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The undeveloped areas of the great interior of British Columbia British Columbia. Bureau of Provincial Information 1904

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BULLETIN    No.    9.
Printed by Richakd Wolfkndhk, I.S.O., V.D., Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty.
EARLY in 1902 a small bulletin, numbered Three, was issued, giving information
mainly about a portion of the North-west Coast called, for want of a better
name, the Skeena River District. So great was the demand for it, that in a very short
time it became necessary to issue, in an enlarged form, another—Bulletin No. 9—of
which a very much larger edition was printed. This included descriptions of the
country ultimately suitable for settlement lying between the 52nd and 57th degrees of
north latitude. It was entitled "The Undeveloped Areas of the Great Interior of
British Columbia." For several months, so great has been the enquiry respecting the
northern country through which the Grand Trunk Pacific is projected to run, there has
only been a few copies of that issue available ; and the present revised edition is for the
purpose of supplying the demand for such information as the outlook there suggests.
In dealing with the country in question, the Department is under the necessity of
using over again much of the matter contained in the first edition, and of utilising reports
made some years ago by members of the Dominion Geological Survey and Provincial
Government surveyors. This is unavoidable, as for the greater part they constitute the
only information available. Apart from the Hudson's Bay Company's officials and the
engineers who made the original surveys of the country for the Canadian Pacific Railway, the officials referred to are the only white men who have investigated its resources
or explored it to any extent. While, therefore, it is old information, it is nevertheless
as reliable and useful now as ever it was.
Owing to the attention which has been attracted to Bulkley Valley and the Ootsa
Lake district, in particular, much special information, including a number of photographs
respecting these two localities, has been secured from Messrs. J. W. Mcintosh and Wm.
R. Clarke, of Vancouver, who have recently gone through these portions of the country ;
Mr. H. J. Cambie, C.E., chief engineer of the Pacific Division ofthe C. P. R. ; Rev.
Father Moriee, O.M.I., and others. Accompanying the bulletin is a map, upon which
an effort has been made to indicate some corrections to existing Provincial maps as the
result of later and more accurate knowledge having been obtained ; and as the country
becomes thoroughly explored the face of the map will be greatly changed as a consequence. In a word, all accessible data have been brought together, whether new or old,
for the purpose in hand.
Some criticism has been tendered with reference to the first edition of No. 9 on the
score that Mr. Poudrier's report on Bulkley and Nechaco valleys was made, not from
personal observation, but second-hand ; and is, therefore, not reliable and, consequently,
apt to mislead. It is probably true that Mr. Poudrier relied upon others for some of
the information that was in his own power to obtain while on the expedition, and it is
also probably true that the 'reports of the expedition were coloured; but, in the
main, the sources of information were authentic. Enquiry in many different directions
confirms their general accuracy. They are again included, subject to corrections in
detail. .HA<<i£Cft7£ citifyq
NEAR HAZELTON. A Word of Warning.
The object of the bulletin is not, primarily, at the present time to encourage settlement, but to afford information about a country regarding which enquiry is rapidly-
increasing. Until a railway is built, and roads and trails to connect with it are constructed, settlement is out of the question. To what extent the Government will
supply facilities of communication in advance of railways cannot be determined at the
present time. It must be understood that the routes in are long and through absolutely
new country, and that roads practicable for travel are very expensive to build. Therefore, to persons who have Bulkley, Kispyox, Ootsa Lake, Nechaco, Canoe River or
Peace River in view for settlement at an early date a word of warning is necessary, and
for that purpose it might not be amiss to reproduce a portion of the introductory
remarks to Bulletin No. 3, which still apply, though a railway is now more definitely
in sight.
" It is not desirable, either in the interests of the Province or of the (then proposed
Bulkley) Colony itself, that the development of the enterprise should be hampered by
men and women who are unused by experience to the trials of pioneer life, unfitted by
training to take up the work of actual farm labour, and unable by physical endurance
to withstand the hard labour involved. It must be understood that settlers who go in
there will, for some time, be wholly isolated, and that for three years, at least, their
property will be unproductive. The prospects for success in five years' time, or as soon
as railway communication is afforded, are very good, and all accounts are favourable to
the belief that Bulkley Valley is one of the most fertile in British Columbia, and
particularly well adapted for stock-raising ; but the way to success is long and hard,
and without pluck, untiring industry, intelligent effort, self-reliance, physical endurance,
and some capital to back up these qualities, disappointment and failure are sure to
result. Those who are not prepared to accept the situation as stated and stay with it,
had better remain where they are. Discontented, discouraged, heart-sick settlers will
be the greatest possible drawback to the country, and every person, especially with a
family, should weigh well the step before taking it. Those who are prepared and
qualified to enter the valley with the same spirit that actuated the early settlers of
Eastern Canada will, in all probability, never regret it.
