The Boulding’s 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 Boulding’s fought to preserve the boundaries of Strathcona Park, save wild salmon and speak out for wilderness and tourism.
Today Jim and Myrna’s son Jamie Boulding and his wife Christine Clark 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 has been in operation for over 50 years. Founded in 1959 by high school teachers Myrna and Jim Boulding, 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 programmes 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 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 has grown into what is today 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.
SPL offers holistic education and experiential learning in a natural setting. Holistic education does not separate work from play, nor education from life. Holism in education is a composite experience involving all that is available in both the natural and human environment. In addition to teaching skills, we are concerned with the less visible realms of education. Perceptions are changed, confidence is built, bodies are strengthened and a basic sense of integration with nature is experienced.
Activities, though often demanding, take place in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Participants are given a chance to realize and extend their physical abilities and feel some of the excitement of “living on the edge.”
Basic to our philosophy is generosity of spirit. This is revealed in the instructors’ desire to share their skills and knowledge with all students, and in the warmth and friendliness one feels at the Lodge. Visitors are valued as participants, not spectators – they are encouraged to contribute.