From Nine Mile Point you now make a right and enter into Salmon Inlet. A little over a mile up the south side of the inlet is the site of the old Glad Tidings Church Camp. This place always leaves me with mixed emotions. The area is absolutely beautiful but what has been done to it is very disheartening. The property is a government Crown lease that was held by the Glad Tidings Church since the 1950’s I believe. The church had been running it as a summer camp and had built cabins, a rustic but very attractive dining hall, a very large A-frame type structure for activities and equipment storage and numerous staff quarters. During the summer of 1992 the camp was suddenly closed down because of health issues.
In September of 1992 I happened to be boating in the area and dropped in to see the camp. I had just spent nine years as Property Manager/Maintenance Director at Keats Camps on Keats Island, so camp operations were of some interest to me. The place looked as if everyone had been airlifted out with little notice. The tables in the dining hall were still set, the covered dock had rows of life jackets hanging up. In the staff quarters books and shoes were still beside the beds and clothes in the closets. Already there had been some minor vandalism. The toolroom door was broken open as was the storage building where the food was stored. There was a backhoe in the A-frame and if I remember correctly, a skidder. The diesel generator building had also been broken into. A sorry sight.
When we returned home we contacted the Glad Tidings Church in Vancouver and told them of the vandalism that we had seen and suggested that the site needed to be secured better. They indicated that they were dealing with it.
I didn’t get back to the camp until 2008. The dining hall had been torched (apparently by vandals in 2006) and the long dock had completely disappeared. Most of the outbuilding were heavily vandalized. In the A-frame the backhoe had been stripped and smashed with rocks and the entire building was in danger of collapse. Very little was left of the diesel generator. Once again we contacted the Glad Tidings organization, more this time to express our disgust. We were told that they were also concerned and they were trying to formulate some sort of plan.
Very little had changed when this picture was taken in 2010 and it was obvious nothing more had been done to secure or clean up the camp site. With my years of camp experience I know how hard it is to get funds to run and maintain a camp. Much of the money comes through people’s tithes and donations. It was difficult for me to see hundreds of thousand of dollars worth of resources abandoned and wasted and I think the Glad Tidings organization should be ashamed of itself.
There is conflicting information on whether Glad Tidings still holds the lease but recently there has been some very significant archaeological discoveries made in the area, in fact the camp had been built over an ancient burial site. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an uncommon practice, especially with logging operations, prior to 1960. It was then that the British Columbia government finally initiated the British Columbia Archaeological & Historical Sites Act. This act made it a punishable offence to disturb or desecrate middens, burial sites, habitation sites, pictographs, etc. Desecration is the perfect word for what I have seen happen at the church camp property and I think the government should rescind this government lease and put the land under the protection of the shíshálh (Sechelt) Nation, to the people who respect what they have and what they have been given.