During a stay at the Lodge around 1970 Henry Stadlbauer, with his chainsaw, carved the Lodge bear statue and the overhead Strathcona Park Lodge sign at the Lodge entrance. SPL President Jamie Boulding remembers being a young boy watching Henry carve the original sign.
Since then innumerable groups have had their picture taken standing below the sign but it became clear this past spring that after fifty years in the weather it needed replacing. On a hike high above the lake on SPL’s back acreage Toby Hay and Christine Clarke chose a likely looking cedar – a sapling when the original sign was made but now a tree ⅔ of a metre in diameter at 12 metres above the ground.
Preparing the Cedar Log
Jamie’s cousin David Boulding felled it and skidded it down the hill where Toby Hay took his hand tools and peeled it, flattened a face, and carved the logo and “Strathcona Park Lodge,” chronicled by his daughter Emma Hay.
As the old sign was lifted down a worried squirrel appeared amid the vines at the top of the post, watched briefly, then plunged back into its nest in the post top and reappeared carrying a kit. Over the next several minutes she carried her brood one by one down the post and hid them in the undergrowth.
One vertical support pole was replaced about 10 years ago. It was time to replace the other with a suitably weathered one. An old cedar float log from the beach was brought to replace it. That log had been part of a raft used in the 1950’s by Jamie’s grandfather Wallace Baikie as a ferry on the lake before some of the current roads had been built – the four holes drilled through it held the steel bars tying the raft together. While digging out the original post a buried BC license plate from 1968 was found, which Tom Smith nailed to the post over one of the holes joking about putting little hobbit doors over the others. Windsor Mill Sales in Campbell River kindly sent out their crane-equipped lumber truck to lift the sign into place for us. Here’s hoping it lasts another fifty years.
The old sign is now a bench on the lakeshore by the Myra and Wallace Baikie pavilion.