A Tribute to Gordon Casey
What makes the Crown of the Continent special?
Geo-tour-ism (n): Tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place - its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.
I was fortunate to grow up and work in Waterton Park. My parents owned and operated the Kilmorey Lodge in the 70's and 80's. My sisters and I, "the Casey Girls", all worked at the Lodge. We grew up and left Waterton, pursing careers. Mom and Dad bought the Crandell Mountain Lodge across the street from the Kilmorey. It was smaller and less work, as their help was gone.
My Dad was the first person I remember who spoke of the Crown of the Continent. I didn’t hear the words geo-tourism or sustainable geographic character, but I did see my Dad live this. He wanted everyone who came to visit the Park to experience this special place, this International Peace Park, the Crown of the Continent. One can look back in the issues of Going to the Sun Magazine of Waterton/Glacier National Parks and find Gordon Casey’s name with Denis & Shirley Twohig, Rolf Larson, Wade Laird and Terry Kennedy. For them, it was about the experience, education and adventure in this unique distinctive place. Dad combined these goals with his gift of hospitality. His warmth and generosity were second to none. Yes, he needed to make a living, but not at the expense of the people and the Park. He shared his gift and taught me the same lesson.
The mountains called in 1997. My job was literally killing me, so I quit and bought the boats at Cameron Lake in Waterton Park. I operated the boat rental till 2005. Living and working in the Crown of the Continent does wonderful things to you. The smell of balsam fir and spruce trees helps lower your blood pressure. The sound of snow melting, streams running and aspens trembling refreshes you. Watching the birds gather and fly helps your spirit lift and soar. The ebb and flow of the seasons makes one grateful for the gifts of creation. Your body, mind and soul find balance. Healing and wellness takes place.
Today, I carry on my Dad's work. You will find me living and sharing wellness every day at Corner Mountain Inn & Wellness Centre. I teach people how to get well and sustain themselves and at the same time sustain my business, the environment and myself. We buy fair trade coffee and chocolate. We drink dandelions and nettles with local grown greens of spinach, kale and pesticide free fruit. “Powered by green smoothies”, my friends say. We offer essential oil spa treatments, a wet cedar sauna and wellness coaching to help you reclaim your health. Yes, we use real essential oils like balsam fir and spruce.
It's the everyday simple things that keep us well and healthy. Clean water, pesticide free, nutrient rich food and fresh clean air are the products necessary to sustain our lives. These simple things are not so simple to find anymore. The mountains call you, drawing you back to nature, the real world. This is real life. This is the Crown of the Continent. This is what the people who live in the Crown continue to work for. My Dad lives on in my heart. I could live and work anywhere, but my heart is in the Crown of the Continent.
Corner Mountain Inn & Wellness Centre