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

BCHL: Bulldogs trade veteran defenceman, acquire new players during offseason

Grayson Valente suited up for three seasons with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs

ARTS AROUND: Rollin Art Centre garden opening June 16

Virtual art exhibits and gift shop to come

A LOOK BACK: maritime history of Alberni Inlet

Take a peek at Alberni Valley history with Alberni Valley Museum

EDITORIAL: It’s time for Canada to admit to its own racism

Make no mistake, racism exists in Canada.

UPDATE: Highway 4 reopens after police incident near Port Alberni

Highway between Port Alberni and the West Coast was briefly closed in both directions

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

Gold River ready to welcome visitors and restart local businesses

In contrast to single-industry remote communities, Gold River’s diversified economy might help it better survive after reopening

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Search and rescue crews help locate 62-year-old Nanoose Bay mountain biker

RCMP: Man got lost on trail and did right thing by calling for assistance

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Most Read