Frances Lake Wilderness Lodge News
Frances Lake Wilderness Lodge

News from Frances Lake






#23 - Anniversary year 2015:
30 years Frances Lake
Wilderness Lodge

Lodge main building in 1984, after 16 years of use as a private residence


Dear Friends and Guests

30 years Frances Lake Wilderness Lodge – what an anniversary! Enough reason for us to browse in the past. Going through old guest books and watching slides from the early days reveals a fascinating picture of our lodge's history. Many thanks to lodge founder Ed Festel for providing his picture library and particularly for the realisation of his vision of a wilderness lodge at that time. What a great place to be – both for visitors and for us to live!

Lodge peninsula with views across our small settlement Lodge main building in 1985 Living room after the renovation of 1987

Prior to 1985 there was already the lodge's main building, which was previously used as a private residence and got completely rebuilt inside, as well as two small cabins which were transformed into guest cabins. With plenty of enthusiasm and physical manpower from various helpers over a period of 15 years three more cozy guest cabins and various other buildings were constructed: dock and lakefront seating area, sauna, workshop and a large, two-storey owner's residence. It is admirable how much was achieved with simple means and how the entire lodge property was thoroughly embedded into the pristine nature. Pioneering early photovoltaic solar power was used and noisy, stinky generators were consciously avoided. Also for us of the third owner's generation, the principle of ecological business management and environmentally-sensitive tourism is of great concern. We gladly complete many tasks using our own physical energy, use resources economically and sometimes just prefer simple ways over modern life amenities.

Over the years hundreds of logs were hauled here for various construction tasks Constructing the large dock and lakefront seating area (1987) Construction of a lovely guest cabin (1988)

Wilderness Tourism in the 1980s was rather a novelty for the Yukon. Ed Festel and his team made it possible that nature lovers and holiday adventurers could share their simple life in a remote natural paradise and explore the pristine Canadian wilderness under expert guidance without having to waive certain comforts of the cozy lodge. Still today, our guests appreciate to blend into a different world here at Frances Lake and live with the rhythm of nature for a while. The luxury of pure nature, pleasant quietude and seclusion, adventurous excursions, gorgeous scenery, homey rustic lodge stay, culinary well-being and personal attention – this is the 30-year-old magic formula of Frances Lake Wilderness Lodge!

Picnic at the lodge (1990) Innovative lake cruise (1993) Strolling along the idyllic lake shore (1996)

Some readers may remember past times when they explored the vast Yukon wilderness on adventurous trips in their younger years. Ed's impressive images of canoe and hiking trips are evidence of such multi-day trips and voyages into various regions of the Yukon, and sometimes even across the territorial border. For instance, the Horton and Nahanni Rivers were paddled, or photo journeys along the Dempster Hwy and into Alaska were organized. Nowadays, we focus more on the southeast Yukon with rivers such as the Frances, Liard, Nisutlin or Pelly, or go hiking from the Tungsten and Canol Road. But the ultimate hit since 30 years is right in our backyard: a 2½-week tour named Wild Yukon, a combined canoe and hiking trip at Frances Lake (Yusezyu River, Mount Hunt) enriched with a few days at our comfortable lodge. An exciting itinerary through untouched wilderness and far away from any other tourists. There are still two vacancies for this year's trip from July 16 – August 2, 2015.

Trekking in the Mt Hunt area (1990) Camping in pristine wilderness (1988) Canoe trip on the Yusezyu River (1996)

During various winters of the past, howling huskies were often heard at Frances Lake. In some winters around 1990 sled dogs were kept at the lodge and multi-day trips into Frances Lake East Arm undertaken. But the area was also explored with cross-country skis and on snowshoes, the way we usually enjoy winter out here nowadays. What could be nicer than roaming through pristine snowy forests followed by a hot relaxing sauna, sitting in front of a crackling wood fire while sipping at a soup and at night marvel at the extraordinary bright starry sky and, with a bit of luck, observe the northern lights dancing across the firmament.

Dog team in front of the lodge (1997) Multi-day trip with overnight stay in a heated wall tent (1993) Cross-country skiing on Frances Lake (1994)

We are thrilled and deeply impressed by the 30-year success story of Frances Lake Wilderness Lodge and it's fascinating to see what can evolve from a dream, if one tackles a task energetically and fully motivated. We are proud and happy to contribute to the lodge's evolution since 8 years and look confidently into the future. More information about the history of Frances Lake and the lodge is available on our updated history page. And if you'd like to convince yourself (once again) of the qualities Frances Lake has to offer, this summer we still have vacancies from late June to mid-July, and at times in August and September, both at the full-service lodge and in the self-contained rental cabin. We look forward to welcoming you!


Kind regards,

Andrea & Martin Laternser


P.S. And finally, some works from our 30-year art collection (drawings from old guestbooks).


Our guestbook as an art gallery Our guestbook as an art gallery Our guestbook as an art gallery Our guestbook as an art gallery


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