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The mission of Camp Koolaree is
to provide a camp experience in a safe, sustainable and natural setting
and to foster a deeper individual connection
to Community, Creation and the Creator among campers and staff. 


How do you say that?
Is it Koo-LAY-ree, Koo-LAH-ree,
Koo-la-REE or KOOL-a-ree?

The name KOOLAREE is an acronym that came from
KOOtenay LAke REligious Education
so there is some debate over the correct pronunciation.  
Founders in old home movie  footage can be heard calling it “Koo-LAH-ree”, but when set to music in favourite campfire songs, the name is sung more like  “KOO- la-REE”. Over the years, the spoken pronunciation has changed to match the songs, with the emphasis on KOOL.
Let’s face it, camp is cool! 

ckopenhouseCamp Koolaree celebrated 85 years of serving the Kootenays!


Peter Herd gives Don Ellis a helping hand to leave the wharf at Koolaree with a load of passengers in the Red Starcraft.

Report from Ray:
In spite of a gloomy weather forecast and Don and I going through a torrential rainstorm near Beasley on the way, the skies cleared and we had a lovely afternoon at the Camp Koolaree open house on July 9, 2016.  Thanks to Juliana Marko for organizing the event.  Probably because of the forecast there wasn’t as large of a turnout as last year, but those who came seemed to enjoy the day.  Thanks to June, the cook, and her able assistant, Claire, for providing a wonderful lunch and supper.  Oh, and lets not forget the tasty anniversary cake and slices of sweet watermelon.
Our day ended with a gathering at the campfire where we sang a number of songs.  (Could they hear Tongo across the lake?)
Natalie Plett, Shaaron Lees, Robin Murray and Bill Lees.

Natalie Plett, Shaaron Lees, Robin Murray and Bill Lees.

That looks like one of Jacob’s Plett’s inukshuks on the rocky shoreline near the Koolaree wharf.

That looks like one of Jacob’s Plett’s inukshuks on the rocky shoreline near the Koolaree wharf.

At the evening campfire, John Marko shows us how Dem Bones is really supposed to be sung.

At the evening campfire, John Marko shows us how Dem Bones is really supposed to be sung.

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Osprey Grant

osprey.Camp Koolaree is pleased to announce that we have received funding from the
Osprey Community Foundation
for a needed safety equipment upgrade to our boats.

 After 85 years of running our boats as pleasure craft, we are now subject to commercial vessel rules, which involves small, but expensive changes to the level of safety equipment required on board, amounting to nearly $600. (example: our first aid kits now must be purchased from a marine supply company, instead of using the kind we used to get at a local pharmacy)   

The Osprey Community Foundation is a public, charitable foundation created by and for the people of Nelson, BC and the surrounding area. Their purpose is help groups and individuals make an ongoing difference in their community, and we are honoured to have been selected as one of this year’s grant recipients.


Online registrations now open 

register now

Click button to go to our web secure registration page

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Why choose Koolaree?

– Lake front rustic Kootenay summer camp
– true wilderness environment
– We are accredited by the BC Camping Association
– Our cooks are trained at Selkirk College in the cooking program

What do the kids do?
– Swimming
– Canoeing
– Crafts
– Hikes
– Hanging out… with new friends

Camp Koolaree Campership Fund

Donate to the
 to support campers who otherwise could not afford to go to camp 
by subsidizing their camp fee.
Your tax deductible donation can be made online through the PayPal link or
by cheque payable to “Camp Koolaree”
and delivered to Camp Koolaree, 
1300 Pine Ave, Trail BC V1R 4E6, 
or your local United Church.

Tax receipts will be provided for all donations over $25.00.

85 Years of Camping

85Camp Koolaree shows off its stuff

Nelson – 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.

Photo credit: Linn Murray

Photo credit: Linn Murray

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.

We would love your help…

workWe are planning a big work party for Saturday June 11th at Camp Koolaree.  The plan is to bring out as much of the bucked up wood as possible in wheel barrows and drop it off near the camp fire area for splitting and piling.  We are working on getting a log splitter.  We are also planning on having more burn piles if burning is still allowed at that time.

20160527_144955_resizedSO HERE IS WHAT WE NEED:
You and your spouse or whoever you can get to come to help out for a day at Camp Koolaree!
We need a dozen wheel barrows.  Please advise if you have one and can bring it along.
We need many hands to make this job easier and fun!
PLEASE  let me know if you can or cannot come…..If I have not heard from you I will start phoning everyone…  Your co-operation will save me many hours of phoning so please let me know as soon as possible…..