Be our guests

Well maintained, high-quality gear; attentive staff; delicious food; your perfect, memory-making hike – our staff are committed to making the most of your time in the forest. Getting away is an investment. Let us help you design a pinnacle experience, whether you’re bringing a class of 30, a wedding of 150, or just your partner and kids.

Home » Discover the Region

We hope you love it as much as we do.

Between the Salish Sea and the Coast Mountains, the qathet Region is home to ɬaʔamɩn (Tla’amin) Nation, and in the southern part of the region the Shíshálh and Nation. Communities of Powell River, Lund, Texada Island, and Savary Island each offer unique coastal character.

We gratefully acknowledge this traditional territory and the rich culture of the Coast Salish people who have lived here since time immemorial.

Until a few years ago, this was BC’s best-kept secret, protected by its reputation as a rough mill town – with the pulp smell to match. In fact, that reputation was never well-deserved (think draft dodgers, BC’s first credit union, a mill transformed by early environmental efforts, high-profile queer leaders, and school board that pioneered Indigenous language studies decades ago) – and the pulp smell has been gone for at least 30 years.

Now, this region smells like warm cedar and Douglas-fir, the ocean, coffee roasting, beer brewing, sourdough baking, and, of course, happy, gritty, interesting people and maybe the occasional Sasquatch.

“Our two days of kayaking with you was truly the highlight of our trip to British Columbia.”

ɬaʔamɩn (Tla’amin) Nation

The original locals, you’ll find Tla’amin Nation members teaching at schools, working in the woods, operating an award-winning hair salon, running a hotel complex in Lund, growing an international business-networking operation, and selling delicious food at events and markets, among much more.

Tla’amin and other local governments have enjoyed many vibrant partnerships over the last several decades, and the reconciliation movement is the latest articulation of an already- tight relationship.

The Nation settled its treaty in 2015. Much of the land you’ll walk on belongs to the Nation. Everywhere here can be referred to as “Tla’amin Traditional Territory.”
You may want to learn a few words and phrases in ayajuthem before coming.

The Outdoor Learning Centre gratefully acknowledges its place on the traditional territory of the ɬaʔamɩn (Tla’amin) Nation.

The ultimate getaway

You’re planning a fun-filled family vacation, an active getaway for you and some friends, or a special retreat to stimulate your relationship.

You want a challenging nature-based workout from 6am to 10pm?

You want the space and quiet to reconnect with the earth?

We’ve got you.

A bit of qathet History

Tla’amin Nation has been here since time immemorial. By the late 1800s, much of this region has been logged of its original forest by non-Indigenous companies. Limestone from the quarry on Texada helped build the Legislative Assembly in Victoria and other prominent buildings in BC and internationally.

In 1911, the Powell River Paper Mill opened on what was once tiyskʷɑt (Tiskwat) – the original village site of the Tla’amin people, at the mouth of the Powell River. Inspired by the Arts & Crafts movement, the owners of the mill built a “Garden City” of beautiful worker homes in what’s now the National Historic Neighbourhood of Townsite. Tla’amin Nation members were removed to a reserve north of there, their ceremonies banned, and children sent to residential schools.

The region soon grew to about 20,000 people, attracting immigrants and refugees after WWI, WWII, and the Vietnam War – both Vietnamese emigrants and American draft dodgers (more recently, those escaping the wars in Syria and Iran, and Congo.) By the 1970s, Powell River became the wealthiest resource worker community in Canada, with its own unique story.

By the 1990s, pulp and paper, logging, and fishing were still the heart of qathet’s private industry for many locals, but not the vibrant, broad-based employers they once were. Incomes declined as jobs constricted, young people left for other opportunities.
Tla’amin Nation started working on its treaty, and initiated forestry, aquaculture, fishing, and land businesses on its own and in partnership with others; a language and cultural revitalization took hold.

The price of housing stayed low here, attracting new waves of people moving out of Canada’s big cities to the promise of an outdoorsy, free lifestyle, and affordable real estate.

Now, qathet is home to the Outdoor Learning Centre, an annual international symphony music academy, a biannual Kathaumixw international choral festival; a Junior A Hockey team; several farmers markets and a burgeoning artisan movement; unparalleled volunteer-built mountain bike trails, hiking, and rock climbing and a longhouse soon to be built on Texada Island – among much more activity you’ll discover when you come.

qathet contains a diverse, growing community of people from all over the world, working together to figure out how to live well, given the pressures of the 21st century. In fact, that’s what “qathet” means: working together.

WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT THIS PLACE?

No other Centre or camp in BC offers such grand-scale, state-of-the art, unique opportunities for outdoor recreation. Operating completely off-grid, generating its own power, cleaning its own water and managing its own waste, the Centre strives to minimize its impact on the local environment.

Learn More about the Powell Lake Outdoor Learning Centre

Five chill things to do when you’re here and ready to take a break from adventuring:

Shop for local art and artisan-made treasures

Lund, Marine Avenue, and Townsite Market are all super destinations – as are the farmers’ markets. Local galleries and art stores abound throughout qathet.

Eat at a seaside restaurant

Watch the sunset and search for orca while enjoying local cod or halibut and chips, cocktails with local flavours, and sweet treats.

Take in some live music

Big music events include Kathaumixw, PRISMA, the Texada Blues & Roots Festival, and the Sunshine Coast Music Festival. Nearly every night you can hear live music at venues and restaurants around town.

Meet the locals

This is nearly unavoidable. We’re friendly. We’ll probably encourage you to move here.

Follow your own quirky interests

The best tourism happens when you’re discovering things that are closest to your heart. Want to see the commercial fishing boats? Find local media? Check out the yoga and complementary health scene? Don’t be shy about pursuing this stuff!

How do I find all this? Ask our staff. It’s what we’re here for. We are happy to help you make the most of your time, by directing you to the ultimate local amenities to suit your tastes. And, before you come, check out Tourism Powell River.