"Similar remarks apply to the whole of the northern interior, as without communication and without market, except that afforded by local mining development—still in
its infancy—it requires some capital and a good deal more pluck to await patiently the
day when railways will afford both."
Extent and Character of Country.
With the exception of the Peace River district, which is essentially agricultural
and very fertile, the valleys described are largely pastoral. There are perhaps one
million acres of grazing land included in the whole area, with small stretches of bottom
land at intervals, which will afford locations for from 500 to 1,000 ranches devoted to
stock and dairying. In several of the northern valleys summer frosts are more or less
prevalent, but, as in Ontario and Manitoba, that condition may alter with cultivation.
The parts of the country dealt with are in the main in the valley of the Hamalthco
River, the country between Chilco River and Tatla Lake, the Chilcotin country, the
Nechaco and Blackwater Valleys, the country along and east of the Bella Coola River,
the Kitimaat Valley, the fertile country in the vicinity of Ootsa Lake, the Bulkley and
Kispyox Valleys, bordering on the Skeena River; the Peace River Country, where the largest available and compact area of land in the Province exists ; the valley of the
Canoe River, into which Yellow Head Pass opens, and a number of smaller and more or
less detached areas, principally pastoral in character. These are for convenience indicated in red on the accompanying map. In the aggregate there is much land included
in the foregoing districts which is suitable for agriculture, but, in a general way,
grazing, dairying and stock-raisng will be the principal industries of the future. The
grass is luxuriant, rich and nutritious, and an abundance of pure water is found everywhere—an ideal stock country, especially for dairying purposes. As a rule, for a few
months in the winter, cattle would require to be fed, necessitating the growing and
storing of feed. The native grasses are characteristic of the whole country—peavine,
vetch, red-top, wild timothy, wild rye and blue grass. The bunch-grass is confined to
the Southern Interior. Timber sufficient for local requirements is found in every locality,
while mineralised areas extend throughout.
Not sufficient, however, is known of the country as a whole to give definite
information on many points of interest to prospective settlers. Much of the information
given is unavoidably repeated, but being furnished by various authorities quoted is
important as corroborative evidence. Nor, indeed, is sufficient known to correctly map
the country, and in many instances it will probably be found that current maps require
extensive revision.
It is impossible, without an accurate survey of the whole country, to give a correct
estimate of the area of land suitable for pastoral and agricultural purposes. In many
parts of it only  a few white men have ever been, and only at long intervals.    The
k distance from the base of supplies, and the almost total lack of lines of communication
of any kind, have rendered exploration very difficult. Estimates of the extent of
country have been attempted from the imperfect data available, which, including the
Peace River District, give a possible area of from 5,500,000 to 7,500,000 acres of what
might be termed pastoral land, part of which would be suitable for general mixed
farming. The advent of railways will give a stimulus to prospecting and exploration,
when, together with governmental surveys, the more accessible districts will be definitely outlined, and the areas of land suitable for occupation accurately determined.
Various Routes in and out.
The matter of reaching the various parts of the interior described is a matter of
importance and requires special consideration. At present there are no regular lines of
communication, and extensive settlement is out of the question until railways are in
course of construction.
Kispyox Valley and other smaller grassy valleys lying in the direction of the Naas
can only be reached by way of the Skeena, taking steamer to Hazelton from the mouth
of the river. The Skeena is, of course, reached by steamer from one of the Coast Cities.
It is a tortuous stream, difficult of navigation at times, and of slow ascent.
Bulkley Valley and Ootsa Lake District can, at present, be best reached in the
same way. It was thought a short route could be found from the head of Gardner
Canal; but, though possible, it is impracticable for regular communication, on account
of the high divide which separates navigable water from the valleys beyond.
