The SPL Story

Undeniable magic occurs here every single day

There is something powerful about being unplugged, spending the day outside, and connecting at night under the stars. You’ll notice the magic as soon as you step on site, take a deep breath and take in our sensational views. Perched on the shores of Upper Campbell Lake, our property is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and hugged by the dramatic vistas of the Elk River Valley. We have 160 acres of rugged natural wonders waiting to be explored including beaches, hiking trails, waterways and lush rainforest. Our neighbour is Strathcona Provincial Park.

Blazing a Trail

Our story began with Jim Boulding, a larger than life “super-connector” of a man. He noticed—even way back in the 50’s—that there was a separation between people and nature that needed to be mended. He wanted to create an outdoor education centre where people could build respect for the natural world and each other. He dreamed of how those connections would create a ripple effect, improving lives and communities across BC and beyond.


We are that community

Jim wanted to build a place where people could gather, celebrate life, and connect with one another.  A place where people—especially kids—could get their hands in the dirt, have a tactile connection with the elements, live on the edge, and relive their wild stories of their day’s adventures while looking at the stars. A place that provided people with inspiration and connection to local First Nations and elders. Jim was an interior BC boy and had a good friend in Ray Williams, (who taught Jim first hand many necessary skills for living on the rugged west coast of the island). With this in mind, he founded the Lodge on six core values, which continue to guide us today.

All in the Family

Jim married Myrna. She was passionate about “real food” — from farm to table — and believed in the importance of connecting with and over shared meals. Our food philosophy and tradition of wholesome cooking was born from this vision. Today, we have a beautiful restaurant, close to nature, overlooking the lake, and adjacent to our active orchards and gardens. You’ll see kids, families of all ages, education groups, and old friends and staff connecting over delicious local food. They’ll beg the chef for the recipe and go home to make their own version from scratch. Maybe they’ll even teach a friend once they’re home—the ripple effect in action. 

Jim and Myrna raised their five children here while starting this business. The operation is still family-owned and has been run by husband and wife team Jamie Boulding, (Jim and Myrna’s son, and the President of SPL), and Christine Clarke (Executive Director) since 1993. You can find more on the Boulding family and the people of Strathcona.

Making Ripples into Waves

Over time, Jim realized there was a need to train people to lead groups of youth and people of all ages in outdoor pursuits. In 1977, the Canadian Outdoor Leadership Training semester program was born, and remains a leader in the industry today. Our world-renowned outdoor education centre has seen over 150 000 school kids pass through its gates, planting seeds for nature connections that have carried a positive ripple effect out into communities. If you work in Outdoor Ed, you know the Lodge. And either you or someone you know has been deeply impacted by what we do.

We change lives through outdoor education and are committed to standing up for the environment, primarily by empowering youth to respect and protect wild spaces for years to come.

Letting Actions Speak

Many businesses have green initiatives, carbon offsetting efforts, or organizations they support on the side of their day-to-day operations, but few govern all their decisions with these values in mind. We truly live by our values and take our connection and responsibility to nature seriously. With that in mind, we power our entire operation on a completely off-grid system that we run ourselves. When you turn on the lights here, they’re either powered by the solar panels on the roof or our hydro Pelton wheel.

Every business decision we make, from what we stock in the store, to the food we buy, to the way our accommodations are designed, is made with the intent to honour our commitment to connecting people with the natural world and each other while respecting our environment.

Our mission is to teach the wonder, spirit and worth of people and the natural world through outdoor pursuits. 

When you book with us and connect with nature and your people in a beautiful place—you are also supporting a truly environmentally-aware business, and directly funding our efforts to reconnect people—especially kids—with the outdoors.

Off-Beat but In Tune

This may not be the place for everyone, it’s different! But we like it that way and we know we’re impacting the world in ways big and small. We know that what we do works—we’ve been at it six decades and we’ve witnessed the countless positive ripple effects our Centre has created.

The Lodge experience is minimalistic—simple yet beautiful—and designed to bring folks back home to each other and to nature. These elements all come together as the recipe for what we call Strathcona Magic.

Come be a part of it! Whether you book with your friends, your loved ones, your family, your friend-family, your knitting club, your sports team or your school, we’d love to show you around and welcome you “home.”

Upon arriving you are taken aback by how remote and beautiful the area is. The lodge is rustic and cozy, just the kind of place to unwind and forget about busy schedules. The hiking in the area is fantastic and the staff are eager to share their knowledge of the trails. Great staff, rustic accommodation, and amazing lakes to explore. A truly great getaway experience. Ps- don’t tell anyone :)

– Paul Stapleton