John Caton Interview
EXPERT Q&A: John Caton
The founder of Clayoquot Wilderness Resort on conservation, helicopters, and his new exclusive camp high in the sky
By: WHITNEY JAMES
Canadian-born John Caton is the heartbeat of Clayoquot Wilderness Resort. He tried his hand in the music industry and real estate, but after a major heart attack, John found himself drawn to the wilds of British Columbia. He and his wife, Adele, founded Clayoquot, and have been there ever since.
Q: You're a music executive turned adventure pioneer. How did this happen, John?
A: It was actually a fluke. We had planned on originally building our resort in Ontario in a special spot on Lake Superior. However, a short-term work opportunity arose in British Columbia after my heart attack. And then soon afterwards, to make a long story short, my wife Adele and I spotted the property that is now Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, figured out how to acquire it, and the rest is history.
Q: We are completely smitten with your new Cloud Camp. What inspired you to create it, and what were the challenges?
A: The inspiration came from always wanting to live on the edge and always wanting to do something different. Then we had some long-time guests of ours mention how they wanted to overnight camp on a fly-fishing trip. The very next season we had the Cloud Camp, and the guests were blown away! Getting everything up there was hard, though. We work closely with Atleo River Air Service and they slung up all the equipment and building materials that were needed. Mother Nature is always a factor as well, when dealing with a winter snow pack!
Q: The resort has deep roots in conservation. Can you explain your role with the local salmon?
A: Everyone at the resort has a love for the Pacific wild salmon and takes great pride in helping to keep the local hatcheries going and working alongside them. Each spring, we release tens of thousands of salmon fry into the mouth of the Bedwell River so that the cycle will build for the spawning season. For the years that we have been doing this, we have seen a dramatic increase of the number of wild salmon that do return each fall to spawn. It’s been amazing to watch!
"Each spring, we release tens of thousands of salmon fry into the mouth of the Bedwell River so that the cycle will build for the spawning season."
Q: Describe a favorite memory at Clayoquot.
A: The best story—and one that goes along with the very essence of the resort, pushing yourself out of your comfort zones—was when an 80-year-old woman kayaked down our Class II Bedwell River on her birthday. It was an inspiring moment, and we were blown away by this woman and her fearlessness!
Q: GO founders Chip and Sandy Cunningham know all about running a remote bush camp accessible only by plane: What happens when a supply plane doesn’t show up? What’s on the menu then?
A: We are remote…but not that remote! While there are no roads to Clayoquot, we are fortunate enough to have the town of Tofino, a 30-minute boat ride away. However, our Chef, Ryan Orr, and his team have been put in some tricky spots in the past with being shorted certain things, and it’s their ability to be creative and think on their feet that has gotten us through. Every once in a while, a guest will come back with a collection of salmonberries that they picked in the valley and our pastry chef will whip something up fun for them for dessert. Not exactly dire straits, but you get the idea.
Q: In one word, how would you describe an experience at Clayoquot Wilderness Resort?
Want to know more about the Cloud Camp at Clayoquot? Give us a call at 1.888.870.0903 to chat with one of our specialists.
Outside GO is an adventure travel company with decades of experience. We'd love to help you plan your next trip. Rest assured it will be authentic, stylish, and built around your wildest dreams.
MAKE AN INQUIRY
John Caton Interview
Once you submit your form, we'll get back to you with ideas, options, and logistical insight to begin planning the trip of your dreams. It's as simple as that.