The general area has traditionally been used by the Slavey, Cree and Beaver cultures of the Fort Nelson, Fort Liard and Dene Tha First Nations. The area was identified as a Protected Area in the Fort Nelson Land and Resource Management Plan in 1997.
This is an area of historic and current use by Slavey, Cree and Beaver cultures of the Fort Nelson, Fort Liard and Dene Tha First Nations.
The Hay River Protected Area is a representative aquatic ecosystem within boreal black spruce muskeg and wetlands. It is located within the Fort Nelson Lowlands ecosection, and is comprised of very flat low-lying muskeg terrain with extensive wetlands, slow moving streams and numerous small lakes within the boreal white and black spruce biogeoclimatic zone.
Wildlife species common to wetlands and river corridors are found in this protected area. These species include moose, deer, caribou, wolf, black bear, coyote and small furbearers such as beaver and river otter. The Hay River contains northern pike, walleye, inconnu, grayling and whitefish.