By Heidi Bevington This year islanders have a unique opportunity to use a rustic retreat at Moresby Island’s Mosquito Lake for group meetings in return for a bit of labour or a donation.
Mount Moresby Adventure Camp is a compound of two long house style cabins. The sleeping cabin has 38 bunks, a loft and a great hall. The kitchen cabin has two kitchens outfitted with stoves, fridges and work area as well as a large eating area. A generator provides electricity. However, although the buildings are completed and have wood stoves for heat, they aren’t furnished, the bunks have no mattresses and the kitchens have no cooking tools, so users have to bring all their own equipment.
The camp began 6 years ago when some Sandspit residents started to dream of a wilderness education retreat for youth, says Gail Henry, chair of the Mount Moresby Adventure Camp Society. One of the founding members, RCMP officer Blake Ward, hoped the camp could be a retreat for troubled youth to reconsider their direction in life and learn to make healthier choices. The original business plan stated education users would have first priority when booking the camp.
The original society members, assisted by Haida Gwaii Community Futures, gathered money and materials from donors like Weyerhaeuser and Timberwest as well as community groups, Gwaii Trust and individuals. When they were ready to build, they hired Terrace contractor Rob Seaton, who builds in a long house style. He milled the beams and timber on site using an Alaska mill and timber donated by islands companies. His work finished in 2001. The buildings are not quite complete because the society ran out of money before the project ended, says society member Jim Henry, but only finishing work, like painting the floors, is needed now.
The original society disbanded a few years ago when the founding members moved away and no one stepped in to take their place, but in February, community members met to see if there was interest in reviving the project. Enough people came forward to justify an annual general meeting in March when a new board was elected.
The board plans an advertising campaign this summer directed at universities, colleges and school districts that might want to use the facility beginning next year. For this year, they will let any interested group use the camp in exchange for labour or a donation. Some projects the board hopes to complete this year are creation of a trail along Mosquito Lake, installation of a culvert, filling potholes with gravel, bucking and splitting firewood, and weeding alders that are starting to encroach on the grounds.
Anyone on the islands can join the society for a dollar. If you are interested in using the camp this summer or fall, please contact Gail Henry at 637-2212.
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