Strathcona Wilderness Institute

A Memorable Weekend

Parks Day at Paradise Meadows yesterday was a great day in spite of the partly cloudy weather! Displays by Comox Valley Ground Search & Rescue, Comox District Mountaineering Club, Friends of Strathcona and Island Alpine Guides attracted quite a few people to chat & learn more about these worthwhile groups, each with a great interest in Strathcona Park, as well as about Strathcona Wilderness Institute itself, which manages the Wilderness Centre.

Artist Brian Buckrell gave an excellent painting demo, getting a substantial start on two paintings. Brian has a painting entered in the Art for the Estuary fundraising & awareness campaign coordinated by Comox Valley Project Watershed, and many in the Comox Valley already own one of his beautiful pieces.

The chocolate cake at noon was a highlight of course & disappeared too quickly! Thanks to Thrifty Foods for donating the excellent cake, and thanks to BC Parks for providing further funding towards the day.

As a result of input yesterday, Search & Rescue are advising that people who would like to fill out a trip plan at the Centre, should leave the bright yellow form clearly visible on their vehicle dashboard – that way it is easy to spot vehicles to which hikers have not returned. Another suggestion was that the Centre display one of their wheelchairs fitted with a FreeWheel,  so that visitors know that these are available to borrow. Three wheelchairs and a child stroller are downstairs at the Centre, available at any time. Visitors can also borrow other items such as a dog leash, bear bells or umbrella – which would have been useful today!

The clouds of yesterday turned into a deluge by noon today , but many hikers were still visiting the Park. A couple of noteworthy visitors were Briony Penn from Saltspring, and some of her family – Briony is a noted environmental educator, author & naturalist.

And for the very first time, a wedding was completed at the Wilderness Centre! Many people were sheltering from the rain today, but one group needed a dry place to put the final signatures onto their registry – thereby becoming officially married inside the Centre. The background view of Mt Albert Edward was obscured by cloud but the group did not seem to mind. A memorable first for the Centre! and the sun came out by the late afternoon, so a happy ending for all.

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