For Teachers and Parents

Why Strathcona Park Lodge?

Strathcona has many advantages over other outdoor education programs, including a longer history, better educational environment, more facilities, better food, better instructors, warmer and more comfortable accommodation.

Why Strathcona Park Lodge?

Outdoor education can play an important roll in a student’s career. Shy students shine, new stars emerge, accomplishments bolster confidence, bonds form through shared experiences and challenges are overcome. Students learn leadership, team work and initiative – Stereotypes, preconceptions, attitudes and barriers are easily dropped.

There’s no doubt an outdoor education experience is valuable. But there are many outdoor centres to choose from. Here’s why we think you should choose Strathcona.

Location -The location is special – Strathcona may take a little longer to reach, but it’s worth the drive. Just ask the schools from Kamloops and Saskatchewan that have made the trip in the past. The advantage is in the facilities on site and nearby. There are natural climbing bluffs, a high ropes course, hikes, several zip lines, a large lake and enough accommodation to house 200 students on our 160 acre property. There are also nearby are mountains, trails, lakes, rivers and an ocean for specialty programs.

Instructors -Our instructors are more experienced, excellent role models and are chosen because they are smart, energetic, caring leaders who like working with youths. All instructors require a criminal record check and hold current certification in Wilderness First Aid & CPR. Most work year round as outdoor instructors and guides.

More options, better instruction – Unlike many other programs, our instructors stay with one group of students for their entire stay. This relationship provides continuity and builds trust and communications that fosters a more in-depth learning experience. In addition, the diversity of our programs allows progression. The same students could return year after year, doing something different every time, always building on their past experiences.

Safe -Enviable safety record – Combine the knowledge, skill and experience of our instructors with ongoing staff training, continuous evaluation of procedures and maintenance and upgrading of equipment, and it’s no surprise we’ve earned ourselves an enviable safety record. Managers and supervisors are considered leaders in the field of wilderness risk management.

Accommodation -Our rooms are nicer – At Strathcona, students, teachers and chaperons stay in rustic, but comfortably hotel-style rooms. On out-trips they stay in tents or under tarps. Boys and girls stay in separate rooms, assigned by teachers. Most rooms have a bathroom.

Philosophy -We’re philosophical deeper. A key feature of a Strathcona experience is The Strathcona Circle: six principles built into every facet of your stay. Challenge by choice; Generosity of spirit; Happy warrior; More with less; Stewardship; and Living on the edge. These key philosophies will be explained and taught on all programs and are part of what makes a visit to Strathcona so valuable.

Food -We serve better food – Meals are family-style and are approachable for a variety of tastes and backgrounds. An extension of Strathcona’s fundamental philosophies, the food is as local as possible, often organic, allergy and dietary sensitive and always wholesome, nutritious and balanced. We encourage students to try new things and there are always lots of veggies and salad.

History -We’ve been doing it longer – Since 1959 in fact. That’s when Myrna and Jim Boulding founded Strathcona Park Lodge, likely Canada’s first outdoor education centre. From it’s birth, the Lodge’s main focus has been exposing youths to the outdoors in a positive way. The Lodge is still run by the Boulding family and its goal remains the same.

Costs the same – The per student cost to enjoy all these advantages is equivalent to most of the other options. Contact the Program Manager to find out more about costs and rates, 250-286-3122 or paul@strathcona.bc.ca

A representative from Strathcona Park Lodge can come to your school or group to tell you more about the Lodge experience through video, Power Point presentations and by answering questions in person. Please contact us to arrange a presentation.

The Strathcona Experience

Here’s what you can expect from your Strathcona Park Lodge experience.

A typical stay at Strathcona has many components from arrival to departure. There are meetings, debriefs, activities, free time, clean ups, meals and more.

Every group at Strathcona will have a unique itinerary but they will all follow a general timeline.

Pre-Arrival

Before coming to Strathcona Park Lodge many schools have an information session with both the students and parents. This is done to help prepare the kids, parents, teachers and chaperones in what is needed to get the full “Strath” experience. We have a couple of resources online to assist you in arriving better prepared. You can find the medical, waiver, consent forms and equipement lists by clicking HERE. As well, we have created videos to assist in what to bring which you can find by clicking HERE. If you have any further questions feel free to contact our Program Director Paul Chatterton at paul@strathcona.bc.ca or call (250)286-3122.

Arrival

Students will play large group games with instructors while the teachers and chaperons meet with an SPL instructor and manager to go over goals and objectives. Students will then have a chance to move into their cottage before a fire drill brings them all back together. From here groups split off, meet their instructor for the week and begin their Strathcona experience with games and a tour of the property.

Meals

Three meals a day are served buffet-style at the Whale Room. Food is fresh, local, nutritious and approachable. Juice is served at breakfast and water is available at other meals. Coffee and tea are available for teachers and chaperons, but is off limits to students. Students will be able to choose from a variety of salads, vegetables, carbohydrates and protein. We encourage them to try new things. Students clear their own plates separating scraps into burnables, compost and garbage. Each group takes a turn cleaning the Whale Room at some point during their stay.

When there are lots of students on site there will be two sittings for each meal to ensure there is enough seating available. Groups are required to eat during their prescribed sitting. Instructors will go over mealtime etiquette with students on the first day.

Activities

Instructors lead all activities with their group and will set meeting times and meeting places – students are expected to be on time. During activities, the instructor is in charge of safety and discipline. Teachers and chaperons are expected to be a good roll model and a helpful second. Students are encouraged to try, do their best and have fun. Activities can last from an hour to a couple of days.

