Europeans first visited the area of the Stikine Country Protected Areas in 1824 and in the following year, the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Russian American Company claimed areas for trapping.
The search for gold began in 1861, and by 1878 most of the Stikine River drainage had been explored. From 1896 to 1902, Andrew J. Stone conducted expeditions into the Cassiar to collect specimens for the American Museum of Natural History. With his announcements of the discovery of several “new” species of sheep and caribou, the area became a destination for hunters.
Local First Nations worked as hunting guides and camps were set up throughout the region. Scientists began studying the significant wildlife values in the area in the 1950s and with the efforts of Tommy Walker, Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park was designated in 1975.
Pitman River Protected Area was designated by the Provincial Government in 2001 following recommendations on the Cassiar Iskut-Stikine Land and Resource Management Plan.
Pitman River lies within the asserted traditional territories of the Tahltan First Nations, Kaska Dena Council and Carrier Sekani Tribal Council. Although archaeological studies have not been done in the park, it is likely to contain archaeological sites because high wildlife values would have attracted native and non-native usage.
Pitman River Protected Area is within the Cassiar Ranges Ecosection and the Southern Boreal Plateau Ecosection.
Pitman River contributes to a network of parks in the Stikine area which provide habitat to a wide range of animals. Three blue-listed species whose habitat is protected in the protected area are the wolverine, the fisher and the grizzly bear.
The whole protected area is considered high value habitat for caribou, while significant wetland moose habitat is found along the river, which also provides good quality grizzly habitat. Mountain goats and Stone’s sheep are found in the upper elevations. Other species found in the park include wolf, black bear, lynx, coyote, red fox, marten and minx.
The Stikine, Chuckachida and Pitman River Parks represent the only fully protected area in B.C. enclosing contiguous streams, large rivers and lakes believed to support bull trout in the full diversity of its life histories. Other fish species found in the Protected Area waters include Dolly varden and char, while rainbow trout and arctic grayling are likely to be found but have not been confirmed.
Pitman River Protected Area is a key wildlife corridor, providing connectivity to high value habitat in adjacent areas.