Blachford Lake Lodge, a popular hospitality outlet for tourists, has suddenly closed down. The lodge’s website, Facebook page, and Instagram profile were all down when Yellowknifer checked on Wednesday.
The lodge, located north of the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, is accessible only by flight. It is being listed for sale on Coldwell Banker’s website for $3.9 million. The listing says that the lodge has five bedrooms in the main lodge, five individual log cabins, and staff quarters to accommodate up to 35 guests.
Mike Freeland, the owner, acquired the property in 1981. It had only a single cabin at the time. The lodge is known for hosting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Princess Catherine, in 2011 during their trip to the NWT.
Freeland said in an interview in 2020 that they pulled in somewhere between 500 and 600 guests that year, but that the Covid-19 pandemic led to an overall loss of about 75 per cent of business compared to the year prior.
“This is a rough guess, but we would have lost at least a couple hundred thousand dollars,” he said in 2020.
By contrast, Ragnar Wesstrom, owner of Trout Rock Lodge, said that they are very fortunate and are fully booked until 2026.
For Amanda Peterson, owner of Peterson’s Point Lake Lodge, she said that the business is doing OK.
“I think that the tourism industry was really hoping for an expeditious recovery post pandemic,” she said, explaining that she thought that once the pandemic was over, a large influx of people would book their services, craving the holiday travel they were previously forbidden from having.
While some young people were eager and did travel, she said that inflation and supply chain issues with airlines were likely factors in people not travelling as much as she expected.
She said that they still have opening for their upcoming season starting in July and ending in September.
She also strongly advocated for the GNWT to continue to support the tourism industry after the upcoming election.
“Continued funding to support the industry is extremely important,” she said.
They had a good relationship with Blachford Lake Lodge and mentioned that they would both refer their own clients to the other if their guests wanted an extension and couldn’t be accommodated.
Peterson sent her heartfelt wishes to all the Blachford Lake Lodge staff.
“They’ve brought so much to the the Northwest Territories,” she said. “They have a fabulous place there and it’s going to be missed.”
The Blachford Lake Lodge hosted guests for nearly the entire year, holding conferences and other special events in addition to their normal bookings from tourists.
Yellowknifer attempted to contact Freeland for comment but did not receive a response before deadline.