Main Lodge Description
The Grounds & Area
Kurultay Community Yurt


Main Lodge Description

The Wilderness Centre’s most traveled point of communal gathering is the main lodge, where guests come together for all meals; sharing; relaxation with a book or journal in the living room, or with friends in the outdoor wood-fired hot tub; or just to sit and enjoy the view over some good conversation on one of the large decks. There is also a communal fire pit in the small meadow just out front, where many wiener, sausage, and salmon roasts, as well as campfire laughter, stories, and music have all enhanced many CrossRiver experiences. The main lodge contains men's and women's bathrooms and showers; a comfortable log-furnished living room with a fireplace, bookshelves, and a spectacular view; food storage units; and full kitchen with refrigeration, cookware, dishes, and utensils. There are also two large outdoor decks, one with a barbecue, the other with a natural wood-fired hot tub. The main lodge is powered by natural solar and hydro energy, and all food and garbage are kept here to maintain a clean, healthy, and balanced relationship with the surrounding environment and animals (see more about our environmental responsibility policy here). The main lodge is also the start and finish for all our guided hikes, rafting trips, and many nature-based programs. It also provides comfortable group space for small weddings, corporate meetings, conferences, and natural craft and painting retreats (take a virtual tour here).


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The Grounds & Area

The Yearling Creek runs through the land adjacent to the main lodge and through steep cliffs that form the entrance to a box canyon directly behind us to the East. The canyon is surrounded by alpine peaks and ridges, which form a beautiful backdrop to the Wilderness Centre. South of the creek on the Wilderness Centre grounds is the teepee encampment, longhouse, and Konkurra. North of the creek is the main lodge, the Kurultay Community Yurt, heritage cabins, and the CrossRiver House. To the West, in the front, of the Wilderness Centre is the Kootenay River Valley. The peaks across the valley are the dominant view from the main lodge windows, decks, and hot tub, as well as from the lookout trails near the entrance to the box canyon, Kurultay, and Konkurra (see grounds map here). There are three shorter hiking trails that depart right from the Wilderness Centre itself: The Cougar Point Lookout trail; the Yearling Creek and Lookout trail; and the Kootenay River Ridge trail – all of which were constructed by us by cleaning out worn animal trails or old logging roads. There is also one longer trail that departs directly from the Wilderness Centre: the Cross River trail. There are myriad other trails in the area, all within a 30-60 minute drive from the Wilderness Centre. Many of these were either made or cleaned out by us after decades of overgrowth, and so, on many of them, we have never even seen another single human being in almost 20 years – very special indeed. Furthermore, many of these trails work their way up into world-famous landscapes, such as in Banff, Assiniboine, Height-of-the-Rockies, and Peter Lougheed Parks, on trails that many people are not even aware of because they are so far away from the crowded highways. The nearby rivers that are accessible for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, or rafting are: the Kootenay River; the Cross River; the Palliser River; and the White River.


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Kurultay Community Yurt

To the North of the main lodge, across the CrossRiver Driveway, is the Kurultay meadow for community gatherings and retreats (see grounds map here). The yurt is another building at the Wilderness Centre modeled after a traditional cultural space that we have received express permission to use. A “yurt” is the Kazak word for the traditional Mongolian, Uzbek, and Kazak round and cone-peaked huts that have been used for centuries on the steppes of North Eastern Asia. The Mongols call them, in their own language, a Ger (pronounced “g-air”). Kurultay, at the CrossRiver Wilderness Centre, is 30 feet in diameter, with large picture windows, a fireplace, and a dome skylight. We received permission to use the word kurultay for our yurt from the Uzbek people, who were very honored to have a yurt on this land used for community gatherings. As such, they chose the name for us, which, in their traditional language, means "the gathering place" or "the meeting place." It is mainly used for separate, private, or custom group activities, events, and meals, so that the main lodge can stay a neutral place open to all people at all times. It is ideal for school and youth groups; inter-cultural sharing experiences; and communal gatherings, such as weddings, retreats, and conferences, where a more private space is required.


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