Free time

Free time is built into every day at Strathcona. Students are free to play basketball, hang out with friends, read, nap, take a shower. Teachers and chaperons are responsible for students during free time.

Curfew

The school sets curfews. Usually a staggered curfew works best: in your rooms, lights out, and quiet. Chaperons and teachers enforce curfews.

Store visit

We have a store with souvenirs, snacks and treats next to the office. Many schools allow students to visit the store with their group once during their stay.

Debrief

At the end of your stay each group’s instructor will debrief the experience with students. Instructors have their own style, but the purpose is to encourage reflection of what was learnt and accomplished.

Last night

Many schools opt for a party or get together on the last night. Some schools do skits, a campfire or a dance. Instructors can be involved.

Clean up

Just before leaving students are required to clean up their rooms. Sheets will be changed, rooms vacuumed and bathrooms washed. The instructors will supervise and instruct.

Teacher debrief

At some point on the last day teachers, chaperons, instructors and Strathcona supervisors will meet to review and debrief the schools stay at Strathcona. This is an opportunity to suggest improvements, ask questions and book your week for next year!

Departure

Instructors will entertain students until the buses arrive to take them home. Bags will be stored out of the way until the buses are ready.

Location


Strathcona Park Lodge is on the edge of Upper Campbell Lake on Vancouver Island.

Strathcona Park Lodge is located in central Vancouver Island on the shores of Upper Campbell Lake, just outside Strathcona Provincial Park. The 160 acre property is a multi-sport wilderness resort with facilities for rock climbing, kayaking, canoeing, high ropes, hiking, zip lining, restaurants and accommodation. Sea kayaking, more rock climbing, mountaineering, backpacking, mountain hiking, whitewater paddling and mountain biking are nearby.

Strathcona Lodge

Strathcona Park Lodge is an eclectic collection of cottages, chalets and buildings spread on a hillside above mountain-rimmed Upper Campbell Lake. The property is an outdoor playground with hiking trails, rock climbing bluffs, old growth trees, high and low rope courses, zip lines and dozens of boats in all shapes and sizes. During the summer the lake is warm enough for swimming and on a hot day the sandy swimming bay is the busiest place on property. The wood fired sauna is always popular.

The sprawling property has plenty of quiet places and impressive viewpoints to discover and, facing west, one of the best sunset views on Vancouver Island. The golden rays light up Upper Campbell Lake and spray alpen glow across some of the highest peaks on Vancouver Island.

Off property

Strathcona Lodge is perfectly positioned for exploring further afield. Overnight and multi-day kayak and canoe trips leave right from our Waterfront Centre down Upper Campbell Lake, Buttle Lake or across to the Elk River Delta. The Brewster Lake Canoe Circuit is a short drive away. Trail heads to overnight and longer backpack trips into the Island Mountains are a 20 minute drive. Crest Creek Crags’ excellent and beginner friendly rock climbing cliffs are just down the road. Whitewater paddling programs take place in Campbell River and Gold River, 40 minutes away. Lastly, Nootka Sound, on the west coast of Vancouver Island is only two hours away for sea kayaking adventures.

Directions

Part of the adventure of a Strathcona Park Lodge vacation is getting here. All routes are incredibly scenic and interesting in themselves.

How to get to Strathcona Park Lodge from Campbell River, Vancouver Island and Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

The Lodge, as it’s affectionately known, is forty minutes by car south west of Campbell River, close to the geographic centre of Vancouver Island. It sits just outside of Strathcona Provincial Park on Upper Campbell Lake and is ideally situated for exploring this exciting and secluded area of Vancouver Island.

See the Lodge on Google Maps

From the Campbell River airport and areas south: Do not cross the Campbell River. From Highway 19 the Inland Island Highway or 19A the Old Island Highway follow the signs to Gold River and Highway 28, the Gold River Highway. This leads west out of town, following the Campbell River before climbing a long hill. Drive for about 40 minutes, 42 kilometres, to Strathcona Park Lodge, right on the side of the highway.

From areas north of Campbell River: Drive south on Highway 19 the Island Highway until you reach Campbell River. Immediately after crossing the Campbell River turn right on the Gold River Highway, Highway 28. This leads west out of town, following the Campbell River before climbing a long hill. Drive for about 40 minutes, 42 kilometres, to Strathcona Park Lodge, right on the side of the highway.

Getting to Campbell River

Campbell River is easily accessible by road and air.

Air: Central Mountain Air, Pacific Coastal Airlines and Air Canada all have regular scheduled flights from Vancouver to Campbell River. The Comox Airport, 40 minutes by car further south, is also serviced by WestJet with daily non-stop service from Calgary and Edmonton and connections across Canada. Both airports have rental cars.

Ground: From Vancouver and the British Columbia mainland take BC Ferry’s from Horseshoe Bay or Tsawwassen. The fastest routes are to Nanaimo’s Duke Point (from Tswwassen) or Departure Bay (from Horseshoe Bay). From here follow the signs to Highway 19 North, the Inland Island Highway. Follow this speedy, safe and divided highway north for 1.5 hours to Campbell River and then follow the directions above.

Bus: Transportation rates vary from company to company based on where their buses are based, the size and comfort level of the bus and your group size. It is recommended that you call a few companies to find the best value for your needs.

