August 1, 12:00pm: This morning BC Wildfire reported minimal fire behavior and no increase in size. The area is now 100% guarded. Crews are making good progress. There is little smoke being generated and it remains calm. Blue Lake Camp continues on as usual. The air is clear and skies are blue!
July 31, 10:45am. Fire crews are on site and skimmers continue to drop water to cool the fire. Heavy equipment has finished creating the fire guard. If weather conditions remain the same, BC Wildfires does not anticipate any concerns for Blue Lake Camp over the coming days.
Camp life is continuing on as usual. Conditions are clear and sunny. We will continue to post updates throughout the day.
July 30, 8:00pm. BC Wildfire has spotted a small fire near Engstrom's Pond, up the valley from Blue Lake Camp. BC Wildfire is currently attending to it with a crew and aircraft. We are in close contact with BC Wildfire they have assured us that everyone is safe.
Camp life is carrying on as normal and everyone is having fun. We will continue to keep in close contact with BC Wildfire and we will update you if anything changes. Please rest assured that everyone at camp is fine and having a good time. Camper safety is always our number one priority.
We often receive the question – what would happen if there were a fire? At Blue Lake Camp, camper safety is always number one priority. If an evacuation plan were ever initiated, campers would be bussed to Fairmont Hot Springs Resort along with camp staff. The fun of camp would continue at Fairmont Hot Springs until parents were able to come pick their children up. Our administrative staff would call emergency contacts to advise them of where to pick their children up. Some families are several hours away - staff would stay with the campers and make sure they were happy, safe, and comfortable until parents arrive.
Please back here or on our social media pages for updates.
At the July 16 regular Cranbrook City Council meeting, Columbia Outdoor School presented the Joseph Creek Framework for review. Council accepted the framework. Any residents with ideas or recommendations for the project are encouraged to get involved!
The first location of interest is Idlewild Park. The project will include replanting the area surrounding the lake and enhancing the area adjacent to the lake by doing some pooling, channeling and planting in that areal.
The complete Joseph Creek Framework can be downloaded here.
Blue Lake Makes Big Announcement About Future
Saturday was an important day for Blue Lake Camp. The organization celebrated 40 years of operations with an open house and a big announcement about its future. “For four decades, Blue Lake has provided fantastic experiences and memories for thousands of kids. It is a very special place,” said Executive Director, Todd Hebert, “Blue Lake Camp is incredibly popular with consistently sold out programming and waitlists to attend. The demand for outdoor education has been growing. Blue Lake has been expanding rapidly and taking on new programs and business opportunities. It is time to grow, and the best way to do that is to expand beyond the borders of camp; to bring our camp programs into communities.” Hebert announced that Blue Lake Forest Education Society will be changing its name to Columbia Outdoor School, which will continue to operate Blue Lake Camp. “The new name better represents our organization and its vision to provide environment programming throughout the entire Columbia Basin,” said Hebert, “It is not always possible for youth from the region to make it to Blue Lake Camp. Now we can bring programming to them”.
Blue Lake Camp will continue to provide outdoor experiences for kids. Thanks to a grant by Columbia Basin Trust, a new low ropes course is being installed in September and will allow for new leadership and team building opportunities. “Year-round programming includes camp programs for ages 6-14, and teen leadership and outdoor adventure programs for ages 15-18. As Columbia Outdoor School we will increase our education program opportunities, expand our teen programs, and work with Colleges, Universities and school districts to develop resource use and recreation certification programs,”
Plans include reaching out to schools throughout the region. “With recent changes to BC curriculum the demand for outdoor education is increasing and we are now able to bring quality environment science programs to the classroom. Partial funding through BC Hydro has enabled this to happen. Columbia Outdoor School will develop and implement classroom based programs, organize workshops and seminars for schools, teachers, and the public. Blue Lake Camp will continue to provide multi day field trips for school groups as it has for decades. The full camp experience is worth the trip to Blue Lake,” said Hebert.
In conjunction with several partners including the City of Cranbrook, Columbia Outdoor School has been working with the City to coordinate and implement the Joseph Creek Restoration and community education plan. The scope of work includes coordinating restoration work, replanting, wetland development, and developing and implementing community education programming.
In 2011, a grant provided funding for new facilities at Blue Lake Camp including a new lodge for family vacation rentals. Revenue from facility rentals helps support camp programs for youth. “Camp is the perfect gathering place for groups. It provides a unique opportunity to connect through recreation and time spent talking around the campfire,” said Hebert. Facilities allow for groups up to 117 people. Blue Lake regularly hosts weddings, family reunions, corporate retreats, conferences, and youth groups.
Located 40 minutes South of Fairmont Hot Springs and 90 minutes North of Cranbrook, Blue Lake’s unique location and quality education programming have made it a top destination for summer camps and school programs for 3 generations. Blue Lake opened its doors in 1977 as one of 6 Junior Forest Warden Camps in BC operated by the BC Forestry Association. In 1995, the camp was purchased by the Blue Lake Forest Education Society and has continued operations as registered non-profit charity with a mandate of providing high-quality environmental science, outdoor skill, leadership, and sustainability programming to youth. Blue Lake is the longest operating and only non-denominational summer camp in the Columbia Basin region.
“These are exciting time for Columbia Outdoor School and its Blue Lake Camp operations,” says Hebert.