While tourism hangs by a thread during the COVID-19 crisis, there’s always hope people will return to the wilderness to connect and heal after the crisis resolves. (Strathcona Park Lodge and Outdoor Education Centre/Facebook)

Vancouver Island wilderness tourism operator optimistic despite business dip

Christine Clarke, a Strathcona tourism operator, believes that people will want to ‘connect’ and come back to nature to ‘heal’ post COVID-19

Wilderness tourism operator, Strathcona Park Lodge and Outdoor Education Centre has seen a steep dip in business as the province battles with COVID-19.

The lodge, located five kilometres from the entrance to Strathcona Provincial park west of Campbell River, offers 160 acres of trails and myriad outdoor recreational opportunities for visitors.

Christine Clarke, executive director of the lodge, said that ever since the park shut down mid-March following provincial directions to flatten the curve, cancellations poured in right up to 2021.

“We’re experiencing a lot of uncertainty and caution at the moment,” said Clarke in sync with the challenges most tourism operators in the province are facing.

“I expect overall business will be down for a while,” Clarke said, hopeful that the coming months will bring better news if the COVID-19 situation improves.

While the property is closed, some of the staff who stay at the property have immersed themselves in projects to care for the natural environment around the property.

With April to September being high season for the lodge, Clarke said that they usually have around 70 staff on the premises around this time.

“This year we’re down to six,” said Clarke and added that they were able to hire back some of the staff with the Canadian wage subsidy and other benefits offered by the provincial and federal government.

Their sought-after Canadian Outdoor Leadership Training program, a 100-day immersive training semester which draws in registrations from all over the world, cancelled its April semester which will be rescheduled for a later date.

COVID-19 has agreeably changed the very nature of travel, but Clarke is also confident that once it is safe for travels to resume, a lot of people from the province will be back to “heal” themselves in nature.

One of the positive outcomes that can emerge out of this lockdown is how people are going to discover the importance of connecting with people they care about. This can be advantageous in the future for recreational tourism spots like the lodge.

Clarke remains optimistic that post COVID-19, places like Strathcona Park Lodge will always have a role to play in providing people with the opportunity to connect and heal.

“Nature has great healing properties,” said Clarke, about the vast stretch of wilderness where the property is located.

CoronavirusTourism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

(The Canadian Press)
Overdose advisory issued for Alberni Valley

Island Health warns of increased number of overdoses in central Vancouver Island community

The School District 70 administration office in Port Alberni. AV NEWS FILE PHOTO
School District 70 gets a new name

Name change reflects district’s West Coast roots

Our Home on 8th, the Port Alberni Shelter that opened in March 2019, has 27 extra ‘extreme weather’ spaces for people who need a place to get out of the cold. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BC VOTES 2020: Mid-Island candidate plans occupation of shelter to protest homelessness

Graham Hughes says homeless situation a ‘crisis’ in Port Alberni

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read