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Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park
About This Park
Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park is one of Canada’s largest and most naturally significant parks. True wilderness atmosphere, outstanding scenery and varied terrain make this park an excellent place for quality hiking, photography, and nature study. Lands within the park have an excellent capability for supporting large populations of wildlife. Gladys Lake Ecological Reserve was established at the same time as Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park, and provides a protected area in which a variety of wildlife and plant species flourish, This uniquely preserved area allows for scientific study and research to take place in an environment with very low human impact.
Established Date: December 3, 1975
Park Size: 698,659 hectares
Know Before You Go
- Please Note: The Spatsizi River, upstream of Hyland Post, is a designated non-motorized area (ie. no jet boating or power boating) from spring breakup until September 1. Motorized boat operators should be aware of and courteous to non-motorized traffic (ie. kayak, canoe, raft etc.). Please give appropriate right-of-way, carry all mandatory safe boating equipment and boat safely!
- Any visitors wishing to fish/angle in BC Parks on the Highway 37 corridor should strongly consider obtaining a BC Freshwater Fishing Licence while they have access to internet and a printer as there are very limited opportunities to obtain a fishing licence on the Highway 37 corridor.
- Hunters should thoroughly read and familiarize themselves with the regulations in Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park (see: BC Hunting & Trapping Regulations Synopsis) and pay particular attention to the “No shooting area within 1km of Cold Fish Lake camp” and “No hunting area within Gladys Lake Ecological Reserve”
- Please note: Due to the sensitive landscapes and ecology of the area, for the protection and conservation of flora and fauna, motorized vehicles are not permitted within this park.
- There are no supplies of any kind in Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park or the Stikine River Park, with the exception of Cold Fish Lake camp and private guide outfitter camps throughout the parks.
- Rain, snow and cold weather are common throughout the summer months. Appropriate clothing and equipmanet is a must. Visitors should carry appropriate maps, a compass and GPS and understand how to use these tools to navigate through mountainous terrain.
- Leave a trip plan with a responsible and reliable outside contact, carry a satellite communication device (eg. SPOT, InReach, satellite phone) along with a survival kit in case of emergency, and ensure you know how to use communication devices to reach help if needed.
Stay safe in bear country
- Store all food and attractants in a personal bear-proof container or in a bear-cache if provided. (Caches include the cookhouse and meat locker)
- Food/attractants must be stored properly anytime you are away from your campsite or cabin and during the night
- Cook meals and store food/attractants at least 50m away from your sleeping area
- Carry and know how to properly use bear deterrents, such as bear spray and bear bangers
- Never approach or feed bears – stay at least 200m away at all times
- Report ALL bear sightings and encounters to BC Parks Stikine Area (250-771-4591) or via the RAPP Line (1-877-952-7277)
- Please reference Section 27 (1) and (2) as well as Schedule A of the Park, Conservancy and Recreation Area Regulations.
- Private aircraft are permitted to land within the park, with the exception of:
- Happy Lake
- Metsantan Lake
- the unnamed lake west of Tuaton Mountain (Map Sheet 104H/8 UTM 481-489)
- the unnamed lake west of Buckinghorse Lake (Map Sheet 104H/17 UTM 241-498)
- Spatsizi River upstream of Hyland Post
- A Letter of Authorization (LOA) is required for private aircraft to land on the water bodies listed above.To obtain an LOA, please contact the BC Parks Stikine Supervisor at 250 771-4591 ext.1
Any commercial air charter must hold a valid Park Use Permit to land (on water or grounds) within BC Parks. See the list below for permitted air charter companies in Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park:
- Alpine Lakes Air Ltd.: Tyhee Lake near Telkwa, B.C. and Tatogga Lake (near Iskut) – 250 846-9488
- BC Yukon Air: Dease Lake, B.C. – 250-771-3232
AirstripThe airstrip at Cold Fish Lake camp is unmaintained and closed to use by wheeled aircraft. Please avoid all use of this airstrip except in emergency situations.
