Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning (HMCOL) is a registered Canadian charity BN 818663940 RR0001 and BC society S0049715.
HMCOL provides services, programs, and events on the traditional and unceded territories of the Stó:lō, Nlaka’pamux and Syilx/Okanagan Nations in the northern Cascade mountain range southwestern British Columbia to people of all ages and abilities. Increasing knowledge about and access to the outdoors creates a stronger connection to nature empowering people to make better choices that lead society toward environmental sustainability, improved physical and mental health, and enhanced sense of community.
Originally registered as a society on September 19, 2005 as a Fraser-Cascade School District program called “Hope Mountain School,” on February 25, 2008 the organization split into two distinct groups: Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning and Fraser-Cascade Mountain School (FCMS). FCMS continues as an outdoor experience program run by School District 78. Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning became a registered charity on June 23, 2009 to reflect its wider audience and range of programs. HMCOL still provides education programs in schools, and also leads outdoor programs for the general public, carries out numerous local conservation projects, as well as building, restoring and maintaining heritage and community hiking trails in the region.
Title photo by Kelley Cook.
The Story of SEEC and the Skagit
The Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission (SEEC) was established in 1984 by treaty between Canada and the US. It is based on an Agreement between the City of Seattle and the Province of British Columbia to resolve the controversy over the High Ross Dam expansion proposal.
In the treaty, Seattle City Light agreed not to raise Ross Dam for 80 years in exchange for power purchased at rates equivalent to what would have resulted from raising the dam. The High Ross Treaty also created SEEC to manage an endowment fund that has among its purposes “to conserve and protect wilderness and wildlife habitat . . . to enhance recreational opportunities . . . to acquire mineral or timber rights . . . to conduct studies . . .” and more in the Upper Skagit Watershed until 2065.
SEEC is composed of eight volunteer Commissioners, four appointed by the B.C. Premier and four by the Seattle Mayor. The Commission invests proceeds from the Skagit Environmental Endowment Fund in partnerships and projects that help achieve its mandate to protect the upper Skagit Watershed. Four initiatives provide structure to that mandate and objectives that will be achieved over time. SEEC’s initiatives for education, recreation, land management, and conservation each involves complex social relationships and scientific information. To assist with attaining the goals of the Commission there are 4 partners at the table: BC Parks, National Park Service (NPS), North Cascades Institute (NCI) and Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning (HMCOL).
Central to SEEC’s mission is the long-term protection of a healthy upper Skagit ecosystem. This requires strong and consistent management by resource agencies, oversight of human activity that can impact the environment, and in some cases expanded public ownership protections. At the same time, these resources should be available for the public to enjoy through recreational access and amenity. Public education is the glue that binds the program together, fostering human use that is compatible with a healthy ecosystem, while recruiting and inspiring the next generation of citizens who will appreciate and advocate for resource protection in the future.
Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning is a Canadian partner at SEEC’s table providing educational experiences to the public in the Skagit Watershed of BC.