Carp Lake Provincial Park

History

Carp Lake got its name through historical usage. Carrier Indians of the area went to the lake to “catch immense numbers of fish of the carp kind,” according to the journals of the great explorer, Simon Fraser, who penned his comments in 1806 while he was at nearby Fort McLeod. It was the fish of Carp Lake that provided sustenance for Fraser and his followers at the fort when nearby McLeod Lake failed to keep them supplied; only a few fish could be caught in McLeod Lake because, as Fraser reported, “the water was too high.”

The Carp Lake region has played a significant role in the history of British Columbia. In 1805 Simon Fraser, while in the employ of the Northwest Company, founded Trout Lake Fort at McLeod Lake, 32 kilometres northeast of Carp Lake. Later renamed Fort McLeod, it was the first permanent white settlement west of the Rocky Mountains in what is now British Columbia. In 1806, Fraser journeyed south and west from Fort McLeod to Stuart Lake, where he built Fort St. James and established a lucrative fur trade with the Carrier Indians. A trail, long used by Indians and soon to become an important route for the fur traders, connected Stuart Lake with McLeod Lake by way of Carp Lake. Remnants of this historical trail remain along the north and west sides of Carp Lake.

Cultural Heritage

Conservation

Carp Lake sits at an elevation of 841 metres on the Nechako Plateau, about 100 kilometres northwest of Prince George. Alder and willow fringe its shoreline, backed by a mixed forest of aspen, spruce and lodgepole pine that gently rises to heights of land about 300 metres above the lake level. The whole of the lake lies in a glacial till plain consisting of thousands of grooves and drumlin-like ridges which account for the lake’s many-armed shape, its myriad islands, and its countless bays and coves. (A drumlin is an oval or elongated hill of glacial drift).

Flowers, trees and shrubs are part of the park’s natural heritage, please don’t damage or remove them

Wildlife

There is abundant wildlife in the park area. Larger mammals such as black bear and members of the deer family are often seen. Moose frequently forage in the marshy areas about the lake, and from time to time may be seen swimming to or from the islands. Waterfowl are prevalent during migratory and nesting periods. The eerie cry of the loon often echoes over the lake, heralding the day’s end. And as in so many other places, the ubiquitous whisky jack visits with the camper, ever on the lookout for a handout, if proffered, or else to indulge in a little thievery.

Park users should always be aware of bears and other wildlife in our park environment. Never feed or approach bears or other wildlife.