  • Campbell River Airporter: up to 20 passengers 250-286-3000
  • Destiny River Adventures: school bus charter 1-877-923-7238 or www.destinyriver.com
  • Forest Coach Tours 1-888-248-4525
  • Garden City Transportation: school bus charter 250-385-0699 or www.gardencitytransportation.com
  • International Stage Lines 604-270-6135 or www.islbus.com
  • Pacific Coach Lines 1-800-661-1725 or www.pacificcoach.com
  • Smith Transportation 1-877-756-2544
  • Wilson’s Transportation: ask for Special Strathcona Park Lodge Pricing 1-800-567-3288

Vancouver Island

Strathcona Provincial Park

The lodge is named after Strathcona Provincial Park, British Columbia’s oldest park. Enacted in 1911, the park protects the highest peaks on Vancouver Island and vast tracts of wilderness.

As the only accommodation in the area, the Lodge is perfectly positioned for exploring the interior of the park. There are several short interpretive walks along the highways that are well worthwhile, including Lupin Falls and Upper and Lower Myra Falls. Several longer hikes lead to the summit of mountains and ridges and are the jumping off point to challenging but excellent overnight routes, climbs and trails deeper into the park. The best day hike is Bedwell Lake, a couple of tarns in an amphitheater of glaciated peaks. More experienced hikers can try the difficult hike to the summit of Kings Peak.

Paddling trips down Upper Campbell Lake and Buttle Lake are fairly easy, with amazing views looking up to the snow capped peaks. There are several provincial park campgrounds comfortably spread along Buttle Lake. The fishing here for cutthroat and rainbow trout can be excellent.

Click here for more information on Strathcona Provincial Park.

Highway 28

Running past Strathcona Park Lodge and Strathcona Provincial Park, between Campbell River and the small towns of Gold River and Tahsis, Highway 28 is more than an access route between the east and west coasts of Vancouver Island, it is an artery to incredible wilderness and adventure.

Campbell River is a bustling town during the summer. Long known as the Salmon Capital of Canada, ocean and river fishing is excellent, see for yourself on a snorkel trip down the Campbell River in August and September. There’s a great museum that traces the logging and First Nation history of the area and the pleasant ocean side is accessible along an extensive pathway system.

Outside of Campbell River is the Snowden Demonstration Forest, a maze of hiking and mountain biking trails. There’s also Elk Falls, a thundering cascade that feeds the Campbell River and is surrounded by massive trees. To the north is the Brewster Lake Canoe Circuit, a four day paddling route on par with Ontario’s Algonquin Park except with mountains in the background. Dozens of other fish-filled lakes are just off the highway between Campbell River and the Lodge.

Beyond Strathcona Park Lodge are the northern accesses to Strathcona Provincial Park, including the hike to Landslide Lake and the rock climbing at Crest Creek Crags. Running right through the town of Gold River is the river of the same name with good white water paddling, salmon and steelhead fishing. This is also an access point to the rugged west coast. Jump aboard a float plane, water taxi or the supply ship, the MV Uchuck, to access Nootka Sound, an excellent fishing and sea kayaking destination and the home of the Nootka Island Trail, a world class coastal backpacking route. Nootka Sound is also a good place to spot whales.

After Gold River, Highway 28 turns to dirt and continues to Tahsis, an end-of-the-road town on the ocean. Along the way you’ll pass the Upana Caves, a collection of caverns and disappearing streams, private and public marinas in Nootka Sound and plenty of good fishing spots.

From the trails of Snowden to the beaches of Nootka Island, no one knows this exciting wilderness as well as Strathcona Park Lodge. For more than 50 years we’ve been guiding trips to just about every trail, put-in, campsite, beach and peak.

Vancouver Island

Further afield, Vancouver Island has more to offer in a smaller area than almost anywhere else. There’s the English-style charm of Victoria in the south, the surfing beaches of Tofino, the wilderness of the north island and the eclectic charms of the other island communities. Go rafting on the Nimpkish River with Destiny River Adventures or whale watching from Telegraph Cove with one of many operators. Art lovers will enjoy a self-guided artist studio tour on Quadra Island, a short ferry ride form Campbell River.

We’ve got lots of other ideas too and are happy to help you plan and book your adventures.


Philosophy

Strathcona’s Mission is: To teach the wonder, spirit and worth of people and the natural world through outdoor pursuits.

In addition we strive to be good stewards to the environment. We generate our own clean power, shop locally, work to protect wild places and always look for ways to reduce our environmental impact.

Exciting goals to have, but not easy ones to achieve, we do so with a core set of values called The Strathcona Circle: More with Less; Stewardship; Challenge by Choice; Living on the Edge; Generosity of Spirit; Happy Warrior.

These six principles govern everything that happens at Strathcona Park Lodge, the food we serve, the people we employ, our environmental ethos and our teaching style. We live them every day and teach them as part of all our programs, often by example. Here’s how:

More with Less – Minimizing one’s impact on the planet through one’s choices.
Strathcona is a self contained community of more than 20 buildings, 50 or more staff and hundreds of guests. The entire operation is powered by a micro-hydro system, which means we’re highly sensitive to energy conservation. We also treat our own water and heat some of it with passive solar technology.

Stewardship – Caring for one’s local environment and teaching others to care too.
When a logging company planned to cut old growth trees in a pristine valley Strathcona helped organize a land swap, even though it meant more logging in our viewscape. The Lodge and its employees have been instrumental in keeping Strathcona Provincial Park protected and wild.

Challenge by Choice – Providing the opportunity for individuals to choose to take appropriate risks in a safe environment where success is guaranteed.
While the zip lines at Strathcona appear dangerous, the cables, pulleys and carabiners are strong enough to hold a car. That doesn’t make that first step off the platform any easier for a lot of people. Whether someone leaps, balks or just puts on a harness, trying is considered a success.

