West Coast Wilderness Studies is an outdoor learning course full of hands-on skill-building, teamwork challenges, and outdoor trips around central Vancouver Island. Students learn “hard skills” like fire lighting, knot tying, shelter building, and fishing techniques. They are also challenged to develop “soft skills” like leadership, managing group dynamics, and recognizing one’s own comfort levels. Students have the opportunity to earn several certifications like CPR/AED/Opioid overdose response, and their boating license. Throughout each semester, they choose, plan, and organize an overnight trip. Past trips have included snowshoeing on Mount Washington, kayaking to Pirates Cove on DeCourcy Island, and caving at the Horne Lake caves. These trips are an opportunity to celebrate a semester of hard work, further practice skills gained, and learn new skills like cooking for large groups.


Our most recent overnight trip was to Mount Washington for a day on the slopes and a day of snowshoeing in the backcountry. Half of the group took lessons in either skiing or snowboarding and hit the slopes while the other half packed bags and went on an 8 km snowshoe trek up to Lake Helen Mackenzie. The evening was filled with games, stories, and some group cooking. On day two, the groups switched so everyone had the opportunity to learn and experience new activities.


The West Coast Wilderness Studies program would like to send out a few HUGE thank yous. Without you, these trips wouldn’t be possible:

To Landon (Western Educational Adventures) for keeping us safe in the backcountry and teaching students the art of snow fighting.

To Cona Vacation Getaways and the WinterGreen Lodge. Our accommodations were beautiful, comfortable, and easy to find.

To the staff at Mount Washington. Your flexibility and friendliness made life easy for our students and chaperones.

To Nadine and Elliot, our fantastic volunteer chaperones. Thank you for your time, energy, positivity, and leadership. You made running this trip a breeze.