As summer peaks in Paradise Meadows, programs at the Strathcona Park Wilderness Centre are in full swing, with continuing special events for Strathcona Park’s Centennial year.
The centre is located at the Paradise Meadows trailhead to Strathcona Park, and is operated by the Strathcona Wilderness Institute (SWI), a non-profit Society. The Centre, adjacent to Mt Washington Resort’s Raven Lodge, is staffed for visitor information on Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; as well as on most weekdays, thanks to volunteers.
SWI programs include Nature Walks & Talks of about 2 hours. Level 1 Hikes are 3-4 hours with a guide, for all ages. Level 2 Hikes are 5-7 hours with a guide, for intermediate hikers. Level 3 Hikes are 8-10 hours, for fit hikers only. Centennial Events are special programs for Strathcona Park’’s 100th year.
On Saturday, the Centennial focus will be at the Buttle Lake area of Strathcona Park, as SWI joins the “Strathcona Wilderness Festival” at the Price Creek trailhead. Everyone is welcome from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m to celebrate the Park with all-ages activities from hiking to story-telling. For more information, and for transportation options to Buttle Lake visit www.friendsofstrathcona.org
For Sunday, BC Parks and the Accessible Wilderness Society have organized a “Family Fun Day for Every-Body” at the Paradise Meadows trailhead to Strathcona Park. Strollers, wheelchairs, and walkers are especially invited to try the 2 km barrier-free Centennial Trail. From 12:30 – 3:30 p.m., displays, video and music will inform and entertain the whole family. Terry Thormin, photographer, birder, and entomologist will be the volunteer guide for the Strathcona Wilderness Institute with a nature walk around the meadows at 1 p.m.
Strathcona Wilderness Institute programs will continue the following weekend, with a strenuous Level 3 Hike to Mt. Allan Brooks on Sat. Aug. 27 at 9 .m., with guides Steve & Marlene Smith of SWI. This eight-hour hike is mostly off-trail, with some bush bashing and steep snow fields. “Sturdy boots and hiking poles are a must. As it is steep terrain, hiking fitness is advised!” says volunteer guide Marlene Smith. “Gather at the Centre at 8.45 a.m. to get details. Well-behaved dogs on leash are welcome.” Pre-register at email@example.com as the group size is limited to 15 people.
For those who want a more leisurely appreciation of Strathcona Park, on Sun. Aug 28 there are two programs: at 10 a.m., join well-known nature photographer Chris Carter for Great Photo-Ops in Paradise Meadows – an excursion into the meadows looking for interesting subjects and compositions – no camera needed. This Art & Nature Talk & Walk will go rain or shine – in fact damp weather can be optimum for flower photography. In the afternoon at 1 p.m. join SWI director Lindsay Elms for a Strathcona Park Centennial presentation: History of Strathcona: Stories of the Park. Elms is an experienced mountaineer & author of Beyond Nootka: a Historical Perspective of Vancouver Island Mountains.