First nations were the earliest people to access this area and have trapped in the Wapiti for many years. In the early 1960s, a local helicopter pilot built the original cabin at the lake. The pilot’s cabin eventually succumbed to the ravages of hungry porcupines and time. In the late 1960s, a Catholic Priest prepared a retreat area where spiritual restoration could be obtained. The priest and many others made numerous treks into the solitude of the Wapiti Lake wilderness.
In 1983 the BC Forest Service and a Katimivik youth crew upgraded many kilometres of the trail. In 1995 a new cabin was built overlooking the lake. The area was recommended for park status in the Dawson Creek LRMP process and in June 26, 2000 it was established as a Provincial Park.
First Nations of the Treaty 8 Tribal Association have traditionally used the area.
Significant stands of old growth spruce forests blanket the slopes of the Hart Ranges in this part of the Rocky Mountains. Important habitat for numerous large species such as mountain goat and grizzly bear can be found in the park’s diverse topography.
The park’s tributary streams, rivers and lakes contain numerous fish species. Amongst them, and of particular importance provincially, is the bull trout, a blue listed species. Internationally significant fossils from the Triassic Period have also been uncovered within the park. Fossilized primitive ichthyosaurs found in the area have been found nowhere else on earth. Examples of other ichthyosaurs found in the Wapiti area have also been found in far off locals such as China and Japan.
An abundance of wildlife can be viewed in Wapiti Lake Park. Moose are common ungulates found in the park’s many valley bottoms and marshes. Mountain caribou, although less frequently observed, are also found in the park. In the rocky ledges high above the lake, mountain goat can be observed. Both black bear and grizzly bears wander throughout. Wolves, coyotes, lynx and many small mammals pass through or reside in the park.