership. SPL owns its own land outside the park, respecting the park as a public trust. We use resources effectively within our business (more with less) and all activities are self-propelled. SPL provides information gratis to park visitors, and consults with resource companies, and community groups to protect environmentally-sensitive areas. For almost 50 years, SPL has contributed at formal organizational levels, establishing standards and certifying and speaking on issues facing nature-based tourism.
SPL has a strong interest in the park, both as a wilderness tourism business operator and as outdoor educators, relying on clients access to pristine wilderness. In March 2004, SPL placed a higher priority on the environmental considerations than on a room with a view by supporting a trade to protect an area. One of its challenges is to stay within its value system of doing more with less and to provide an alternative to a relatively materialistic society, and still meet its clients’ expectations for vacation comfort. SPL works with the wondrous natural world and works to make achievement exhilarating, camaraderie welcoming, food delicious and wholesome, and to help people to feel good about being off-the-grid.
For these efforts Strathcona has been awarded. In 2004, SPL was awarded the Environmentally Responsible Tourism Award from Tourism BC and the Council of Tourism Associations of BC. In 2003, co-executive director Christine Clarke received the Princeton University Josh Miner ’43 Award for “outstanding leadership in the fields of experiential and outdoor education.” In 1986, Jim and Myrna Boulding were awarded the prestigious Heaslip Award for Environmental Stewardship from the United Nations Environment Program. Additionally, SPL was second in B.C. in the Quality of Life and Physical Environment Category of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce Award for Best Business Achievement (A.B.B.A.) in 1986.
Be Wild in BC, the online magazine of the BC Wilderness Tourism Association wrote an article on the Lodge’s stewardship initiatives. Find it here.
Some of our environmental and stewardship initiatives are:
- A Pelton Wheel is used to generate hydro-electric power for all Lodge buildings. This provides power to SPL for most of the year; in periods of low water flow, a diesel generator is used. However, recent improvements to the hydro-electric system continue to decrease the need for the generator.
- Dead trees and trees cleared for landscaping are used in guest cottages and staff accommodations for heat.
- All waste is separated between garbage, compost, burnables and recycling. Compost is then reused on the Lodge gardens. All non-composting garbage is taken back to Campbell River and the city dump. Bottles and cans are recycled.
- Water is brought from Upper Campbell Lake and then put through UV filters to ensure it is up to drinkable standard.
- All buildings are “Non-smoking.”
Please contact us if you have comments or suggestions. Many of our environmental initiatives evolved from ideas put forward by guests over the years. Strathcona will continue to strive to be the leader in environmentally friendly resort management.