Seven Sisters Provincial Park
The fate of
the Seven Sisters area has been discussed in various forums for
more than two decades. Formal land use planning began in 1989. In
1991, the Kispiox Resource Management Plan recommended the Seven
Sisters as a study area. In 1994, a Kispiox planning group considered
land uses in the Seven Sisters. These recommendations were presented
by a special planning group and the Seven Sisters Provincial Park
was announced by the Provincial Government in 2000.
The area around the Seven Sisters mountain range has stimulated interest in mineral exploration since the late 1920s. Discoveries included veins with gold, silver, lead and zinc, all in the headwaters of Oliver Creek. Several log cabins were built to facilitate exploration at the time. After a hiatus, exploration continued between 1968 and 1983, including aeromagnetic, gravity, magnetic and geochemical surveys and trenching to expose bedrock in areas of interest. No mineral occurrences were considered to be economically viable for mining. The only remnant of the area’s mining exploration history are the roads (Oliver Creek Trail and Coyote Creek Trail) and a few dilapidated buildings outside the Protected Area at the abandoned Magnetron Site on the Coyote Creek Trail.
Seven Sisters Provincial Park lies within the traditional territory claimed by the Gitxsan and Tsimshian First Nations. Traditional activities noted by the Gitxsan include goat hunting (for meat and fur), trapping, cedar bark stripping, berry picking and harvesting of a variety of plants for medicinal and cultural purposes. In the region, prescribed fire was used traditionally to improve berry patch production. The Tsimshian people use the southern portion of the Protected Area for hunting, trapping and fishing.
The Seven Sisters is aptly named for a row of rugged peaks, four of which reach above 2,500 m in elevation. The Protected Area contains a complete elevational sequence of forested ecosystems from valley bottom to alpine, including ICH, CWH, MH and AT Biogeoclimatic Zones. The forest ecosystems possess a unique blend of coastal, interior and northern features and are habitat for many red- and blue-listed species of wildlife.
goat herds live within the protected area. They use the Seven Sisters
peaks and ridges during the summer, and winter in the forests near
Oliver Creek and Hells Bells Creek. Although not currently threatened,
the mountain goats are sensitive to changes in habitat, noise levels
and hunting pressures, so they will be monitored closely.
Grizzly (blue-listed) and black bears, raptors and other birds use the entire Protected Area. In the low elevation forested area, marten and fisher (blue-listed) use the older forests, while moose, mule deer, coyotes and wolves tend to use the area around natural openings, burned areas and old cutblocks. The low elevation forest between Hells Bells Creek and Oliver Creek provides mule deer winter range. High elevation wetlands in the Upper Price Creek drainage are likely important for migratory waterfowl in spring and fall.
Tailed frogs (blue-listed) have been found across the Skeena River from Oliver Creek, and may live in small tributaries within the Protected Area. High breeding populations of rough-skinned newts live in small ponds near Coyote Creek at the northern extent of their range. Salmon pass through the lower reaches of all creeks; trout live within most lakes and creeks.