The Region - Big River Country -Nechako River adventures

History

HistoryFor thousands of years the Carrier People were the only inhabitants of the Upper Nechako region, the “Big River Country”. Some of their historic trading routes like the Grease Trail along the Blackwater River or the Cheslatta Trail connecting Cheslatta Village with Fort St.James have recently been restored as outstanding hiking trails.

Fur traders were the first Europeans to arrive in the early 1800’s, followed at the end of the century by linesmen and operators of the Yukon Telegraph Line and shortly after them the first settlers and homesteaders.

The need for accurately surveyed land parcels brought BC’s most famous surveyor Frank Swannell to the Nechako region. Many geographic features have been named after him and his crew men and bear witness to his extensive travels in this region.

Many families have tried, more or less successfully, to homestead along the rivers, creeks, and lakes of the Upper Nechako. The best known of them, Rich Hobson, author of “Grass beyond the Mountains”, owned the vast, thriving River Ranch on the Nechako River in the 1940s.

The landscape of this area was permanently altered in the early 1950s, when Alcan Aluminum constructed the Kenney Dam. Several large lakes were joined to form the huge Nechako Reservoir by flooding the connecting river valleys and the flows of the Nechako River were drastically reduced.

In more recent years a rapidly expanding forest industry changed the land even more, often in direct competition with the developing wilderness tourism industry for forest resource values.

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