Members of Trinity United Church celebrate the grand opening of Hurlburt Park, formerly Camp Hurlburt which the congregation used to run before it was sold to the Regional District of North Okanagan and then transferred to the City of Vernon. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Hurlburt tradition honoured at new Okanagan Lake park

Former kids camp sold to city, developed into Okanagan Lake park

A camp that created smiles and memories for thousands of children may be gone, but the land will continue to see that legacy live on.

Hurlburt Park was officially opened on Okanagan Lake on Friday, Aug. 2, since remaining inactive following the last Camp Hurlburt summer camps in 2012.

Mr. and Mrs. Hurlburt purchased the 2.5 acre lakeside lot in 1931, before the Camp Hurlburt Association was incorporated in 1935.

“Thousands of Vernon children, including my own, attended the camp,” said Vernon Coun. Kari Gares, who led the the ribbon cutting at the park.

Trinity United Church owned the land and operated the camp, but made the tough decision to sell the property to the Regional District of North Okanagan (which was then transferred to Vernon) in 2012.

READ MORE: Okanagan Lake property purchased by regional district for park

“There was a plan originally to redevelop the camp, but it was too high a mark and we couldn’t reach it,” said Jeff Seaton, who was minister at the time of the sale.

The congregation wanted to honour the legacy of Camp Hurlburt and therefore came to the decision to sell the land so it could continue to be enjoyed by the public.

“All those generations of people who camped here can come back and enjoy it,” said Seaton.

Gares adds: “The camp creed was based on respect, honouring each other’s diversity and encouraging and awareness through interaction and reflection of our natural surroundings, and, well, you can’t get any more natural than this. It’s beautiful. This tradition was influential in the church’s decision to sell the land for public park.”

Patricia Hesketh’s late husband Bill was very involved in Camp Hurlburt as a director.

“We led a lot of camps here,” said Patricia, who made sure to be on hand for the celebration. “He worked for the John Howard Society and when the first house burnt down the church invited all the ex cons to live here (at Camp Hurlburt). And they built the chapel.”

The decision to keep the land public is one Patricia is pleased with, and she is sure Bill would be too.

“I’m thrilled, it just couldn’t be a better outcome for everybody. It’s a win win.

“The old buildings were falling down anyway.”

The land now boasts picnic tables, a dock and 1,500 linear feet of lakefront. It is also the site of sensitive Kokanee spawning habitat.

“It belongs to the whole community, today and into the future,” said Gares.

Trinity’s current minister Robin Jacobson is also pleased with the new park, and to see the tradition of inclusivity of the camp continue at the site.

READ MORE: New Vernon park opens on former camp site


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

UPDATE: YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Couple shaken up after homophobic encounter at Kelowna mall

‘We’re not in the States; we’re not in some little hick town; we’re in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. And it still happens’

Rollover on Highway 97 in West Kelowna

Traffic on Highway 97 is backed up in the southbound lanes

Dog locks out Kelowna couple on 4th floor patio

Kelowna firefighters were called in to rescue the two people

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Summerland Blossom Youth Ambassador Program to hold coronation

Event will be held by video as a result of COVID-19 precautions

Vernon shutterbugs capture rainbow

A rain event July 9 made way for a glorious sight

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Summerland to allow in-person attendance at July 13 council meetings

Two meetings will be held at Summerland Arena Banquet Room to accommodate public

Fundraiser kicks off for Lake Country families displaced by house fire

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise $5K for those who lost everything in early morning blaze

Rescued hawk returned to Lumby skies

A rehabilitated Swainson’s hawk was returned to its Rawlings Lake habitat

Most Read