A fairly easy route could be established from the head of Bentinck Arm, through
the Bella Coola River Valley to Ootsa Lake, or from the head of Dean Canal Inlet; but
only rude Indian trails exist, and these are long and winding. No roads have been
A practicable, though long, route is from Ashcroft, on the C.P.R., taking the stage
to Quesnel, from which place the old Telegraph Trail is followed. Cattle and horses, to
be obtained in Chilcotin Valley, can be driven in that way. Nechaco and Blackwater
Valleys are reached directly bj' taking the same route.
The Peace River country can be reached by three routes, with distances as follows;
Route No. 1.
Vancouver to Port Essington, by steamer   585 miles.
Port Essington to Hazelton  150 n
Hazelton to Babine, by trail  65 »
Babine to Tatla Lake, by trail  30 »
Across Tatla Lake, by ferry  2 /;
Tatla Lake to Tom Creek, by trail  22 »
Tom Creek to Manson Creek, by trail  65 »
Manson, to confluence of Findley and Parsnip Rivers, by trail 75 //
Mouth of Parsnip to Canyon, by canoe    . 70 //
Over Canyon Portage, by trail  15 n
Canyon to St. John, by canoe  70 »
1149     „
Route No. 2.
Ashcroft, on C.P.R., to Quesnel, by stage  220 miles.
Quesnel to Manson, by trail  350     n
Manson to mouth of Parsnip, by trail       75     //
Mouth of Parsnip to St. John, by canoe    155     a
800     „ Route No. 3.
Ashcroft to Quesnel  220 miles.
Quesnel to Stuart's Lake  225
Stuart's Lake to McLeod, by trail       90
McLeod to mouth of Parsnip, by trail  120
Mouth of Parsnip to St. John  155
To those going in from the East, the Coast route offers the following advantages :—
The same railway rate to Vancouver or Victoria as to Ashcroft; a water route to
Hazelton; a cheaper rate of freight; much greater expedition.
The advantages of the Quesnel route consist in the fact that stock can be obtained
cheaply on the way in and driven in mueh cheaper than they can be carried by boat.
In this way it would take from 60 to 90 days to drive in stock.
Doubtless a number will be attracted by the Edmonton route.    The distances'are :
Calgary to Edmonton by rail      192 miles.
Edmonton to Fort St. John by trail and canoe     450     n
642     //
In regard to the water route, via Edmonton, it has   the  disadvantage of poling
against the stream to reach Fort St. John.
The distances in by various routes to various other valleys described are approximately as follows :—
Bidkley Valley Route No. 1.
Victoria to Hazelton by steamer     735 miles.
Hazelton to junction of Telkwa with Bulkley       60     «
795     n
Route No. 2.
Ashcroft to Quesnel by stage ,  220 miles.
Quesnel to Blackwater by trail       40     »
Blackwater to Nechaco (Tsinkut Lake)       55     «
Nechaco to junction of Bulkley with Telkwa by trail  145     //
460     „
Route No. 3.
Victoria to Bella Coola by steamer     415 miles.
Bella Coola to Cheslatha Lake      135     n
Cheslatha Lake to mouth of Telkwa      125     «
675 miles.
Route No. 4-
From Victoria to head of Dean Canal by steamer      455 miles.
Head of Dean Canal to mouth of Telkwa     230     «
685     .,
Cheslatha Lake, which is about a central point in the Ootsa Lake country, is* 125
miles from the mouth of the Telkwa.
From Bella Coola to Quesnel, via the Palmer Trail, is  235 miles.
Via Blackwater      225     //
From  the head   of Dean Canal to Quesnel  via  Blackwater,
is   210     n CONFLUENCE    OF    BULKLEY    AND   SKEENA    RIVERS.
Freight and Passenger Rates.
From Vancouver and Victoria to Port Essington the rate is as follows :—Passengers, single fare, $15; freight, $4 to $5 per ton.
From Vancouver to Bella Coola :—Passenger rate, $7 ; freight, $6 to $7 per ton.
The above rates are on the basis of weight and measurement, ship's option, per ton
of 2,000 lbs., or 40 cubic feet.
From Port Essington to Hazelton the rate depends to some extent upon competition
which exists among steamer's, but an average rate is as follows :—Passengers, first-class,
$10, including berth : meals, 50 cents extra.    Freight, $25 per ton.
