Tag Archives: Myrna Boulding

Flash Back Friday

A story by David Boulding

Jim and Myrna at a Rendez-vous tradeshow.

Jim and Myrna at a Rendez-vous tradeshow.

Some 25 years ago, maybe longer, Jim and Myrna were invited to the second year of Rendezvous Canada. This is a federally funded high profile project that connects the best international buyers and sellers of quality tourism products from around the world to the finest Canadian tourist operators.

Strathcona was a unique Canadian product, in a picture perfect place, with a special focus on children and families, because of this S.P.L. was in on the ground floor. While the Lodge started as a trout and salmon fishing place in the summer and did not directly focus on children in the early years, by 1970, the focus was all children and then in a few years the focus broadened to include families. This approach Read more

Flash Back Fridays

“Wilderness in jeopardy: see it before it’s gone”
By Myrna Boulding, the Campbell River Courier, Thursday, September 25, 1986

The former minister of Lands, Parks and Housing, Jack Kempf, spoke to the Gold River Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 16, not on Strathcona Park as he was originally scheduled to do but on forestry, his new portfolio.

He will make a good forests minister. That is where his heart lies. My concern is with parks, particularly Strathcona Park, now in the hands of Austin Pelton along with environment.

If Mr. Pelton has ideas very different from Mr. Kempf it will invalidate much of what I have to say, but I expect consensus within the Social Credit Party has pretty well been established regarding the future of Strathcona Park.

At the 75th birthday celebration of Strathcona Park on Aug. 4, Mr. Kempf promised a detailed review of plans for this park with public hearings to be held in Campbell River and Courtenay sometime this fall.

His stated objective was to make sure of the continued orderly development of our parks system, with a first step toward meeting this goal being to implement the conclusions of the Wilderness Advisory Committee.

He said that this process was now well under way. The question is, what constitutes orderly development?

Strathcona Park has approximately 300 of the 650 mining claims presently stakes in B.C.’s 365 provincial parks. Many were staked in the mid-60s, about the time that the designation of Strathcona as a Class A park was changed to three “nature conservancies” and 127,206 acres of Class B park.

Most of the acreage is now recommended for deletion by the Wilderness Advi- sory Committee. I think that definite areas were set aside back in ’65 and ’66 for mining and logging.

Mr. Kempf has stated that he is a firm believer in multiple use, including development in park areas. He is against resource areas being used for single purpose. Multiple use may work for mining and forestry, but tourism with its dependence on wilderness, scenery and wildlife – forget it! Multiple use means industrial use.

After listening to Mr. Kempf talk to forest interests, I’ve realized that large sections of Strathcona Park are slated for logging.

Tourist and recreation interests, not to mention wilderness values, are going to be further compromised. One young man from Gold River tells me that logging on the west side has already extended into Strathcona Park and is clearly visible from a helicopter.

The early park pioneers had their own ideas about orderly development. In 1911 it was hoped that a park similar to Banff or Yosemite with what were termed ‘attractions’ – hotels, trails, etc. – would bring to the province many thousands of visitors year after year, proving eventually to be one of the province’s best resources.

Very little has been done to provide these attractions in Strathcona Park. I had a large group from the Appalachian hiking club stay at Strathcona Park Lodge. They found the trails too steep. They couldn’t get high enough to see the beautiful alpine areas.

This October 160 or more people of 60 years and older are coming to Strathcona Park Lodge through an organization called Elderhostel. I am hard-pressed to find appropriate activities for them. Compare this with Olympic National Park where alpine access allows visitors to view and photography nature at close range.

Not that the beauty isn’t there. Last month through the courtesy of some American guests, I flew for 1 1⁄2 hours by helicopter over the west side of the park.

Even after 25 years of living at the edge of the park and making short trips into its well-known areas, I was overwhelmed by the beauty revealed by the helicopter’s perspective. Della Lake and Nine Peaks are absolutely spectacular. Victoria Peak and the area around Colonel Foster and Volcano Lake area scenery I’d match with anywhere in the world.
Landslide Lake can easily compete with Lake Louise for scenic beauty.

Trouble is, who has seen these areas? Very few. If we are going to have concerned support for Strathcona Park we need access for people who aren’t half mountain goat. Our population is aging. Perhaps we need a road up the Elk Valley to Landslide Lake. (My staff will hate me for suggesting this.)

Why not have Westmin build a properly drained road instead of its present cat road to the alpine areas of Tennant Lake. Donner Lake could also be made accessible if the old logging roads were fixed up.

To those who would say keep the public away from these areas, I would say that either we make some wilderness areas accessible to tourists and increase tourist dollars spent in this area or we are going to lose irreplaceable areas in the name of economic development.

It is hard to know where to go for support. Campbell River has not had to look to Strathcona Park to attract tourists because of the lure of salmon fishing.

It’s hard to get the Tourism Promotion Society (largely funded by Campbell River municipality) to relate to the park. Local people who work in resource-based in- dustries might be excused for seeing the park as a new resource waiting to be harvested.

The Parks Ministry seems to have low status within the provincial government. Parks employees win no brownie points if they speak out in favor of keeping logging and mining out of the parks.

On the contrary you only have to read the proposed boundary changes recommended by the parks division (and for the most part endorsed by the Environmental Advisory Committee) to see what parks people at the top have in mind for Strathcona Park.

Delete 35,000 hectares (87,500 acres). Most of these deletions mirror the parts of Class park that became Class B back in 1965. Obviously the government was responding to pressures of logging and mining interests at that time. The wool was pulled over our eyes by the apparent gain of ‘nature conservancy areas’.

