FAQs About The Centre
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 group's 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 a group retreat.
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. The Centre itself is designed to embed you comfortably in the backcountry forest, with elegant yet simple on-site cabin accommodations, a spacious main lodge, meals, trails, swimming and boating, all accessible – and helpful, knowledgeable staff. At the junction of the hut-to-hut Sunshine Coast Trail and the Powell Forest Canoe Route, there are endless opportunities to connect with nature and other people.
How many people the Centre accommodate?
For day use 150. Overnight, 60.
How does the food work?
For groups, our catering team provides healthy, homemade, locally-sourced buffet-style meals three times a day in our Main Lodge. We can also provide trip food and other meals to go as well as drop meals at your adventuring destinations so they’re there when you arrive. Staff are always happy to recommend off-site restaurants, farmers’ markets and farm stands and grocery stores, as well. Our secure animal-proof lockers offer hikers on the Sunshine Coast Trail a convenient food cache location. Stash your food goodies in one and pick them up when you hike through. The Centre is located at km 57.5 on the Trail.
Choose from our selection of locally made, keto and vegan-friendly meals.
“Clients and kids and families are
RAVING about the experience!”
What are the cabins like?
The ‘Cabins at Powell Lake’ are built to minimize their impact on the planet, they’re a beautiful way to be in the forest. Each cabin sleeps from 4 to 12 people, in a combination of bunk, single and queen-sized beds. All cabins are accessible and some have their own washrooms.
Can We Camp Onsite?
We offer tent camping at our Ewok village ‘Tree Camp’ which is nestled in the conifer forest above the lake. Our camp features eight large tent platforms with a large cooking gazebo, fire pit, and tables.
CAN WE TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN MEALS?
Yes, our large gazebo and outdoor kitchen are available to rent for groups wishing to prepare their own meals.
Is there decent WIFI and electricity?
Yes, but only around the Lodge. WiFi for student groups is generally not available as we discourage the distraction of personal technology on site. Since the Centre is “off-grid” some restrictions apply. The Centre may have poor Wifi but the connection is unreal!
How accessible is this facility, really?
The cabins, main lodge, and washrooms are all wheelchair accessible. The site can be easily navigated with a stroller, wheelchair, or walker. A short hike or drive away is Inland Lake, BC’s first and only accessible wilderness park area, featuring a 13-kilometer barrier-free lakeside trail with huts and other amenities. Inclusivity is a value that qathet has held for a long time, and we’re proud to be a part of that.
What can guests do on-site?
Walk the gardens and forest trails around the centre, hike to a high bluff overlooking the deep fjord-like waters below. Hang out at one of our scenic rest spots overlooking the lake. Take a walk at dusk into an ancient stream side owls grove. Rent outdoor gear from our onsite outfitter such as canoes, bikes, stand-up paddleboards, backpacks, tents to set off on adventures big or small. Learn, relax and nourish yourself in our main lodge, discover new things in our outdoor classroom, playfield, and forest games, launch a boat onto Powell Lake, be in the forest and learn about this unique and changing biome.
About the Centre
How long has the Centre been open?
The Centre opened in 2013. In that time, we’ve hosted thousands of students and other guests, from all over the globe. Initially designed to help strengthen the economy of coastal communities negatively impacted by the downturn in the forest-based economy, the Centre is the perfect gateway to nature connection. Learn more about the Centre’s Vision and Mission below.
WHAT IS THE CENTRES VISION AND MISSION?
At its philosophical core, the Outdoor Learning Centre is dedicated to providing students with outdoor educational opportunities that reinforce their connection to the natural world and foster environmental stewardship and sustainability. We focus on giving students the necessary skills to think critically about personal choices and the relationships between society, economy, culture and the environment. Learning in a pristine wilderness area creates the opportunity for students to develop a deeper connection and an understanding of the environment.
Through leadership initiatives and healthy outdoor activities, students are empowered to make positive changes in the world. A holistic emphasis on personal wellness provides a foundation to our work at the Centre. The Challenge by Choice philosophy provides the opportunity for individuals to choose to take appropriate risks in a safe environment where success is guaranteed. The middle ground between perceived risk and real risk is the area of greatest growth, and respect for a persons choice is paramount to the experience.
For some groups, particularly at the beginning of the school year when students and Instructors may not know each other very well, social goals may be the primary focus.
Who owns the Powell Lake Outdoor Centre?
The centre sits on the traditional territory of the Tla’amin people and is leased from the qathet Regional District by the Powell River Board of Education. The OLC was established as an economic conduit to sustainably support a holistic regional approach to tourism development.
Who runs it?
The Centre is operated by Terracentric Coastal Adventures, a respected and established leader in the area of parks and recreational amenity management, outdoor education and adventure tourism. Terracentric is a founding industry partner of the Centre and has worked with the Powell River Board of Education for more than twenty years.
WHAT IS THE LAYOUT OF THE CENTRE?
Living OFF GRID at the Centre
The Outdoor Learning Centre is committed to the idea of keeping outdoor tourism sustainable for generations to come. The Centre is completely self-contained and operated entirely off-grid. We believe that less is more, and we aim to apply this idea to our entire operation. Our Centre strives to apply the principles of sustainable tourism and travel. Our focus on self-propelled travel underscores our strong interest in being a conduit for connecting people to nature and each other. If you’d like to know more about our sustainability initiatives please email us.
By generating our own hydroelectric power using solar power, we have been able to operate on a minimal footprint and only use what we need. The Centre also operates its own drinking water treatment plant with water sourced directly from the Lake treating it using UV and other filters to ensure it is up to a drinkable standard and treats all its own sewage. And, of course, we religiously follow the three “Rs” of sustainability in our everyday practices (reduce, reuse, recycle).
We have the privilege of being immersed in the wilderness areas of the qathet Region, which is one of the key reasons we prioritize environmental stewardship. In discussions that surround environmental conservation efforts, we are an active voice and we often consult with and work directly with resource companies and community groups to protect environmentally sensitive areas.
Is it worth the trip?
We’re not gonna lie. Yes. Sometimes it’s about the journey AND the destination!