The Carrier Native Indians established the first trails up Mount Pope. From the vantage point at the peak they could see far to the north and had advanced warning of any hostile parties coming down Stuart Lake.
In 1865 Major Franklin L. Pope was surveying a route for the Overland Telegraph Line. He was separated from his party and had to spend the night alone on the mountain, which became known as Mount Pope thereafter.
In the 1920s a telegraph line was put in when once again the peak was in use as a lookout point, this time as a Forest Service fire lookout. The lookout was removed in 1972 and the trail to the peak was designated as recreational trail in 1983. Mount Pope Park was established in January of 2001.
The Carrier name for the mountain is Nak’al. One Carrier legend tells of “little people” that once lived inside the mountain. These people were all killed in a war with the Nak’azdli from the village adjacent to what is now the town of Fort St. James. Nak’azdli means “when arrows were flying.” According to the legend, a yearly gift of salmon must be made to the ghosts of the “little people” to ensure the abundant Stuart River run will continue.
In addition to Mount Pope serving as a prominent landmark and signpost (pictographs have been documented on the sheer rock faces along Stuart Lake) the abundant wildlife around Nak’al also made it an important hunting area to First Nations people. Deer are plentiful in the valuable winter range on the steep south facing hillsides.
Please remember that all natural and cultural resources are protected in the park. Damage to, collection or removal of any natural resource or cultural artifact is prohibited.
Mount Pope Provincial Park is characterized by steep limestone-based rocky terrain covered with Douglas fir and smaller pockets of mixed forests. Over time the porous limestone has eroded, creating rock formations and caves that provide habitat for unusual plant and animal species such as the brown bat.
Mount Pope Provincial Park is home to a variety of wildlife and is particularly significant as winter range for mule deer. Other species found in the area include white-tailed deer, black bear, moose, lynx, and cougar, as well as a wide range of birds including jays, the blue grouse, and Clark’s nutcracker.