Big Creek Provincial Park

History

Big Creek Park was designated in 1995 under the Cariboo-Chilcotin Land Use Plan. Cattle grazing is still permitted under the terms of the land use plan.

Ranching has occurred in forested grasslands and meadows since the late 1800’s. Specifically, the south Chilcotin and Cariboo area has become a foremost region for beef cattle production in BC. There are no permanent ranches located within the park area, although satellite camps and facilities are used during the summer and fall. Five grazing leases have been granted for range operations throughout the entire park.

Cultural Heritage

Aboriginal peoples of the Chilcotin and Shuswap Nations still use the Big Creek area for subsistence hunting and food gathering. There is evidence of historic First Nations use within the park; however, more research is needed to identify cultural heritage sites. It is illegal to disturb any such sites, or to remove artefacts.

Today, hikers and horseback riders use trails that follow traditional First Nations routes.

Conservation

This wilderness park protects wildlife habitat and fills ecosystem gaps in the protected areas system, most notably the large wetland complexes and associated moose habitat.

Wildlife habitat in the park is varied, ranging from meadows, wetlands, and lush valleys to alpine summits, small glaciers, and snow-capped mountains. With such diversity of habitats comes a diversity of wildlife, including blue-listed California bighorn sheep. The park features a number of unique ecosystems and regionally distinct landscape features: dry alpine tundra, fossil beds at Elbow Mountain, glacier-fed creeks and the milky-blue Lorna Lake.

Wildlife

Large areas of low-lying, poorly drained meadows and marshes provide important moose habitat. Lowland, plateau, and sub-alpine environments within the park protect moose, California bighorn, grizzly bear, black bear, cougar, wolf, mountain goat, mule deer, and a wide variety of small furbearers. Grizzly bears utilize both low elevation meadows and wetlands, and higher elevation sub-alpine and alpine environments, and are particularly sensitive to human encroachment. The park protects significant areas of California bighorn sheep range and migration routes, which are important since the species’ population is critically low. The area also protects mule deer summer range for animals migrating from as far as the Fraser River area. The riparian complexes also support songbirds, waterfowl, amphibians, reptiles, and fish.