Carp Lake Provincial Park
Carp Lake got
its name through historical usage. Carrier peoples of the area went
to the lake to “catch immense numbers of fish of the carp kind,”
according to the journals of the great explorer, Simon Fraser, who
penned his comments in 1806 while he was at nearby Fort McLeod.
It was the fish of Carp Lake that provided sustenance for Fraser
and his followers at the fort when nearby McLeod Lake failed to
keep them supplied; only a few fish could be caught in McLeod Lake
because, as Fraser reported, “the water was too high.”
The Carp Lake region has played a significant role in the history of British Columbia. In 1805 Simon Fraser, while in the employ of the Northwest Company, founded Trout Lake Fort at McLeod Lake, 32 kilometres northeast of Carp Lake. Later renamed Fort McLeod, it was the first permanent white settlement west of the Rocky Mountains in what is now British Columbia. In 1806, Fraser journeyed south and west from Fort McLeod to Stuart Lake, where he built Fort St. James and established a lucrative fur trade with the Carrier peoples. A trail, long used by First Nations and soon to become an important route for the fur traders, connected Stuart Lake with McLeod Lake by way of Carp Lake. Remnants of this historical trail remain along the north and west sides of Carp Lake.
Lake sits at an elevation of 841 metres on the Nechako Plateau, about
100 kilometres northwest of Prince George. Alder and willow fringe
its shoreline, backed by a mixed forest of aspen, spruce and lodgepole
pine that gently rises to heights of land about 300 metres above the
lake level. The whole of the lake lies in a glacial till plain consisting
of thousands of grooves and drumlin-like ridges which account for
the lakes many-armed shape, its myriad islands, and its countless
bays and coves. (A drumlin is an oval or elongated hill of glacial
Flowers, trees and shrubs are part of the parks natural heritage, please don’t damage or remove them
There is abundant
wildlife in the park area. Larger mammals such as black bear and
members of the deer family are often seen. Moose frequently forage
in the marshy areas about the lake, and from time to time may be
seen swimming to or from the islands. Waterfowl are prevalent during
migratory and nesting periods. The eerie cry of the loon often echoes
over the lake, heralding the days end. And as in so many other
places, the ubiquitous whisky jack visits with the camper, ever
on the lookout for a handout, if proffered, or else to indulge in
a little thievery.
Park users should always be aware of bears and other wildlife in our park environment. Never feed or approach bears or other wildlife.