These nature conservancy areas are made up of three mountainous core areas having little or no mineral, forest or hydro potential. We are going to end up with three widely separate relatively inaccessible areas of park, with helicopter fly-in not allowed.

The suggested areas to be added to Strathcona Park include 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres) of mostly logged land some of which no one asked to have included. (They were obviously searching for acreage.)

Rogers Ridge and the land north towards Campbell River from the present park entrance should not, in my opinion, be included in the park. We need a Banff-type four seasons resort village with land development profits going towards a skill hill is Strathcona Park is to be realized.

Without people living nearby to keep an eye on the park, there’s no hope. It’s even been suggested that Strathcona Park be used as a land bank for parks everywhere. The final insult to our intelligence is the proposed designation of the core of the park around Cream Lake (chief among the jewels) as a ‘recreational area for mineral claims zone’. This large area is not included in the proposed deletion of 35,000 hectares (87,500 acres).

It might as well be, because with many of the park’s 300 mining claims located here, what could possible be left of interest to tourists?

Bob Flitton, deputy minister of tourism, once said that one mine in the park at a time is enough. He also said that the provincial government will not allow B.C.’s internationally-acclaimed park system to be eroded by resource extraction.

Certainly park boundaries need revision. My husband Jim Boulding spent most of the last two years of his life trying to save Elk Mountain across from our lodge from logging. BC Forest Products and the Ministry of Tourism tried to effect a trade as the area in question was obviously at the entrance to the park and very scenic.

The view from Strathcona Park Lodge was recently featured in the ‘Times-Colonist’, and last year in the ‘Globe and Mail’. Those were old pictures. Now it is clear-cut half way up. Tourists walk into our office and say, “I didn’t come this far to see that!”

And more logging is planned, not only on Elk Mountain but also in the only remaining nice forest that tourists can get to, near Crest Mountain, which is also slated for removal from the park. Only yesterday a honeymoon couple from Alberta told us, “We are disappointed with the view.” (They left).

There was never any land set aside in this area for tourist facilities. Strath- cona Park Lodge is in the middle of land already logged or slated for logging.

Please drive up and see this area and Strathcona Park.

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

Flash Back Fridays


Myrna & Jim on a date

Myrna & Jim on a date

When I was 18 and in my second year at university, my future husband picked me out of a meal lineup at UBC. I was taking an accounting course to prepare myself to go into Commerce. There were a total of 152 girls staying at the women’s dormitories that summer, and no men.
We had meals at the nearby Fort Camp dining hall. Three guys came for a brief period that summer to write exams. Jim later said that he picked me to pursue because I had good legs and a nice ass. His older brother Joe, who was a doctor, had told him that was what to look for in a woman.
Jim had been working as a hard rock driller on the pipeline and was at UBC briefly to write a supplemental exam in English 200. I was not too taken with him. I was going out with a PhD candidate in physics and my main interest was horses. I had been a successful competitive English rider and jumper, winning many top prizes in B.C. I had even taken my best horse to Vancouver when I went to UBC. Jim was persistent. I finally went on a date with him. Later I told my cousin, Bill Baikie, that he was all brawn and no brain. Bill insisted that I not give up on him, that he really did have some depth. Actually Bill and many others treated Jim like a hero because he was a famous UBC football player. Read more

Flash Back Fridays


Growing up in Comox, Vancouver Island, in the 1940s and early 1950s, I had an idyllic childhood. Comox had many British expatriates in a town of 1000. There were only 50 young people from grade eight to grade twelve in the Comox High School, and the school did not have a gymnasium. There were no television sets, so most young people spent their free time outside. My friends and I rode our horses for miles in every possible direction.

Myrna, age 4, with Nancy (Thompson) Brown

Myrna, age 4, with Nancy (Thompson) Brown

As long as we were home for meals we could go wherever we wanted. When the British couple Lieutenant Colonel Jack Thorne and his wife Josephte moved to Comox I began to train for competitive riding. The Colonel, as we called him, knew a lot about training horses and riders. In addition, he was a marvelous horseperson and story teller. I did well in the shows, winning trophies in jumping, hunter-hack and equitation events. I also learned a lot about how to feed horses and get them fit for jumping and other events. My interest in human nutrition and fitness is rooted in these early activities. I would go to almost any length to win. Every possible morning I would get up before school and exercise my horses. If it was winter, I rode on the sandy beaches in Comox. Perhaps this toughened me and is the reason why I continued to try hard when the Lodge seemed like a hopeless proposition.
My father, Wallace Baikie, was of Scottish ancestry and although generous with me, had some frugal habits. Born in 1902, he had been a young man during the depression. He had been in the logging and lumber business and knew how to work hard. Read more

Flash Back Fridays


Maria McLeish on Reecy

Maria McLeish on Reecy

My horse called Reecy, ‘My Recompense’, was a former race horse given to me by Maggie Rogers when she went off to McGill University. Jim had a big, rather opinionated horse called Stewball who looked something like the horses that the Mounties rode. Jim could shoot a gun off Stewball, and did during a short period when he worked at the Lodge as a Class A hunting guide.

We bought Empress, a Welsh pony, in 1968 for Liz. When Liz was about eight, she remembers riding Empress up the mountain with her father. The saddle kept slipping and Jim would have to get off and tighten the girth. It was almost too steep for the pony.

Some years later when we got our own place on McPhedran Road in Campbell River, Jim Denis, a local contractor, built us a barn for the horses. Jamie would often feed the horses because he was younger than his two sisters and they were too busy getting ready for school. Liz had Duchess, a somewhat spooky Anglo/ Arab and Annie had Sym- phony, an Arabian, who was later sold to Barb Phipps in Campbell River. Read more