Living on the Edge – Being open to new experiences, new ideas and people’s differences.
Hand in hand with Challenge by Choice, Living on the Edge means trying a bite of that new food at dinner. It’s being brave and climbing into a kayak even though you’ve never been in a boat. And most importantly it’s leaving stereotypes and preconceptions behind.

Generosity of Spirit – Thinking of others with kindness and charity, giving others the benefit of the doubt, treating people with respect.
Instructors genuinely want to share their skills and knowledge. They want everyone to succeed and do their best to make it happen. They are never happier than after a challenging day when everyone in their group exceeded their goals. That is why they work here.

Happy Warrior – Going at tasks (including the mundane or daunting) with gusto, being a positive contributor to a team and always pitching in.
The rain is pouring down and camp is still a long way off, yet the entire group is singing at the top of their lungs. That’s a happy warrior. We’re never surprised when we hear about groups of all ages and backgrounds overcoming hardship with a smile, a laugh and a song.

Food

Food is fundamental to a successful week at Strathcona Park Lodge.

Not only will they eat delicious, nutritious and healthy food in the Whale Room, but they may also learn how to build an oven on an out trip.

Active days outside tend to build a solid appetite, especially in growing tweens and teens, therefore our three daily meals are nutritious, balanced and plentiful.

Executive Chef Jessie P. Dufour and his staff take their roll seriously and they work hard to ensure every meal is packed with energy rich food that kids will eat Much of what he serves is local and organic and there are always salads, fruits and vegetables. The freshly baked bread is always a favourite.

All meals are eaten at the Whale Room, a large and spacious hall with an awesome deck overlooking Upper Campbell Lake. It’s named for the bleached grey whale bones hanging on the wall.

Chef Dufour’s French Canadian roots are his inspiration for Whale Room meals. “I make family style meals and serve them in a way that allows everyone to take what they want and try something new,” he says. Served at a buffet table, there are always lots of student favourites: pasta, rice, chicken, pancakes, scrambled eggs, hamburgers and a delicious desert after dinner. For adults, tea and coffee are available all day long.

Out trip food

On trips away from the lodge, meals are prepared by the group with the supervision of the instructor. These meals tend to be simple and hearty and are usually cooked over a camping stove or in a fire ring. Ingredients are prepared by the kitchen staff ahead of time and are appropriate for the excursion.

In addition to regular meals instructors bring plenty of snacks, including Strathcona’s famous cookies and granola bars. In the evening it’s not uncommon for a round of smores to appear.

Allergies and dietary needs

Food allergies are taken seriously at Strathcona. The kitchen is peanut free and Chef Dufour likes to personally meet and talk with every Strathcona guest with a food allergy.

For those with dietary requirements, Chef Dufour is equally concerned. There are always gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and vegetarian meal options.

If you have any dietary concerns please call or email to let the lodge know.

History

Strathcona Park Lodge and Outdoor Education Centre is one of the oldest outdoor education centres in Canada

Myrna and Jim Boulding at the lodge entrance in the 1960′s

Jim and Myrna Boulding founded the lodge in 1959 and it’s still owned and operated by the Boulding family today. The Bouldings started the lodge as a summer operation when 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

Jim and Myrna’s efforts were encouraged by author and naturalist Roderick Haig-Brown, and inspired by a year of graduate work and research into European outdoor pursuit programmes.

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 programmes.

In 1972 the Bouldings left their teaching positions in nearby Campbell River to devote all their attention to the development of SPL programmes. A full-scale apprenticeship programme 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 Programme.

Strathcona is now Canada’s top outdoor education centre. Instructor training and programme development continue to keep SPL at the forefront of adventure tourism, wilderness leadership and outdoor education. Under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme, 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.

Instructors

Professional and highly skilled instructors deliver outdoor education programs at Strathcona.

Strathcona Park Lodge’s instructors are experienced and passionate about teaching young people about outdoor sports, adventure and the environment. They are first aid and CPR certified, passed a criminal record check and were chosen from a large pool of would be employees for their positive attitude, leadership, teaching ability. They work all year as professional outdoor educators and guides.

They love the outdoors and they love to teach and share their passion for adventure. Our instructors are excellent role models, and are chosen, not only for their high level of technical skill, but because they are smart, energetic, thoughtful leaders who have the ability to work with and care for youth.

All instructors passed a criminal record check and hold current certification in Wilderness First Aid & CPR. Other qualifications include: BCRCA Canoe Instructor, WKABC Whitewater Instructor, ACKSG and SKGA Sea Kayak Guides, Swiftwater Rescue Technician & NLS. Instructors receive ongoing training and evaluation and are encouraged to further develop themselves professionally. In addition they have strong “soft skills” in leadership, group dynamics, motivation, skills progression and more.

Most of our instructors work as outdoor guides and leaders year round. Many are graduates of our own leader training semester the Canadian Outdoor Leadership Training or similar programs.

But what really sets our instructors apart is how they interact with the group. At many outdoor education centres instructors work specific stations, like rock climbing, working with several groups during each day. At Strathcona our instructors stay with the same group of students for their entire stay, through all the activities. This builds a stronger level of trust and communication that we find promotes success and growth.

“I compliment you on the excellent hiring practices for your instructors. They truly are top-notch! Thanks for the wonderful experience.”

Peter Smolik, McMath Secondary, April 2011

“The students felt supported, important, trustworthy and respected. As a result, they trusted. Thanks for not letting them down.”
- Kim Knowles, teacher, J.P. Dallos Middle School

Staff at SPL are of the highest class – knowledgeable, patient, friendly, kind and well-trained in their areas. 10/10! I also like the Paul and Ryan took the time to de-brief with us at the end – it makes us feel valued.”
- Shannon, Richmond Incentive Program, May 24-29, 2009

Activities

Activities

There are plenty of activities to fill your stay at Strathcona Park Lodge. In fact, one of the hardest decisions is figuring out what not to do during your time here.

