Tyhee Lake Provincial Park

History

Tyhee Lake Provincial Park was established on April 1, 1956. The Bulkley Valley is steeped in history. The beautiful valley and river were named after Colonel Charles S. Bulkley, U.S. Army, who was commissioned by the Collins Overland Telegraph Company to construct a line through BC to Alaska, which would then connect with the Russian system in Siberia by crossing the Bering Strait. This ambitious project was in a race with another telegraph line, the Trans-Atlantic Cable.

In 1866 the Trans-Atlantic Cable was successfully completed and consequently the Collins Telegraph Line was abandoned only two years after it began. Little remains of the Telegraph Line, but one of the legacies of it was the original name for the lake, Maclure, named after one of the original surveyors of the Collins Telegraph Line. The name was changed to the present name, Tyhee, which means fish in the native Gitxsan language.

Cultural Heritage

Another interesting historical feature of Tyhee Lake is the small town of Aldermere which was part of the “Old Caribou Trail” during the 1800s. The town was located on the height of land at the southwest end of Tyhee Lake, walking distance from the present town of Telkwa. The people used Tyhee Lake for gathering ice used in cold cellars in the summer, as well as a source of water obtained by filling barrels on wagons and bringing them up to the town.

The town was quite prosperous when the Collins Telegraph Line pushed through here. Aldermere consisted of a hotel, livery stables, and a post office, which neither Telkwa nor Smithers had. With the abandonment of the Telegraph Line in 1866, Aldermere was well on the way to dying out by 1914. In 1915 the hotel closed and Smithers and Telkwa became the more popular towns. Little is left of Aldermere except for some foundations and timbers, which are now on private land.

Wildlife

A stroll to the marsh viewing platform will provide an opportunity to see a variety of birds and mammals including common loons, rednecked grebes, ruffed grouse, downy woodpecker, red-winged blackbird, squirrels, moose in the winter, black bear (occasionally in summer), and beaver.