January 27, 2015
The National Bird Project initiated by Canadian Geographic is in full swing with more than 10,000 votes for various birds to become Canada’s National Bird. Strathcona Wilderness Institute is promoting the Gray Jay, also known as the Whiskey Jack, as well as the Canada Jay – what better bird to represent the country?
Friendly Whiskey Jack at Croteau Lake
Other contenders include the Canada Goose
, which in spite of having Canada in the name, is not the greatest choice, since it is a bit of a pest! It also travels south for the winter – not the best ambassador for the Great White North. The Canada Jay is friendly, smart, resourceful, and hardy
– thriving in the cold Canadian winters .
Other top vote-getters include the Common Loon (already Ontario’s provincial bird), the Snowy Owl (already Quebec’s provincial bird), and the Black-capped Chickadee (already New Brunswick’s provincial bird). Why not vote for a species not already acknowledged as much as it deserves – the Canada Jay!
January 25, 2015
Strathcona Wilderness Institute in partnership with BC Parks has been successful in obtaining a grant through the federal Enabling Accessibility in Communities Fund, to improve access for Canadians with disabilities to programs and services in their community.
The Strathcona Park Accessibility Enhancement Project will receive funding for the construction of a new boardwalk and dock at Battleship Lake. The project will also include retrofitting a stepped boardwalk on the way to Battleship Lake, accessible picnic tables, and construction of a disabled-access pit-toilet at the Lake.
Battleship Lake Photo by Preston L. Tait, circa 1939
Battleship Lake is a popular day-use destination about 2.5 km from the Paradise Meadows trailhead. The lake was named by Plateau explorer Clinton Wood
, when his son pointed out that the profile of the trees on the three small islands resembled battleships
at anchor. The official name was suggested by the Comox District Mountaineering Club
and adopted in 1939.
The day-use area at Battleship Lake currently has a wooden platform for picnicking and a pit toilet. Battleship is the closest lake to the trailhead for swimming and fishing.
January 22, 2015
Today is a significant date in Strathcona Park history, for a couple of events that happened 27 and 57 years ago.
The first winter ascent of Mt Albert Edward, the iconic peak of the Forbidden Plateau area, was achieved on this date in 1938. The trek is described on author & mountaineer Lindsay Elms website, Beyond Nootka . In those days, people hiked in via the old ‘Forbidden Ski Hill’ on Wood Mountain at the eastern end of the Plateau – a long trek requiring several days to complete. The party included famous mountaineers Don & Phyllis Munday, as well as Plateau guide Len Rossiter.
Also on this date in 1988 was the start of the Strathcona Park blockade , protesting proposed expansion of mining in Strathcona Park. The events are further described by Karl Stevenson on the Friends of Strathcona Park website. The blockade ran for two months, leading to the industrial corridor being returned to the Park and ultimately greater protection for the Park.