E. C. Manning Provincial Park

History

Established in 1941 the park was named in memory of Ernest C. Manning, Chief Forester of British Columbia from 1936 - 1941. Mr. Manning was killed in an airplane accident in 1941. During his time as Chief Forester he was very instrumental in developing the idea of setting land aside for future generations to enjoy.

Prior to the park, as we know it today, being established the Three Brothers Preserve was established in 1931 to save the alpine meadows from overgrazing by sheep. This was a 6,440 hectare area which is part of what we now know as Sub-Alpine Meadow. The preserve was doubled in size in 1936 and the Three Brothers Wildlife Reserve was formed. Since 1941 when the Class “A” Provincial Park was established there have been several revisions to the boundaries. The most recent was in October 1999 increasing the size to 70,844 hectares.

In 1949 the Hope Princeton Hwy was completed that made the park accessible to motor vehicles and in 1957 Manning Park boasted construction of the first nature house in the province.

The park is home to a great deal of history both natural and human. For those interested, a very informative “Natural and Human History Interpretive Theme Document for Manning Provincial Park” was written in 1989 and published by Arenaria Research and Interpretation. The document was not published for resale but might be available at local libraries. A reference copy is available at the Visitor Centre.

Ernest C. Manning 1890-1941:
“One of  British Columbia’s great public servants died Thursday in the Northern Ontario plane crash. There was no man to whom the people of this province owed a greater debt for self-sacrificing service than to Ernest C. Manning. His job was chief forester for this adopted province. It was indeed his mission in life. He was our ablest exponent of outdoors beauty and outdoors wealth...”
The safe establishment and perpetuation of our timber resources was the chief end and ambition of his career. No civil servant in this part of the world ever gave himself more completely to his job, or more intelligently.

Cultural Heritage

E. C. Manning Provincial Park is the traditional territory of the Upper Similkameen band and the Sto:Lo Indian Band and is rich with evidence of their use. There are pictographs of provincial significance and sites of native burning for vegetation management.

Historic trails in the park include the Dewdney Trail, Hope Pass, Whatcom Trail, Engineers Road, Skyline Trail and the provincially significant Blackeye’s Trail. Historic features include the remains of ranches, trapping cabins, mining shafts, Buckhorn mining camp and historic fire lookout buildings at Windy Joe and Monument 83.

Conservation

E. C. Manning Provincial Park, together with the Skagit Valley Provincial Park to the east and the Cascade Recreation Area to the north, for a significant continuous Protected Area unit in the southern interior of British Columbia. Bordered to the south by the North Cascades National Park in Washington, U.S.A., Manning is at the centre of a major tract of protected lands that are of international significance.

In addition to its widely popular recreational values, Manning features particular ecological values, due in part to its location at the transition between the wet coastal ranges and the dry interior plateau.

The geography and ecology of Manning Provincial Park is as varied as it is dramatic. Ranging from the wet coastal mountains, to jagged snow-capped peaks, alpine meadows filled with wildflowers in the early summer, to the chain of small lakes or broad, flowing river beds along the valley floors.

E. C. Manning Provincial Park is characterized by a wide diversity of plants, animals, soils and landforms. Many rare and endangered species depend upon the large areas of protected habitat within the Park. E. C. Manning’s role continues to be that of one of British Columbia’s major recreation and tourism destinations, but equally importantly, an important protected area for the conservation of British Columbia’s unique natural heritage.

Wildlife

E. C. Manning Provincial Park is home to a wide variety of birds and animals. There are 206 separate species of birds and 63 species of mammals within the park. Many of these are quite common species, such as the Columbian ground squirrel and the common pika, but also found in Manning are the less common mountain beaver, wolverine and the Cascade golden-mantled ground squirrel. E. C. Manning Provincial Park and the Cascade Recreation Area are also central to efforts to recover the threatened grizzly bear population of the North Cascades, forming part of the core habitat area for the conservation of this small but significant population.

The spotted owl is at risk in British Columbia, because much of its preferred habitat has been adversely affected by logging or lost due to land development. These rare birds are known to occur within E. C. Manning Park and a management plan to conserve spotted owl in the Manning and Skagit Valley areas is underway.