Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park

History

The park was originally proposed for protection through a number of planning processes including the Protected Areas Strategy, and the Cariboo Commission on Resources and the Environment (CORE). The park received Class A designation in 1995, following recommendations by the Cariboo Chilcotin Land Use Plan.

Cultural Heritage

Cultural heritage sites have not yet been identified in the park. However, a Cultural Overview Assessment for the Cariboo Region was completed in 1997. According to this study, both the Red Bluff Band (Carrier) and the Williams Lake Band (Secwepemc) may have used the Cariboo Mountains.

This study suggests that the Carrier and Secwepemc subsistence was based on a combination of hunting, fishing, and gathering of food plants. During the winter months they congregated, while during the warmer months families travelled and dispersed in order to most efficiently gather available resources. This process of dispersing and regrouping throughout the seasons was called the seasonal round.

At this time, there is a lack of direct written or supporting evidence to show what specific areas were used by First Nations bands. However, if you do find any archaeological sites, remember, it is illegal to damage them or remove artifacts.

Conservation

Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park protects extensive undisturbed habitat ranging from alpine tundra to valley bottoms and lakeshore. A number of undeveloped watersheds are located in the park, which protect old red-cedar and hemlock forests at lower elevations and old spruce and subalpine fir forests at higher elevations. The park also protects the complete Niagara Creek watershed, from its headwaters on the icefields of the Cariboo Mountains to the shores of Quesnel Lake. It also protects the majority of the Mitchell River watershed. Significant features are Niagara Falls on the shore of Quesnel Lake, and small tarns in hanging alpine valleys.

Wildlife

The extensive undeveloped landscape of Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park protects critical habitat for a number of wildlife species including rare mountain caribou whose conservation status recently deteriorated to threatened, or red-listed. This ecotype of woodland caribou depend on the arboreal(tree-growing) lichens found in old-growth forests, which they can reach by walking on top of the deep winter snowpack.

Vulnerable (blue-listed) species found in the park include grizzly bear and bull trout. The park incorporates one of the largest populations of grizzlies in BC's interior. Other species found in the park include black bear, mountain goat, moose, wolf, and many small mammals. The lower Mitchell River and its tributaries provide critical spawning, rearing, and foraging habitats for salmonids, including sockeye, coho, chinook, kokanee, bull trout, an rainbow trout. The lower Mitchell River also provides a spring staging area for numerous species of waterfowl.