Edge Hills was identified for protection through the Cariboo-Chilcotin Land-Use Plan, and was designated a class A provincial park in July 1995.
Mining, ranching, trapping, and guiding have occurred in or near the park for many years. The primary mine in the area was the Grange Mine, a gold mine located just outside Edge Hills Provincial Park at the mouth of Kelly Creek. The mine was in operation until the late 1940's. Today, there are numerous shafts in the area once used in placer and hard rock mining. Chinese miners worked the placer and hard rock claims extensively, and there is evidence of miners’ cabins below Pear Lake.
The park lies within the traditional territory of the Shuswap (Secwepemc) People. The area provided home sites, and was also used for hunting, fishing, trapping, and gathering. Many villages were abandoned after the smallpox epidemic in 1862. Today, First Nations people still use the park for sustenance, spiritual and cultural purposes. These groups include the Whispering Pines, Canoe Creek, High Bar, and Pavilion First Nations.
If you find any archaeological sites, remember that it is illegal to damage them or remove artifacts.
Edge Hills Provincial Park is noted for its grassland and dry forest/grassland transition areas. Grassland plant communities are among the rarest ecosystems in the province, and provide habitat for a large proportion of threatened and endangered species. The dry climate of grasslands is due to the rain shadow effect on the leeward side of the Coast Mountains. Air masses drop most of their moisture before rising over the mountains, resulting in a much drier climate on the interior side of the mountains. Grasslands occur at low elevations where temperatures are higher, and snow fall is minimal, adding to the already dry climate in the rain shadow.
Edge Hills Provincial Park incorporates a landscape that stretches over a wide range in elevation from sagebrush grasslands rising from the riverbanks of the Fraser to Douglas-fir forests at mid elevations, and moister spruce and lodgepole pine forests at upper elevations.
The park is managed jointly with
Marble Range Provincial Park
to protect migration corridors of California bighorn sheep between low elevation winter habitat along the Fraser River, and higher elevation habitat in the Marble Range. Wildlife found in the park includes mule deer, moose, and the occasional black bear. The park protects several rare and endangered species, including the spotted bat, long-billed curlew, California bighorn sheep, and flammulated owl. The park also borders the Fraser River, which supports important salmon stocks.
Every year, California bighorn sheep migrate between alpine areas in Marble Range Provincial Park and steep cliffs of the Fraser River canyon in Edge Hills Provincial Park. The migration is dictated by food availability. Sheep will winter in the warmth of the canyon, where tender green shoots begin to grow early in the season. Here, the sheep also encounter less snow, and have access to steep and rugged terrain for protection from predators. In early summer, the sheep migrate to alpine areas in the Marble Range. Over the past 40 to 50 years, many of these routes have been abandoned, with only a few routes remaining. A three year study was led by the Clinton and District Outdoor Sportsmen Association in conjunction with Ministry of Water, Land, and Air Protection, to determine the location of the migration routes, and to assist in future management.