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Trail Blazers: A quintessential Kootenay camp going on 90 years

Trail Blazers is a weekly feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives
Scouts diving off of a man-made pier at Camp Koolaree, circa 1950. Photo: Trail Historical Society

The summer solstice was a few weeks ago, but with the start of July comes the unofficial start of summer.

“Summertime often brings to mind camping and time spent outdoors in the long sunny days,” begins Addison Oberg, collections coordinator, Trail Museum and Archives.

“A staple of summertime for decades is Camp Koolaree on Kootenay Lake.”

A favorite for years among the Boy Scouts and other organizations such as the Trail United Church, the camp is celebrating 90 years of establishment this year.

“Here is an awesome shot of the Boy Scouts diving off of a man-made pier in 1950 at Camp Koolaree,” Oberg explains. “The Scouts made annual trips out to the camp where the boys would learn survival skills, how to be a kind and confident member of society and of course, general fun and games.”

June 2022 solstice, marking the first day of summer, officially began Tuesday, June 21 at 5:14 a.m.

Koolaree history

Camp Koolaree was founded in 1931 on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake by the Kootenay Lake Religious Education Society and has been operated as a United Church Camp since the 1970s. Many other groups have also rented the camp for retreats over the years. Located directly across the lake from Six Mile, the camp is a rustic off-grid and off-road facility. Campers once were able to arrive on passenger trains, but now the camp is accessed by boat. With 137 acres, the camp offers a wilderness experience unique to the Kootenays,.

Trail Blazers stories here: #Local History

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Sheri Regnier

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