The area was historically used for hunting and trapping and supplied fur to the Hudson’s Bay Company outposts in Fort St. John and Hudson’s Hope. Knox McCusker, a dominion land surveyor, measured the snowfields of the Ulysses group in 1932. The Bedeaux expedition camped at Redfern Lake in 1934 on their search for an east-west passage through the Rocky Mountains. Portions of the Bedeaux Expedition trail still exist in the park.
Efforts to protect this area have been underway since 1969 when a recreation reserve was placed around Redfern and Fairy Lakes. Redfern Lake, often referred to as the “Lake Louise of the north,” was designated as an Area of Interest to the Protected Areas Strategy in July 1993. The Fort St. John Land and Resource Management Plan (1997) later confirmed the importance of protected status for this area.
Redfern-Keily Park overlaps with the traditional use areas of the Kaska Dena, Slavey, Beaver and Sekani cultures of the Lower Post, Fort Nelson, Prophet River and Halfway River First Nations.
Representing the Muskwa Foothills and Eastern Muskwa Ranges ecosections, Redfern-Keily Park is a diverse 80,712 hectare area of serrated alpine peaks, glaciers, waterfalls, large valley lakes, rounded ridges and alpine meadows. The area contains important habitat for a number of large mammal species including mountain goat, stone sheep, elk, caribou, moose and grizzly bear. Important fish habitat is also protected in the park’s many rivers and lakes which support populations of bull trout, rainbow trout and grayling.
The habitat protected in Redfern-Keily Provincial Park supports numerous large and small species of wildlife. Wolves, grizzly bears, lynx and other predators freely range throughout the park’s many wide valley meadows and forested areas. Caribou, stone sheep, moose and other herbivores can also be found in abundance. Several of the species found in this park area also identified as either endangered, threatened or vulnerable. These species include:
- Small-flowered willowherb (provincial blue list)
- Hornemanns willowherb (provincial blue list)
- Smooth draba (provincial blue list)
- Jordal’s locoweed (provincial blue list)
- Porslide’s draba (provincial blue list)
- Marsh felwort (provincial blue list)
- Grizzly bear (provincial blue list)
- Mountain goat
- Free roaming herd of Plains bison (escaped from an imported herd)
- Stone sheep habitat
- Elk habitat
- Caribou habitat
- Moose habitat
- Fur bearers
- White-tailed deer
- Mule deer
- Black bear