Experience Nature Off-Grid and Hands-On with Strathcona Park Lodge
“I hope that we educate [guests] to be better citizens so they develop a passion for getting outdoors and enjoying the wilderness.”
Have you ever stopped to consider the power sources you use? When you turn on the lights or have a hot shower, where is that energy coming from? Strathcona Park Lodge is a self-contained off-grid wilderness retreat with 160 acres to explore on the edge of Strathcona Provincial Park. It invites guests to unplug from daily life, re-connect to nature, and get curious about energy use and sustainability. It’s a gathering place for families, friends, and community groups, a basecamp for wilderness adventures, and a world-renowned hub for outdoor education.
Strathcona Park Lodge is a family-run business, and its owners have been thinking about sustainable tourism for over 60 years. President Jamie Boulding has deep roots in the Campbell River region and in the hospitality business. His grandfather was a fishing guide in the early 1900s and his grandmother started the nearby Comox Valley’s first hotel. Jamie’s father, Jim Boulding, had the vision to establish Strathcona Park Lodge in the 1950s and saw time in nature as a powerful opportunity to learn and build community.
That drive for connection and education continues today.
Off-grid life and sustainable choices
Jamie says that modelling sustainability practices is an important way to attract guests who value the environment. “You open people up to making choices about intentionally coming to places that are sustainable and live within a reasonable footprint,” he says.
Strathcona Park Lodge generates hydro-electric power using a Pelton Wheel, which enables the operators to manage their energy and use only what they need. They also source drinking water from Upper Campbell Lake and heat it using passive solar technology.
These sustainable energy choices mean the Lodge can be self-reliant and minimize its impact on the environment. It also fosters a deeper connection to nature. Off-grid living encourages guests to think about the energy systems they use during their time at the Lodge and also when they return home to their everyday lives.
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Guests gain a new outlook on nature
What can you look forward to when you visit Strathcona Park Lodge? There are options to relax and enjoy stunning lakefront views in comfort as well as opportunities to be more adventurous outdoors. Seasoned nature-lovers and newcomers alike can enjoy private hiking trails through old-growth forests, a lake to explore via kayak, canoe, or SUP, and guided group activities such as archery and rock climbing.
The Lodge offers organized outdoor education programs, customizable programs, as well as plenty of self-serve options in both on-site and off-site adventures. It’s a popular place for school groups, youth programs, and families due to the amount of activities on offer, the stunning setting, and the strong philosophy of experiential learning that has been imparted on youth spending time at the Lodge for generations. Wilderness Youth Leadership Development expeditions take youth ages 12-17 on 8-12 day long camping trips where they canoe, hike, learn skills to navigate the backcountry, and foster strong connections with nature and each other.
Jamie says he sees lots of different reactions from people when they come to spend time off-grid at the Lodge. It’s rewarding to see people learn where their power comes from, especially with school programs.“Youth outreach and education is amazingly influential,” says Jamie. As kids ask questions like ‘how many times do I get to shower?’ or ‘when can I wash my clothes?’ it changes their outlook on how they use resources and relate to nature. “I hope that we educate them to be better citizens so they get to develop a passion for getting outdoors and enjoying the wilderness and environment and realize how much of an impact they’re going to have,” says Jamie.
What actions can guests take to embrace sustainable travel?
Along with supporting local businesses and tourism operators that prioritize sustainability, people can show their commitments to the environment by thinking through the way they travel. Small actions like turning off the lights or thermostat can make a big difference when many people do them. More and more people are embracing ‘slow’ travel, where people spend a longer amount of time in fewer locations to slow down and appreciate where they are rather than rushing around to tick locations off their list. Slower travel is better for the environment, and it’s an intentional shift towards learning more about where you are and appreciating the present moment. Jamie says that in his 60 years of life, he has yet to see all that Strathcona Park Lodge and its surroundings have to offer. He says, “there’s a lifetime of exploring you can do just in our area. It’s unbelievable.”
Do you want to introduce your family to outdoor education or unplug for an unforgettable experience in nature? Learn more about Strathcona Park Lodge and book your trip today.