Fire Restrictions in Effect for this Park
Activites and Facilities Available in this Park - Click icon to view
Activities Available at this Park
Facilities Available at this Park

Lakelse Lake Wetlands Provincial Park

  • Motor boats are to avoid the entrances of Ena, Andalas and Clearwater Creeks, at the south end of Lakelse Lake. Please see the attached brochure for more details and explanation. [PDF 462KB]
  • Personal watercrafts (PWC) and motorized vessels are to avoid accessing Clearwater and Andalas Creeks to prevent disturbing and displacing waterfowl and wildlife in the Park. Signs are posted near the entrances of these two creeks.

About This Park

Lakelse Lake Wetlands Provincial Park Lakelse Lake Wetlands Park covers 1214 ha at the south end of Lakelse Lake, the largest warm water lake in north western British Columbia. The park contains internationally significant salmon spawning and rearing habitat and regionally important migratory and over-wintering waterfowl and moose winter range. Trumpeter Swans over-winter in the wetlands and Grizzly Bears frequent the area in spring and fall.

Park Size: 1214 ha

Special Notes:
  • Personal watercrafts (PWC) and motorized vessels are to avoid accessing Clearwater and Andalas Creeks to prevent disturbing and displacing waterfowl and wildlife in the Park. Signs are posted near the entrances of these two creeks.
  • The bog system is very susceptible to disturbance. Organic soils and dwarf shrubs can be severely damaged by vehicles and trampling. Re-growth after damage is slow.
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Location and Maps

Please note: Listed maps are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation. Lakelse Lake Wetlands Provincial Park is located at the south end of Lakelse Lake approximately 18 km south of Terrace and 40 km north of Kitimat on Highway 37. Access is by boat from Lakelse Lake or hiking via the old logging roads. Use NTS Map Sheet #103 I/7 (Lakelse Lake).

Maps and Brochures

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Nature and Culture

  • History: Lakelse Lake Wetlands Provincial Park was designated as a Park on May 20, 2004, following recommendations from the Kalum Land and Resource Management Plan.
  • Conservation: Lakelse Lake Wetlands Park protects a biologically exceptional and Provincially significant warm-water wetland complex. Warm water springs in the Lakelse Lake Wetlands drain into Lakelse Lake, the largest warm water lake in northwestern BC. Clearwater and Andalas Creeks have open water throughout the winter. The streams are fed by warm water springs along an escarpment above the creeks.

    The bog ecosystem in the Lakelse Lake Wetlands is regionally significant. It contains scattered and stunted Lodgepole Pine, Western Redcedar, and Western Hemlock. In addition to water loving shrubs and herbs, the bogs contain specialized plants such as sundews, tall white bog orchids and bog club-moss. Accumulations of moss and organic material are often greater than 100-cm and water tables are within 20-cm of the surface.

    The south end of Lakelse Lake contains the most extensive cover of emergent and submerged aquatic plants remaining in Lakelse Lake. Dominant plants include Swamp horsetail in water to 1-m and reeds in water to 4-m in depth. The band of vegetation extends from Schulbuckhand Creek, on the east side of the Park, to the outlet of the Lakelse River in the west. The aquatic vegetation has established on shallows built up by sediments from inflowing streams (Schulbuckhand, Clearwater, Andalas, and Ena Creeks). The aquatic vegetation is stabilized by the constant replenishment of sediments and nutrients that are carried in the streams.

    The park also contains regionally significant valley bottom old growth stands. Valley bottom old growth in the Kitimat Valley is relatively rare and a special feature. Several small stands are located in the northwest corner, between Andalas and Clearwater Creek and on the southeast boundary of the park. Mature and old-growth forests commonly found on higher ground in the Lakelse Lake – Lakelse River area are very productive and contain Western hemlock, Sitka Spruce (largest trees in stand), and Western redcedar. Shrub cover is dense and is dominated by Devil’s Club, Salmonberry, and Oval-leaf huckleberry. Herbs are well developed, but the moss layer is thin.

  • Wildlife: Lakelse Lake Wetlands Park contains internationally significant salmon spawning and rearing habitat and critical habitat for over-wintering steelhead. The large reed beds around the southern shoreline of Lakelse Lake and the streams that run through the alluvial fans and wetlands provide prime fish habitat. Steelhead over-winter in the reed beds. The warm water of Clearwater Creek support a late fall Coho run. Lakelse Lake and its tributaries are important to sockeye salmon. Sockeye salmon rear for a year within the lake prior to migrating to the sea the following April.  Typically, 500,000 plus sockeye fry rear in the lake with 5-10,000 sockeye returning to the lake every fall. Although, in recent years as few as 1,000 adult spawners have returned. Consequently, Lakelse sockeye salmon are subject to a recovery strategy. The quality of water that drains through the wetlands is critical to the Lakelse River fishery. The water drains into the lake through the wetlands and out the Lakelse River, which drains from the southwest corner of the lake, approximately 0.5 km from the northern boundary of the park.