- BC Parks requests that extreme care is taken to preserve the extraordinary landscape and ecosystem within Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park. Take offs/landings are not permitted on sensitive areas (i.e. lava flows, mineral deposits etc.) throughout the Park. Park visitors should report any obvious signs of aircraft disregard or damage (i.e. tire tracks, skid tracks, rotor wash damage etc.) to sensitive areas. Observations and/or photos can be submitted to the BC Parks Stikine Area office on Telegraph Creek Road, or by telephone at 250 771-4591. In an effort to minimize disturbance to wildlife, please maintain a distance of more than 1,500m line of sight/500m vertical from all wildlife, and use terrain masking techniques where the weather conditions make this impossible.
The Drinking Water Protection Act and Regulations prohibits the provision of drinking water to the public at Cold Fish Lake camp. Park visitors will be required to bring or obtain their own drinking water at this site until further notice. Shower facilities will still be provided.
Maps and Brochures
- Park Map [PDF] (Updated June 2008)
Nature and Culture
- History: The park was established on December 3, 1975. Named for the region of the province that it occupies, Spatsizi means “red goat” in the Tahltan First Nation language. It was a name given to the mountain goats of the area because of their habit of rolling in the iron oxide-coloured dust, which changed their normally white coats to red.
Historically, Spatsizi Plateau and area was the hunting ground of the Tahltan First Nation. It was seldom visited by outsiders prior to 1926, when the Hyland brothers established a post on the Spatsizi River to trade with native fur trappers. In 1948, Tommy Walker set up permanent hunting and fishing camps at Hyland Post and Cold Fish Lake, hiring local Indigenous people from Caribou Hide as guides. It was largely due to the efforts of Walker that the park and Gladys Lake Ecological Reserve were created in 1975.
- Cultural Heritage:Since time immemorial the area has been heavily used by the local Tahltan indigenous people and their ancestors. The area is still culturally significant for the Tahltan Nation today. Archaeological finds (including obsidian, tools, and other artifacts) are to be left in place and reported to the local BC Parks or Tahltan Central Government office.
- Conservation: This park spreads across two broad physiographic regions, the Spatsizi Plateau and the Skeena Mountains. The plateau, a rolling upland, ranges in elevation from 1,600 to 2,000 metres, and extends in a broad curve broken by wide “u” shaped valleys. The Eaglenest Range of the Skeena Mountains dominates the northwest. Its highest peak, Mt. Will (2,500 metres) towers above Gladys Lake.
A portion of the central part of the park just south of Cold Fish Lake has been designated as the Gladys Lake Ecological Reserve. The reserve was created for the study of stone sheep and mountain goats in an undisturbed habitat. Persons wishing to view these animals may hike the reserve.
- Wildlife: Lands within the park have an excellent capability for supporting large populations of wildlife. The light snow depths in the rain shadow of the Eaglenest Range create one of the most important habitats for woodland caribou in British Columbia. The Spatsizi River Valley, with its many flooded areas and oxbow ponds, provides aquatic vegetation for summer forage as well as willow flats for winter browse for moose. Grizzly and black bears, wolverines, beaver, hoary marmot, and Arctic ground squirrels are abundant and more than 140 species of birds including gyrfalcons, Smith’s longspurs and American Golden Plovers have been recorded within the park boundaries.
Activities Available at this Park
There are opportunities for canoeing or kayaking in this park.
There are two popular river trips. The first follows the Upper Stikine River from Tuaton or Laslui Lake (both accessible by float plane) to the pullout at the Highway #37 bridge. The second route is the Spatsizi River from its confluence with Didene and Kluayetz Creeks (accessed by portage from the BC Rail grade) to the Stikine River and then down the Stikine to the pullout at the Highway #37 bridge.
There are several hiking trails leading into the park from the BC Railgrade along the Klappan River, and in the vicinity of Cold Fish Lake Camp. Note that as of 2021 the BC Rail grade is inaccessible due to washout at the 30 kilometre point.
For your own safety and preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Please be advised that these are wilderness trails that are not frequently travelled or maintained by BC Parks staff. Trail conditions can be extremely challenging depending on weather and other factors. The Stikine Area BC Parks office may have updated trail condition information available seasonally.