Programs are broken up between on-property activities and expeditions. Many of our programs on site and expedition type programs are described below. These just scratch the surface of what we can do at Strathcona so if you have specific requests, let us know and we’ll do our best to accommodate you. Contact the Program Manager, 250-286-3122 or paul@strathcona.bc.ca, for a full list of options.

On Property

Rock Climbing

All your worries and thoughts will evaporate the moment you grip the rock on one of our three climbing bluffs. Every muscle, nerve and tendon will focus on getting you to the top of the cliff face. Fear will be pushed to a far corner knowing your guide will catch any slip or fall with the top rope. When you get to the top stop and enjoy the view across Upper Campbell Lake before stepping off the cliff on rappel. The climbs are mostly easy or moderate, suitable for beginner to intermediate climbers. Climbers must be at least 8 years old.

High Ropes

Hidden in a stand of towering old growth trees is Strathcona’s high ropes course, a series of challenges strung 15 to 30 feet off the ground. Leap across a gap, walk a narrow wire, unlock the mind and body puzzle of the spider, all while safely tethered to an overhead line. Designed to challenge everyone, no experience is necessary to enjoy the course, but participants do have to be 48 inches tall and/or 10 years old.

Zip Lines

Act like Tarzan: Fly through the trees. We have three zip lines (or flying foxes) on the property. Each is slightly different, taking advantage of the geography and trees, but they all include a long ride whizzing through the forest safely attached to a wire. Scream, hang upside down or just feel the wind – it’s an exhilarating experience no one should miss. We’ve had 80 year olds and six year olds love the zip line. Physically, it’s one of the easiest and funnest activities on the property. But it can also be mentally intimidating. Letting go and giving it a try is the highlight for many visitors to Strathcona Park Lodge.

Tree Climb

Ever wonder what it’s like 50 feet up in a tree? This is your chance to find out. Giant staples have been pinned into the bark of huge Douglas fir trees (they don’t hurt the tree). Using the staples as a ladder you’ll climb up the tree with a rope and harness to keep you safe. The birds eye view from the top is one of a kind.

Low Ropes Course

Test your balance and team work skills on this collection of games and challenges. With a wood chip floor the Low Ropes Course encourages trying. Our instructors have a large repertoire of activities that will challenge any group.

Hiking Trails

In 50 years of living here we’ve had plenty of time to find the best spots nearby: a fascinating bog, incredible viewpoints and challenging climbs. Knock them off one at a time or string all the trails together and you’ve got a fantastic, varied and scenic day hike.

Lake Canoeing and Kayaking

We have a fleet of dozens of kayaks and canoes of all sizes and shapes. Learn strokes and gain confidence in our protected bays and then set off for an hour or several days down the lake. Destinations include nearby island and distant lake chains.

Orienteering / Navigation

The essential skills of navigation are not well known, but are easy to learn. Groups can learn how to read a topographic map, navigate to points on a map, run an orienteering course and locate themselves on Earth in one lesson with our experienced instructors. Advanced courses can cover compass navigation and triangulation.

Survival Skills

Build a fire with your hands, construct a warm shelter, make rope from cedar bark and walk in the dark. Many of our instructors are trained and interested in wilderness survival skills and they’re happy to share their expertise.

Off Site

Expeditions

These are multi-day programs that expose students to one or two activities. Nights are usually spent camping.

Combined Canoe and Hike

The best of water and land. After paddling across the lake in a canoe the group will hike into the Island Mountains past abundant wildlife and mature forest. A night is usually spent in the mountains before returning to the Lodge by canoe.

Backpacking

Destinations vary depending on the group’s experience, age, time of year and trail conditions. A gentle introduction to backpacking can be found nearby at Roger’s Ridge or leaving right from the Lodge to Camp 1. Both one night trips feature exceptional views with minimal effort.

In Strathcona Provincial Park more strenuous hikes take students into the true wilderness on excellent trails. Paths lead through old growth forests to alpine tundra and glacier fed lakes. The Elk River Trail and Bedwell Trail are two popular examples.

For strong and determined groups, a Vancouver Island summit is within reach. King’s Peak, Mount Myra and Mount McBride can all be climbed on a three day backpacking trip.

Canoe and Kayak Trips

Based on a chain of lakes and close to the ocean on both coasts, the paddling options at Strathcona Park Lodge are almost infinite.

Upper Campbell and Buttle Lakes provide over 40 kilometers of safe freshwater paddling with campsites every few kilometers. Groups have a variety of destination options surrounded by old-growth forests, hiking trails, rivers and creeks.

Ocean Paddling in the protected waters and exposed coast of Nootka Sound will take groups to sandy beaches and pristine forests where they may see eagles, bears, seals, whales and other marine life in their natural habitat. You may also visit Friendly Cove, where Captain Cook first landed to view First Nation artifacts.

The Brewster Lakes provide a classic canoe trip by paddle and portage. After being taken to the drop-off, the group is self-reliant as they navigate a circuit of lakes and rivers, travelling approximately 50 km before returning to the Lodge.

Whitewater Kayak and Canoe

A progression from basic skills taught in our protected paddling bays to the grade 1 or 2 levels on the Campbell or Gold Rivers. A low student-to-instructor ratio and a controlled whitewater environment allows students to gain skills and confidence.

