Fantasy in the wilderness
Lake Oswego newcomer builds the lodge of his dreams in Canada
John Baker had many good reasons for why he wanted to move from Atlanta, Ga., to Lake Oswego. One is that he surely will meet friendlier people when he goes jogging.
I lived on a golf course, Baker said on a recent visit to his new hometown. When I would go jogging, people would go like this ...
At this point Baker imitated people following him with narrowed suspicious eyes. This Baker did not like, since he hardly looks like a cat burglar casing the neighborhood.
Maybe that is how people act in the South, but not in the Northwest, not in Lake Oswego, where Baker will surely encounter only friendly faces from the joggers, dog walkers and bike riders he meets on his jogs.
Why Lake Oswego? Baker makes it sound like its just short of paradise. He made his first splash here by attending a meeting of the Lake Oswego Rotary Club. Afterward he was gushing with praise.
Going to Rotary I could really see the community spirit and helpfulness, Baker said. People were talking about activities and projects. Its refreshing to see opportunities to get involved. I grew up in a small town in the Midwest, and Lake Oswego pulls some of the same strings. Ive lived in a lot of places, mostly in big cities. San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego. But I always wanted to live in the Northwest. Lake Oswego feels right.
It was Patricia Pearson, Bakers friend since their childhood together in Indiana, who pushed Baker to come to this city.
I owe it to Patty, Baker said. She said, You need to look at Lake Oswego.
I thought it would work for him, said Pearson, who became a Lake Oswego lover after moving here two years ago. She is now the owner of the WWW Group, a public relations and marketing firm, and she is also an enthusiastic Rotarian. Pearson has especially come to love the lobster feed and charity auction.
While Baker immediately fell in love with the lifestyle, his biggest reason for moving to Lake Oswego is that it is the best place to launch the biggest project of his whole life of being a mover, shaker, visionary and builder. He has owned companies running the gamut from high-tech firms to cookies, but he has never had anything like the Silvertip Club, a luxurious wilderness retreat way, way out in the wilds of the Cariboo Mountains in British Columbia.
It will soon open as what Baker says will be the first private heli-skiing and wilderness adventure club in the world. It is 540 acres of wild, raw beauty, and Baker wants to share it with like-minded people who want to have an authentic wilderness experience on their own terms.
The club will consist of a small, private ownership group and offer a private lodge for families, friends and business associates. The Silvertip Clubs lodge cannot be reached by road, only by helicopter, airplane or watercraft.
Surprisingly, Bakers original vision of the place was very, very small. He just wanted a small cabin, a rugged, fun getaway from the bustling business world of which he had grown rather weary. Yet somehow Bakers natural instincts as an entrepreneur took over, and his dream club kept getting bigger and bigger until the Silvertip Club will resemble a small city rather than a small cabin. He wants Silvertip to be a grand culmination of his entire life.
Its just absolutely amazing, Baker said. Ive put together a lot of businesses over a wide spectrum and this combines all of the things Ive done, like architecture and real estate, building hotels, construction, hospitality.
This club is a manifestation of all of those energies. Its going to be the only thing of its kind in the world. The phrase that kept popping up to me was, Its such a magical place.
This is one fantasy that Baker is making come true. By the spring of 2014, after two years of hard work, Baker expects the Silvertip Club to open.
It will offer personalized outdoor programs with activities like hiking, fishing, snowshoeing and heli-skiing. Owners will have exclusive access to the 14-acre property and its amenities, including private transportation vehicles, personal chefs and fully furnished accommodations. The experience might be described as adventurous luxury.
For finding people who can both love and afford this experience, Baker figures Lake Oswego is just the right place.
Going on the biggest business adventure of his career has been a surprise for Baker. He tried the retirement life with a lovely place in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with all the toys.
I was having more fun fun than I had ever had, Baker said. But I felt my brain was atrophying. So I jumped back in the game.
The Silvertip Club is not business as such. Ive had enough of that. Im doing this out of genuine passion.
For more about John Baker and the Silvertip Club, go to the website silvertipclub.com. Permanent membership fees range between $375,000 to $500,000.
Those paying the highest fee will get the first choice on Heli-Skiing Week, with the successive choices based on $25,000 increments.Add a comment