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Camp Koolaree shows off its stuff at Touchstones

By Contributor
March 15th, 2016

Camp Koolaree is kicking off its 85th Anniversary Celebrations with a lobby exhibit at Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History on Vernon Street in Nelson.

The exhibit is on display until April 2, with a reception on Thursday, March 24 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Admission to the museum’s lobby and gift store are free, so anyone can stop by to learn more about this historic camp or take a trip down memory lane to their own camping days.
Among the items on display are the camp’s 1920’s portable Bell Pump Organ, a headdress gifted to the camp by the Ktunaxa Nation in the 1930’s, a World War 2 memorial plaque bearing the names of campers lost in service, and several of the camp’s treasured wooden carvings, some of which have been in continuous use since the 1930’s.

There are photos and other memorabilia as well.
Camp Koolaree was founded in 1931 on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake by the Kootenay Lake Religious Education Society and has been operated as a United Church Camp since the 1970’s.

Many other groups have also rented the camp for retreats over the years. Located directly across the lake from 6-mile just outside of Nelson, the camp is a rustic off-grid and off-road facility. Campers once were able to arrive on passenger trains, but now the camp is accessed by boat. With 137 acres, the camp offers a wilderness experience.
The camp will be continuing their traditions again for the 2016 summer season, with camps operated by the Camp Koolaree Society.

There will be an 85th Anniversary Open House on Saturday, July 9, followed by five weeks of week-long residential summer camps for different age groups. For more information on the camps or to donate to the campership fund, visit

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