Rock Climbing

After reviewing the basics on Strathcona’s indoor climbing walls and three rock bluffs, the group will spend two or more days at Crest Creek Crags refining their rock climbing skills. Students will learn climbing and rappelling techniques from experienced rock specialists.

Other programs

We also custom build programs for groups using the unique skills of our instructors. Examples of previous custom built programs: mountain biking, trail building, sailing and more.

Programs

Activities to do at Strathcona Park Lodge include rock climbing, ropes course, zip line, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, boat rentals, camping, tree climb, orienteering, navigation, orienteering, survival skills, lake, ocean, sea kayaking, whitewater paddling, backpacking. We can also customize programs.

Customized Adventure Programming is What We Do.

With our diverse location, talented instructors and unique infrastructure the educational possibilities at Strathcona are almost limitless. We strive to create programs to meet the goals, needs and abilities of each group. Length of stay, types of activities, skills taught and more can be customized. Give us a call and we’ll help build an ideal experience for your teachers and students.

While each group’s experience is unique, our most popular programs can be broken down into two themes: Adventure Programs – sampling many different activities from Strathcona Park Lodge; and Specialty Programs – focusing on one or two activities.

Strathcona Adventure Programs

The entry level program at Strathcona, the Adventure Program introduces students to a variety of outdoor activities and experiences, selected by the group coordinator from a long list of options. The highlight is an overnight canoe, kayak or backpack trip.

*Adventure One : This is the first activity providing students and instructors with the opportunity to get to know each other. This activity block provides the foundation from which the remainder of the program grows. Students will take part in trust and communication activities, set goals for the remainder of their program and visit the Low Ropes Course.

Day Programs

Rappelling at Lake Bluff. One of the many activities to do at Strathcona Park Lodge and Outdoor Education Centre.

Don’t have time to come to Strathcona for more than a day? No problem. We can customize an unforgettable day of learning and discovery tailored specifically for your group. A typical day at Strathcona includes two activities with a lunch break in between. Popular options include high ropes course or rock climbing in the morning and an afternoon on the lake canoeing or kayaking, but the options are numerous.

Strathcona Specialty Programs

These are more advanced programs that focus on one or two skills. These trips vary in difficulty from easy to strenuous and usually, two or more nights are spent camping. Below is a description of our most popular specialty programs. We also have custom built programs for groups using the unique skills of our instructors. These include mountain biking, trail building, sailing and more. Contact the Program Manger, 250-286-3122 or paul@strathcona.bc.ca, for a full list of options.

Combined Canoe and Hike

With this program you get the best of water and land. After paddling across the lake in a canoe the group will hike into the Island Mountains past abundant wildlife and mature forest. A night is usually spent in the mountains before returning to the Lodge by canoe.

Backpacking

Destinations vary depending on the group’s experience, age, time of year and trail conditions. A gentle introduction to backpacking can be found nearby at Roger’s Ridge or leaving right from the Lodge to Camp 1. Both one night trips feature exceptional views with minimal effort.

In Strathcona Provincial Park more strenuous hikes take students into the true wilderness on excellent trails. The trails lead through old growth forests to alpine tundra and glacier fed lakes. The Elk River Trail and Bedwell Trail are two popular examples.

For strong and determined groups a Vancouver Island summit is within reach. King’s Peak, Mount Myra and Mount McBride can all be climbed on a three day backpacking trip.

Canoe and Kayak trips

Canoeing on the Brewster Chain Lakes.

Based on a chain of lakes and close to the ocean on both coasts, the paddling options at Strathcona Park Lodge are almost infinite.

Upper Campbell and Buttle Lakes provide over 40 kilometers of safe freshwater paddling with campsites every few kilometers. Groups have a variety of destination options surrounded by old-growth forests, hiking trails, rivers and creeks.

Ocean Paddling in the protected waters and exposed coast of Nootka Sound will take groups to sandy beaches and pristine forests where eagles, bears, seals, whales and other marine life are often seen. You may also visit Friendly Cove, where Captain Cook first landed, to view First Nation artifacts.

The Brewster Lakes provide a classic canoe trip by paddle and portage. After being taken to the drop-off, the group is self-reliant as they navigate a circuit of lakes and rivers, traveling approximately 50 km before returning to the Lodge.

Whitewater Kayak and Canoe

A progression from basic skills taught in our protected paddling bays to the grade 1 or 2 levels on the Campbell or Gold Rivers. A low student-to-instructor ratio and a controlled whitewater environment allows students to gain skills and confidence.

Rock Climbing

Climbing at the Lake Bluffs

After reviewing the basics on Strathcona’s indoor climbing walls and three rock bluffs, the group will spend two or more days at nearby Crest Creek Crags refining their rock climbing skills. Students will learn climbing and rappelling techniques from experienced rock specialists.

Options include: canoeing, kayaking, orienteering, high ropes and zip line, rock climbing, hiking, primitive skills, and more.

*Adventure One: This is the first activity providing students and instructors with the opportunity to get to know each other. This activity block provides the foundation from which the remainder of the program grows. Students will take part in trust and communication activities, set goals for the remainder of their program and visit the Low Ropes Course.

Contact the school program director, Paul Chatterton, at paul@strathcona.bc.ca or (250) 286-3122 ext 111 if you have any questions or queries.

Safety

Safety at Strathcona Park Lodge

The programs we offer at Strathcona Park Lodge & Outdoor Education Centre contain an element of risk that is inherent to outdoor activities. The safety of our participants and managing that risk is our first priority.

Nothing your students and children will do at Strathcona Park Lodge is more dangerous than just getting here. For example, we tend not to think of driving as dangerous because we do it all the time, but the truth is someone is far more likely to get hurt in a car than rock climbing, sea kayaking or climbing a mountain.

