It’s been one of the most known stops along the Hanson Lake Road for over four decades. The owners of Caribou Creek Lodge are now planning to sell the business after running it continuously since 1981.
In a statement shared online, the Whitley family, the owners of the establishment, said that Dwight Whitley, long-time proprietor for the lodge, will retire and that the lodge will be renovated and put up for sale later this year.
“It is with heavy and optimistic hearts that after almost 41 years in business, it is time for Dwight to hang up the coveralls (not in this lifetime) and retire,” reads the Whitley family’s statement.
“We ask for the public’s patience as we start to empty and renovate the lodge to prepare for the sale. We will do our best to stay open for gas and confectionary as the renovations allow.”
While the lodge includes several services like cabin rentals and a motel, the lodge is likely best-known by frequent travellers as the biggest roadside stop along Saskatchewan Highway 106 (the Hanson Lake Road), located about 250 kilometres away from Creighton and about 70 kilometres from Smeaton, Sask. The store, which sits between the Upper and Lower Fishing Lakes, is located within Saskatchewan’s Narrow Hills Provincial Park. The lodge is located not far from the junction between Highway 106 and Highway 120, which heads to the resort town of Candle Lake. After a fire burned down the store at Bloomfields Resort in late 2019, the store at Caribou Creek was often the only stop made by passengers along the highway.
The Whitleys bought the lodge in 1981 with help from outside investors, then bought the lodge outright in 1988. Since then, the family has owned and operated the lodge, even raising their family based mostly out of the lodge area. In retirement, Dwight will be moving to a new house in Smeaton - though in the family’s statement, the Whitleys take care to not call it a new home “because Caribou will always be his home.”
The fate of the lodge, store, motel, cabins, fuel and propane sale and restaurant will now be largely up to whoever buys the property whenever it hits the market.
“Our hope for the future is that whoever may purchase Caribou can give it the love and attention it requires and they can make it a successful business again,” reads the Whitley’s statement.
“We want to thank each and every person who has stepped foot through those doors and hope that you will continue to support this small business after we are gone.”
The family also thanked several key figures in the lodge’s operation and development, including long-time employee Gaye Kovar and helpers Jim Craik and Gary and Darlene Newton.
“So many things have changed since the beginning, with so many memories that our family will cherish forever,” reads the statement.