Strathcona Park Lodge & Outdoor Education Centre is one of the oldest outdoor education centres in Canada.
Founded in 1959 by Jim and Myrna Boulding, it is still owned and operated by the Boulding family. The Bouldings started the Lodge as a summer operation. They were teachers in nearby Campbell River but later made it their full time job. They catered to tourists during the summer and school aged children the rest of the year.
Over the years the Bouldings fought to preserve the boundaries of Strathcona Park, save wild salmon and speak out for wilderness and tourism, all the while continuing to improve the outdoor education industry in Canada.
Today Jim and Myrna’s son Jamie Boulding and his wife Christine Clarke run the Lodge. Together they’ve maintained the Lodge’s reputation as a leading centre for outdoor education and wilderness tourism.
More about the Lodge’s History
Strathcona Park Lodge & Outdoor Education Centre was founded in 1959 by high school teachers Myrna and Jim Boulding. More than 50 years later SPL is still owned and operated by the Boulding family. Jim and Myrna Boulding’s outdoor education interests began in 1959, teaching and guiding summer programs for young people and tourists. Their efforts were encouraged by author and naturalist Roderick Haig-Brown, and inspired by a year of graduate work and research into European outdoor pursuit programs.
By the late 1960s the Bouldings had created a unique blend of environmental and outdoor education. George Clutesi, respected First Nations spokesperson, and John Jackson, who started four outdoor centres in Britain and India, are among the many who have contributed to the philosophy and depth of the programs.
In 1972 the Bouldings left their teaching positions in nearby Campbell River to devote all their attention to the development of SPL programs. A full-scale apprenticeship program for those embarking on a career in outdoor education and leadership was launched in 1977, now known as the Canadian Outdoor Leadership Training (COLT) Semester Program.
Strathcona is now Canada’s top outdoor education centre. Instructor training and program development continue to keep SPL at the forefront of adventure tourism, wilderness leadership and outdoor education. Under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Program, Jim and Myrna Boulding were awarded the prestigious Heaslip Award for Environmental Stewardship in 1986.
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.