A view of the cabins on Stuart Wood Island, on Moat Lake. Photo via moatlakeretreat.com

Cabin has saved others before recent rescue of Island hiker

Strathcona Park A-frame structure has provided refuge for about 40 people, says owner

The Moat Lake cabin where a missing hiker took refuge recently has saved someone’s life on more than one occasion.

Owner Jamie Wood says over the years the A-frame cabin, which sits on land his family has owned for decades, has been a safe haven for about 40 people who were lost or stuck in bad weather. Courtenay hiker Murray Naswell was simply the latest.

“This guy isn’t the first guy that cabin saved,” he told Black Press.

Wood has found notes long after someone had been through, telling him the cabin saved them while they were stuck. Some even leave a name and contact number to make amends.

“Most I never called,” he added.

A few have been less grateful. In one case, they burned every piece of wood he had stocked. While Wood has a website about the cabin, most of the expected visitors are friends and family. He has some foreign visitors come by, but he says he doesn’t really rent the retreat, though people “chip in” to help cover basic amenities such as propane.

In the latest case, a search team found Naswell on Monday, July 8, about five days after he was last seen during a summit of Mount Albert Edward in Strathcona Provincial Park. That day, the effort had expanded to 120 search-and-rescue members from around Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, along with helicopters and canine teams. Naswell said he arrived there Friday and was there through to Monday, when searchers found him after he’d lit a fire and was cooking some spaghetti.

RELATED STORY: Courtenay hiker survives five-day ordeal in Strathcona Park

That he was even at Moat Lake was a bit of a fluke, as he had originally been aiming for Circlet Lake. He’d had trouble coming down and finding his way after fog rolled in quickly on July 3. Naswell said he is grateful to the cabin owners.

“If it wasn’t for them having that cabin there, I wouldn’t be here to tell the story,” he said.

Wood, who lives the Campbell River area, is still a little mystified, and not necessarily happy about what happened or the attention he’s getting. On the day he talked to newspaper he had yet to hear from Naswell directly, but had heard the hiker had left a note saying what food he had eaten while there and that he was thankful for having found it. Naswell had confirmed this with the newspaper.

“I left a detailed note of what I took,” he said.

Wood said he feels for Naswell’s family and what they must have been going through while the hiker was missing. Naswell, himself, admitted to making a mistake in leaving later than usual for the summit on July 3, as well as under-dressing, but the area had been in a prolonged hot, dry spell and he did not expect the dramatic weather change.

The owner, who’s been involved with searches in the area before, wishes he could have gone to the site himself to check it out.

“Too bad I wasn’t up there on the weekend, or my kid, we could have saved the search-and-rescue and the taxpayers probably about three- or four-hundred grand.”

There is one simple message Wood hopes anyone going into the woods will take away from this incident.

“Do not hike on your own,” he said.

Wood’s grandparents first built on the site in 1954, with Wood’s uncle Norm adding the A-frame in 1963. While the original log cabin fell victim to heavy snow in 1974, the A-frame remains, along with a smaller cabin that was added.

While the land is still privately owned, it forms part of Strathcona Provincial Park, after it was added through an agreement with his family. Wood says there is a long history to the lake and the area after his grandfather first opened up the Forbidden Plateau.

“Basically, the park surrounds us now,” he said.

Just Posted

Japanese students visit LSS for cultural exchange

Ladysmith families hosted 35 students from Furukawa Gakuen High School

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

PHOTOS: Old Time Christmas 2019

Friday, December 6 was Ladysmith’s Old Time Christmas. Here are some of the highlights from the night

Student artwork on display in ‘Well Lit’ installation

Thoughtful Place Design, 49th Parallel, and Festival of Lights came together to showcase student art

Ladysmith set to star in new Syfy series: Resident Alien

Ladysmith will play the role of Patience, Colorado in the series

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Firefighters called to burning motorhome on Nanaimo’s waterfront

Nanaimo Fire Rescue extinguishes blaze Monday afternoon on Esplanade and Irwin Street

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Most Read