The Middle River flows between Takla Lake and Trembler Lake in central British Columbia, northwest of Prince George. The river is a critical link in the salmon habitat and production of the Stuart/Takla watershed and thus has been central to the culture and activities of the Carrier Sekani First Nation for centuries.
Both the Early and Late Stuart sockeye depend on the quality of the environment in the Middle River for successful spawning and rearing. The Early Stuart sockeye's most important spawning grounds are tributaries of the Middle River, and the entire run migrates through the river. Spawning for the Late Stuart sockeye occurs in gravel fans at outlets of the west bank of Middle River tributaries. The Middle River also provides critical habitat for both Early and Late Stuart sockeye during their rearing year. White sturgeon are also found here.
Numerous First Nations communities surround Takla Lake on both traditional and reserve lands. Below the lake, the Middle River area is important to Carrier people not only for the salmon runs but also for hunting, travel and settlement. Some trails lead off the river to traditional upland hunting, fishing, trapping, and berry-picking areas such as Baptiste Lake where there is a traditional summer camp on the north shore. Long periods of traditional use have resulted in documented high archaeological values all along the Middle River.
Timber values are high throughout the area with lodgepole pine as the leading tree species. Others include balsam, spruce, deciduous species, and Douglas-fir. Mountain pine beetle is endemic throughout the area. Good wildlife habitat abounds in the watershed. Alpine areas provide habitat for caribou, mountain goat, and grizzly bear. Good wetland habitats provide over-wintering sites for trumpeter swans and other waterfowl, and nesting locations and migration stopovers for various bird species. Extensive riparian areas along the Middle River provide habitat for a wide diversity of species. The diversity of habitats has led to a variety of recreation and tourism activities including hunting, fishing, boating, hiking, canoeing, wildlife and landscape viewing, and back-country skiing.
Land use and management in the watershed is identified in the Fort St. James Land and Resource Management Plan which was approved in 1999 and is now being implemented.
Proclaimed B.C. Rivers: