This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Price Ellison expedition that led to the formation of BC’s first provincial park, Strathcona. In July this year, photographer, author and mountaineer Philip Stone of Quadra Island will be leading a group into Strathcona Provincial Park to replicate Price’s expedition of 1910. To introduce the history of the Park and provide insight into this summer’s expedition, Stone will present an illustrated talk at the Museum at Campbell River on Saturday, April 17 from 1 pm to 3 pm.
The Ellison expedition was undertaken at a time when 19th century attitudes were still prevalent in terms of looking at natural resources as something to exploit. Although Strathcona Park was viewed as a nature preserve and ‘set apart as a public place and pleasure-ground for the benefit, advantage, and enjoyment of the people of British Columbia’. (Strathcona Park Act March 1, 1911), there were ambitious plans to build a railway into the Buttle Lake area and to construct a resort in the tradition of the Canadian Pacific hotels.
An early brochure about the park makes glowing references to its attractions: ‘There are no venomous snakes, and no wild animals from which danger may be apprehended. In most localities flies and mosquitoes are nearly absent, and will not interfere with the trout fishing.’
While this idealized version of the park might have eventually attracted the general public, Strathcona never did become the ‘Banff’ of Vancouver Island and despite a mine being built in the park in the 1960’s there has been relatively little development. Stone hopes that the current expedition will raise awareness of the park and help preserve its natural state.
Philip Stone himself has explored Strathcona Park extensively over the past 20 years and has written several books on hiking on Vancouver Island. He is currently the owner and editor of the Discovery Islander and WildIsle publications.
When asked how he initiated his current project, Stone explained that the first step in making the expedition a reality was to “write to the Premier”, and that “the SPPAC (Strathcona Provincial Park Advisory Committee) and BC Parks have been vital in getting the profile needed to have it recognized as an official reenactment’.”
The talk is in conjunction with the Museum’s exhibit ‘Into the Wild: The 1910 Ellison Expedition and the Birth of BC Parks’. The cost for the talk is $6.00. Please call 287-3103 to reserve a seat. For more information on this summer’s expedition, check out Stone’s website: http://www.wildisle.ca/strathcona-park/expedition
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The Campbell River Museum maintains collections and archives from Campbell River’s wide and diverse history, culture and community. For more information about your local Campbell River Museum, call 250-287-3103 or visit www.crmuseum.ca