Hiking in the backcountry areas of this park requires hikers to be well equipped, experienced in backcountry travel and in good physical condition.
Hunting is permitted within Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park. Please note that the hunting of moose, caribou, mountain sheep, mountain goat (with the exception of the Dawson area, see BC Hunting & Trapping Regulations Synopsis) in the park is by Limited Entry Hunting Authorization only.
No Hunting is permitted within Gladys Lake Ecological Reserve
No shooting area within 1 km of Cold Fish Lake camp.
A secure meat cache with electric fencing is available at Cold Fish Lake Camp to hang legally harvested game meat/antlers/skins/other animal parts. Please do not store meat/animal parts anywhere else in camp and use the meat cache in order to avoid attracting large carnivores and creating wildlife conflicts within camp.
Links to the BC Hunting & Trapping Regulations Synopsis and Limited Entry Hunting Regulations Synopsis are available on the BC Parks Fishing and Hunting page.
Pets on Leash
Pets/domestic animals in the front country must always be on a leash and are not allowed in beach areas or park buildings. Pet owners are responsible for controlling pet behaviour and must dispose of excrement in a responsible manner. In backcountry areas larger than 2,000ha, pets are permitted off leash and under control (i.e., it is an offence for a domestic animal to chase or molest wildlife). Please refer to the Park, Conservancy and Recreation Area Regulations (Section 19) for more information.
Facilities Available at this Park
Cabins / Huts
There are six cabins located at Cold Fish Lake camp within Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park. All cabins are on a first-come, first-served basis. Fees for utilizing the cabins are: $20/night/person, and $35/family/night (family rate applies to parents accompanied by their children under the age of 16). Users are also responsible to clean cabins upon departure in this user-maintained camp.
There is a fee of $10/night/person for those who camp at Cold Fish Lake in their own tent, but would like to use the facilities (cookhouse and shower).
There is a cookhouse available for public use at Cold Fish Lake Camp. All food at camp must be stored in the cookhouse in rodent-proof boxes. The cookhouse has running water and a propane stove available for public use. Users are responsible to clean the cookhouse after they use it. Absolutely no food is permitted in cabins.
A secure meat cache with electric fencing is available to hang legally harvested game meat/antlers/skins/other animal parts. Please do not store meat/animal parts anywhere else in camp! Use the meat cache in order to avoid attracting large carnivores and creating wildlife conflicts within camp. The meat cache is located near the historic Tommy Walker cabin at the southernmost end of camp; the easiest way to access it is along the lakeshore trail that runs from the float plane dock to the cabin.
Due to public safety concerns, there is a no shooting area within 1km of the Cold Fish Lake Camp.
Please note: visitors must pack out what they pack in. There are no garbage receptacles located at Cold Fish Lake Camp.
Please check for campfire bans and the fire danger rating for the area you are visiting before igniting a fire in the backcountry. Limited burning hours or campfire bans may be implemented within the park. To maintain a healthy ecosystem community, please don’t gather firewood from the park (a ticketable offence under Section 9 of the Park Act). Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and contributes to healthy and fertile soils. For more information on campfires in the backcountry.
Firewood is typically provided at Cold Fish Lake Camp for a fee of $20 per wheelbarrow load. Always carry a cooking stove, use fire rings, only build a fire when necessary and where it will not cause environmental damage. While campfires are allowed and campfire rings may be provided, we encourage visitors to conserve wood and protect the environment by keeping their campfire small.
Pit or Flush Toilets
Wilderness, backcountry or walk-in camping is allowed, but no facilities are provided. There are several rustic campsites scattered throughout the park. These sites may or may not contain: a fire ring, a pit toilet, tenting areas, food cache.
Stikine/Spatsizi Rivers Canoe Route: Tuaton Lake, Fountain Rapids, Chapea Rapids, Beggerlay Canyon, Spatsizi River Access Trail (two sites available: one located at trailhead, other located at the end of the trail by river).
Eaglenest Creek Route: Ram Creek, MacDonald Camp.