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The forerunner of the VOC, the Vernon Hiking Club, was founded by Chrissie Stump and Bev Veale in 1975. At the time, other outdoors clubs with different interests also existed in Vernon. The Vernon Outdoors Club (VOC) was created in early 1978 through an amalgamation of the hiking, canoeing, orienteering and cycle clubs of Vernon. The VOC became incorporated as a Society on January 23, 1979 with the following purposes:

  • to promote safe hiking, orienteering, canoeing, cycling and other outdoor recreational activities.
  • to promote interest and enjoyment in these activities.
  • to be active in having outdoor areas and access to these areas preserved for the enjoyment of all.

Membership fees were $2.00. Above is a newspaper photo from April 1978 of members of the Vernon Outdoors Club that take a break during their first hike of the season through Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park.

In the early years of the VOC canoeing was a regular scheduled activity and besides daytrips, multi-day canoe trips were planned yearly. Overnight backpacking trips were also offered yearly. Today, besides the Sunday hikes, Tuesday rambles and Thursday cycling are popular activities offered by the VOC as well as annual hike and cycle camps to different locations.

Since its founding, VOC has been instrumental in the creation and maintenance of many of the hiking trails around Vernon. Several early members were true leaders. Mark Berger was an inspiration and leader of the Club who was happiest when footloose in the Monashees.  He passed away on April 24, 1989 at the age of 45 and is remembered by the Mark Berger Traverse, a three-day route he developed along the spine of the Pinnacles.

Bob Platt was a long-time publicity person for the VOC and for many years wrote an outdoors column in the local Vernon paper about weekly activities of the VOC.  Following is a short excerpt from the Outdoors Columnist from July 27, 1984:

“If more people were in a position to witness a sight such as the Monashees in all their grandeur, as was seen on Sunday by the fortunate hikers, the therapeutic values would be immeasurable.”

Bob was also a great resource in the creation of the Hiking Trails book published by the VOC.

True to its purpose, the VOC has been active since its beginning in promoting or supporting conservation of outdoor areas including:

  • SW section along Swan Lake as wildlife habitat.
  • input into Monashees Provincial Park master plan
  • input into Valhalla Provincial Park master plan
  • lobbied against development in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park
  • Enderby Cliffs Provincial Park.
  • Mount Rose and Swanson.
  • donated to the Trans Canada Trail Foundation.
  • lobbied to support the creation of parkland above the Foothills development
  • donated to the Rail Trail initiative.

From its modest beginnings, a strong and active outdoors club has developed in Vernon with a yearly membership of 200-300 outdoor-loving souls.