This is the difference between perceived risk (appears dangerous, but isn’t) and real risk (really is dangerous). At Strathcona we do as much as we can to reduce real risk as part of our safety and risk management planning. Instructors are highly trained, equipment is high quality, modern and maintained, and procedures are in place to ensure activities are geared to the participants age, maturity and ability.

Perceived risk on the other hand is part of what makes outdoor education so exciting and valuable. Many students approach an activity, such as rock climbing, with a notion that it is dangerous and hard. By explaining how the equipment works, the training the instructors have and then breaking climbing into simple steps, students are able to overcome their fears and succeed. The sense of accomplishment in the face of a huge obstacle, like a cliff face, is immense and carries over to many aspects of their lives.

Both types of risk are inherent in outdoor activities. They are important components to learning success in an outdoor environment. We believe that the benefits of taking part in one of our programs far outweighs the risks. So do many others.

More than 100,000 school aged children have been to Strathcona. Our greatest compliment is that many schools return year after year. They come back because we take safety seriously. Instructors enjoy an open and honest relationship with supervisors and managers. Issues and concerns are dealt with immediately. We have detailed risk management protocols and procedures that are reviewed and reevaluated regularly. Every three years the British Columbia Camping Association audits our safety practices. Our Executive Director and managers take part in risk management workshops and conferences to ensure Strathcona Park Lodge remains a leader in outdoor education safety.

Strathcona Park Lodge and its employees can’t manage all the risks on their own. A large responsibility rests with the participants to share in the safety of themselves and others during all activities. That’s why as part of our safety and risk plan we ask every participant to sign a youth consent form. This is not a waiver, nor does it pretend to absolve us of any all responsibility for the safety of your child. It is an educational tool to inform parents, teachers and students of the types of activities, and risks and responsibilities involved with a Strathcona visit. By signing it, participants agree to share in the managing of risk with their instructor, Strathcona Park Lodge and their group.

If you have any questions or concerns about safety and risk management at Strathcona Park Lodge please call, 250-286-3122, or email, paul@strathcona.bc.ca.

We take safety seriously:

  • All instructors hold a minimum 40 hour wilderness first aid & CPR certificate. Each instructor carries a group first aid kit during all activities.
  • We have an onsite first aid room equipped with oxygen. Oxygen and first aid supplies are also located in the waterfront centre.
  • Our executive director and one other staff member have 120 hour first aid training. Many instructors have an 80 hour course.
  • The Campbell River hospital (with full emergency department), walk-in clinics and dentists are 40km away.
  • Ambulance service provided by Campbell River or Gold River.
  • The primary campsites are walkable to the road (although we approach by canoe and the students do not know you can walk out).
  • All buildings are equipped with smoke detectors and we provide our own firefighting equipment. Staff are trained in the use of firefighting equipment.
  • Instructors are responsible for the safety and supervision of student during activities and on the overnight trip. Chaperones are responsible for the supervision of students after program time.
  • Each instructor and office phone is equipped with an emergency contact phone list.
  • Student medical records are kept in the first aid room. In the event that a student is sent to the hospital or clinic we send a copy with them and retain the original.
  • Our instructor field guide contains detailed information about search and rescue procedures. This includes conducting land and water searches for missing persons, clearing and marking helicopter landing zones and emergency contact protocol.
  • We have a staff/camper communication policy to protect children. Any post-trip communication must be conducted through our office or public Facebook page so as to protect children from inappropriate correspondence and our staff from allegations of misconduct.
  • We have motor boats and vehicles onsite in the event they are needed. All power boat operators possess the new Pleasure Craft Operator Card.
  • Policies, procedures and training are in place for all activities we conduct (rock climbing, high ropes course, zip line, etc.)
  • We are audited every three years for compliance with BC Camping Association guidelines.
  • Our dining and kitchen facility are in compliance with provincial health and safety regulations.

Accommodation

Accommodations

Preece Cottage is one of the examples of the many eclectic buidlings on property that visitors may find themeselves in.

Spread through the forest and along the shore of Upper Campbell Lake, the accommodation at Strathcona Park Lodge is comfortable and warm. These are the same rooms tourists use when visiting the Lodge on holiday or gatherings, but have been set up hostel-style for school programs. There are no TVs, telephones or internet.

Students will stay in rooms in one of our buildings, which range from large chalets that sleep more than 40 to smaller cottages. Girls and boys are kept separate. Each student will have their own space, but will share the room with several other students. Most rooms have their own bathroom. Chaperons and teachers will have their own room, double occupancy, with a private bathroom. There will be a teacher in every building.

Student rooms are set up with bunk beds and stowaway cots. Each bed will have a clean sheet, pillow and pillow case, but students and teachers must bring a sleeping bag.

Rooms will not be locked during the day or on out-trips. For this reason, we encourage all participants not to bring valuables to Strathcona. Any games, phones, jewelry and other valuables can be locked in a safe at the office while at Strathcona.

At the end of the program students will be responsible for cleaning their accommodation, including changing sheets, washing toilets, emptying garbage and vacuuming floors.

Extra Information

Seasons, Dates & Extra Information

Deadlines

Some schools book a year in advance so contact us early for your best chances of securing the dates you’d like for your program – it’s never too late, we sometimes are able to accommodate last minute requests.

Seasons

Strathcona Park Lodge operates programs year round from our base on Upper Campbell Lake and our Alpine Chalet at Mount Washington Alpine Resort. Here’s what you can expect at different times of the year:

March through June – A good time to reward students and an opportunity to end the school year with a bang. Typical spring weather means showers, sun and mild temperatures. Best of Adventure, ocean and lake paddling, whitewater, rock climbing and some mountain hiking programs.

