For many years prior to the arrival of European explorers, the Stuart-Trembleur-Takla lakes area was home to the Dakelh-ne people. In 1806, Simon Fraser brought the fur trade to this area with the establishment of the Stuart Lake Post for the North West Company.
The company merged with the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1821, and in 1822 they named the settlement Fort St. James. Fort St. James, once the economic capital of the colony of New Caledonia, saw its importance as a fur trading centre diminish in 1869 when gold was discovered 100 miles north in the Omineca Valley.
With the miners came a new economic prosperity for the area that has largely been replaced by the forest industry today. Tourism is also growing, and hunting and fishing lodges can be found on all three lakes.
Although settled by Europeans almost 200 years ago, the Dakelh-ne people had inhabited the area for years prior. To the fur traders, these people became known as the Carrier people, referring to the custom of widows who carried the ashes of cremated husbands with them until a traditional potlatch could be held.
The Carrier people traditionally led a semi-nomadic life, congregating along lakes and rivers in the warmer months to pick berries, hunt and tan hides, and catch and process the salmon that was an important staple of their diet. The winter was spent ice fishing and trapping in smaller family units.
Several Carrier groups reside in the Stuart-Trembleur-Takla lakes area including the Nak’azdli, Yekoochet’en, Takla, and Tl’azt’en. Traditional trails, culturally altered trees, and pictographs can be found throughout the area.
The three small sites of Stuart Lake Marine Park and Stuart Lake Park protect natural areas and contribute to the role of the Stuart-Trembleur-Takla lakes system as a backcountry boating destination area.
Diversity of the terrain and types of vegetation support abundant wildlife populations. Moose and black bear are plentiful. Other more secretive species include mule and white-tail deer, wolf, and grizzly bear. Furbearers in the area include lynx, fox, beaver, marten, fisher, otter, and wolverine.