    The wetlands also contain regionally significant waterfowl habitat that is of great importance to migratory and over-wintering waterfowl. Trumpeter Swan (a provincially blue-listed/threatened species) over-winter and nest in the wetlands. There are reports of more than 100 swans wintering in the wetlands. Swans stay in the area from early winter to spring and breeding occurs in the wetlands. Geese and ducks feed and rest in the wetlands and in the reed beds at the south end of the lake.

    Grizzly and Black Bears use the corridor from Clearwater Lakes along Clearwater Creek to the wetlands. Grizzlies use the east side of the park in the spring (to feed on shrubs) and fall (to feed on salmon). One of the regions highest seasonal (fall) concentrations of Grizzlies is found along Clearwater Creek. Grizzly Bear density varies with the size of the salmon run. Historically there was a large seasonal population of Grizzly Bears in the wetland. Grizzlies were known to stay in the area until December, feeding on the late Coho runs in Coldwater Creek. Occasionally, after the late feeding, Grizzlies denned in the wetlands because snow accumulations prevented them from getting to their usual denning areas. The Cecil Creek drainage, west of the park, is a crossing zone for Grizzlies from four different populations. The Grizzly Bears breed in this area and cubs are often reared in the wetland.

    The wetlands are also an important seasonal habitat for Black Bear, Wolf, Beaver and other small furbearers. Some of the Black Bears in the area are subspecies Ursus americanus kermodei, (white phase). Black Bear use of the area is very high. The bears forage on Pacific Crab-apple and salmon.

Opportunity for Public Input

Public Comment and Input Being Sought – Consideration of a Vessel Operations Restriction Regulations Application

The Vessel Operation Restrictions Regulations (VORR), established under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (CSA 2001) allow any level of government (federal, provincial, municipal and territorial government authorities) to ask the federal government to restrict the use of all boats, either pleasure craft or commercial vessels on all bodies of water in Canada. Restrictions range from a complete prohibition to location, date and time specific restrictions. More information on this process can be found on Transport Canada’s website and clicking on the ‘Local Authorities’ Guide, Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations’.

Your input in developing and consider an appropriate regime for managing use on the waters within Lakelse Lake Wetlands Park is sought. Please click here to access an online form to share your experiences, thoughts and ideas regarding the consideration and development of an Application for a Vessel Operation Restriction Regulation.
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Management Planning

Management Planning Information
  • Online Management planning information for this park is not available at this time.
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Activities Available at this Park

Canoeing

Canoeing

Canoeists and Kayakers may enjoy exploring the wetlands. There is a small area for parking vehicles and launching canoes or kayaks near the northeast corner of the park.
Directions: Turn off Hwy. #37 about 1.3 km south of Mount Layton Hot Springs. Take the single lane dirt road on the west side of Hwy. #37, beside Schulbuckhand (Scully) Creek. Close the metal gate behind you (near the start of the side road) after you have passed through. Continue down the single lane dirt road for about 1.4 km and turn left into the grassy parking lot and canoe launch area beside Lakelse Lake. Fires and overnight camping are not allowed in this day-use area.
Fishing

Fishing

It is possible to catch trout, char and Coho salmon in Andalas and Clearwater Creeks. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
Hiking

Hiking

Access into the wetlands can be made via the old logging roads leading into the park from the east side of Highway 37, between Schulbuckhand Creek and Onion Lake. These roads are not maintained and can be narrow and overgrown.
Hunting

Hunting

This park is open to hunting.  Please refer to the British Columbia Hunting Regulations for more information.
Winter Recreation

Winter Recreation

Cross-country Skiing:
There are cross-country skiing opportunities in the park. Cross-country skiing is possible on old logging roads on the east side of the park. Developed facilities are located a few kilometres south of the park. 
Snowshoeing:
There are snowshoeing opportunities in the park. Snowshoeing is possible on old logging roads on the east side of the park.
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Facilities Available at this Park

Campfires

Campfires

Campfires are permitted. Firewood is not provided. If you must have a fire, please burn only dead and down wood, and be sure to extinguish the fire fully. Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and it adds organic matter to the soil so please use it conservatively, if at all. We encourage visitors to conserve wood and protect the environment by minimizing the use of campfires and using camp stoves instead. Limited burning hours or campfire bans may be implemented.
Walk-In/Wilderness Camping

Walk-In/Wilderness Camping

Wilderness, backcountry or walk-in camping is allowed but not encouraged, and no facilities are provided.