July and August – Outdoor and active WYLD summer camps for ages 13 and up. Sea kayaking, hiking, canoeing and more. The weather is typically warm and dry. The hiking at the Mount Washington chalet is amazing with lots of wildflowers.

September through November – Kick off the school year with a bonding experience like no other. Warm and sunny days give way to mixed rain and sun and colder temperatures. All programs are possible.

November through March – Abundant snow in the Vancouver Island mountains allows for teaching winter skills, snowshoeing and more from our Mount Washington chalet. This is a quiet time to visit Strathcona Lodge.

ENHANCE YOUR SPECIALIZED PROGRAM!

Options include Environmental Education, Leadership, Service Projects as well as customized programs designed to meets your groups needs and interests.

VISITING STRATHCONA

Teachers and trip organizers are welcome to visit Strathcona. Observing programs in action, seeing the facilities and speaking with the Educational Program Director will assist in planning a trip and setting group objectives. Please contact the Lodge to arrange a visit.

SHORT PROGRAMS

One, two, or three day programs can provide students with an excellent introduction to the outdoors. Students can participate in challenge activities, rock climbing, kayaking, canoeing and many other activities as time permits.

FRENCH IMMERSION

Strathcona Park Lodge is well known for its quality French Immersion programming. Bilingual instructors will enhance students’ French language skills while teaching outdoor pursuits. All program options are conducted in French. English is spoken only in the event of safety concerns.

SUMMER PROGRAMS

Community groups, scouts and guides, international groups and others will enjoy the sunshine and warmth of Strathcona in the summer. By July, Upper Campbell Lake has warmed up and the alpine meadows are in full bloom. Programs will be created specifically for your group.

WINTER PROGRAMS

For a more intimate Strathcona Experience at either our main site or at our Alpine Chalet at Mount Washington, plan a winter retreat facilitated by our experienced guides. In addition to being able to offer most of our programs during the winter months, snow shoeing, winter camping and survival programs are popular for groups of all ages.

Duke of Edinburgh

WYLD Expeditions qualify for Adventurous Journey in all levels of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award is a United Kingdom charity program that encourages personal development for youths aged 14 to 25. All three levels of achievement (bronze, silver and gold) are voluntary and self-driven. The ‘expedition’ component of the award can be earned by taking part in a WYLD summer expedition or school based trip to Strathcona Park L odge.

To find out more about the award and why someone would want to do it go to their website, www.dukeofed.org.

Students participating in the DOE must inform their instructor at the start of the Expedition. It is the camper’s responsibility to complete the section on the qualifying journey and then give the record book to their instructor the evening prior to departure. Record books will not be signed if submitted late. Instructors will only complete the assessors section if the student has sufficiently achieved the requirements and accurately filled in the record book.

Duke of Edinburgh Preliminary Training

The Adventurous Journey component of the Duke of Edinburgh Award is intended to develop self-reliance and encourage participants to develop an awareness of the natural environment, and the importance of protecting it. One aspect of undertaking the journey is appropriate training in a variety of disciplines. In order to make the most of your son or daughters time at Strathcona Park Lodge (SPL) we’ve prepared some information and a worksheet to cover some of this training.

The Duke of Edinburgh Preliminary Training and the accompanying worksheet must be handed in to their instructor or school sponsor prior to the overnight trip. There is a bit more of the Preliminary Training that we’ll go over with your son or daughter when they are here. In order for their instructor to sign your son/daughter’s record book they must hand in the attached worksheet and complete the other required preliminary training.

We have created a document to assist you in your “Preliminary Training” which you can download by clicking “Duke of Edinburgh Preliminary Training.” In this document you will find information regarding safety precautions, map and compass work, first aid, food preparation and general camp craft techniques.

Note: A detailed Route Card outlining the planned route and time table of the journey, as well an alternate emergency route, must be submitted to the assessor before the journey. Relevant medical information on each participant should also be given to the assessor prior to any journey.

Bronze Level

The bronze level is the most commonly met level of achievement on a school based trip to Strathcona Park Lodge.
To meet the requirements for the bronze Duke of Edinburgh Adventurous Award you must meet the following requirements:
- Duration of journey = two days including one night away
- Required hours to be spent on a planned activity = an average of six hours per day

We have made worksheets to assist you in achieving your bronze adventurous journey which you can find by clicking Bronze Preliminary Training Worksheet.

Silver Level

To meet the requirements for the Silver Duke of Edinburgh Adventurous Award you must meet the following requirements:
- Duration of journey = three days including two nights away
- Required hours to be spent on a planned activity = an average of seven hours per day

We have made worksheets to assist you in achieving your silver adventurous journey which you can find by clicking Silver Preliminary Training Worksheet.

Gold Level

To meet the requirements for the gold Duke of Edinburgh Adventurous Award you must meet the following requirements:
- Duration of journey = four days including three nights away
- Required hours to be spent on a planned activity = an average of eight hours per day

We are working on the worksheets for the gold level adventurous journey and will have them posted shortly.

WYLD Summer Camps

Did you son or daughter have a great time during their school visit and want more of the Strathcona experience? Your kids can spend their summer time Rock Climbing, White Water Kayaking, Hiking in the Mountains, Sea Kayaking and more during the months of July and August. Check out all the summer camps by clicking HERE.

WYLD DoE

 

WYLD DiscoveryCamp

 

WYLD BackcountryBeginnings

 

WYLD Nootka

 

WYLD BackcountryClassic