From Ashcroft to Quesnel the prevailing rate of freight is 4 cents a pound in winter
and 5 cents in summer.    Passengers are charged $38.
From Ashcroft to Manson, in the Omineca, the rate is 15 cents per pound. 10
[Although Vancouver Island does not lie between the parallels of latitude included
in the scope of this Bulletin, it has been thought well to make mention of its undeveloped areas, as in one sense they bear a close relationship to those of the North-West
Coast and Northern Interior of British Columbia.—Ed.]
OF the lands available for settlement, not the least important are those on the East
and West Coasts and in the northern interior of Vancouver Island. The island
is about 250 miles long, with an average width of about 40 miles, and is estimated to
contain about 10,000,000 square acres. Much of this is broken by mountain ranges and
scattered peaks, but in the intersecting valleys (which run north and south), on the
bench lands and those lying along the sea and inlets, there are considerable areas of
good agricultural and pastoral land, much of which is well adapted to mixed farming,
fruit-growing, stock-raising and dairying, while at nearly every point the sea, rivers
and lakes will furnish profitable employment to the settler in the abundance of fish
which they contain. The country lying immediately tributary to Victoria, along the
line of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway, the Saanich Peninsula, Metchosin, Sooke,
and in Comox District, on the East Coast, is fairly well settled and most of the unoccupied land is held by individuals. The Government lands available for pre-emption are
in the interior valleys and along the north-east, north-west and northern coasts. The
lands bordering the sea are, as a rule, low-lying and wet, though a considerable portion
could be reclaimed b}' inexpensive dyking and drainage, They are well suited for
cattle-raising and dairying, while further inland a better quality of land is found capable
of producing good crops of vegetables and small fruits, but on account of the prevailing
humidity little of it is fit for the cultivation of cereals. The area of land adaptable to
agricultural purposes has been variously estimated. Taking the reports of surveyors on
14 townships, out of 44, which extend northward from Reef Point (just south of the
entrance to Quatsino Sound), on the West Coast, and westward to Alert Bay, there are
143,000 acres of grazing lands and 12,740 acres of agricultural lands included in those
14 townships. Taking a line drawn from Campbell River to the headwaters of Salmon
River, and thence to Kamuntzen Lake, a total distance of 166 miles, there lies adjacent
to such line an area of 140,000 acres, mnch of it of excellent quality. The character of
the country is diversified, but the greater portion is well timbered and watered, with
many patches of open prairie and grazing lands. These estimates do not include the
extensive valleys of the interior which remain unexplored, but which, according to the
reports of prospectors, timber-cruisers and trappers, will be found equally available for
settlement-. In the Alberni District there are some very good tracts of agricultural
lands, estimated in the aggregate at about 37,000 acres, which is all well fitted for
mixed farming and dairying. The soil in Alberni District is a fine sandy loam, with a
top soil of dark alluvial, well watered and naturally drained and suitable for all kinds of
crops. The Alberni District and all the lands mentioned which lie contiguous to the Coast
are easily reached by steamers which nrake regular trips from Victoria, and all are
convenient to local markets, which are rapidly increasing through the establishment of
new mining camps, sawmills, lumber camps and other industries. 11
THE Queen Charlotte group lies about 150 miles north of Vancouver Island, and
consists of over 150 islands, of which the principal are Prevost, Moresby, Graham
and North Islands. There is little good agricultural land, although oats are successfully
grown at some points and vegetables give good returns. The soil is light and sandy,
except in the mountains, which form the greater portion of the land. On Graham
Island there is a certain amount of pasture land, but, taken as a whole, these islands do
not offer much inducement to the farmer. They are valuable, however, for the timber,
of which there is an abundance, and for the coal, copper and other minerals which are
known to exist. These have not as yet been developed to any great extent, but when
the mines are opened they will furnish another market to the farmers of Vancouver
Island. Queen Charlotte Islands should become in time the field of a vast fishing
industry, as the adjacent waters teem with most valuable varieties of fish. Halibut,
salmon, rock-cod, herring, flat-fish and dogfish are in great abundance and should
become a valuable industrial asset as the population of the Province increases.
(Looking up stream from near its mouth.) 12
'"~I~,HE country lying along the coast and the numerous adjacent islands between Wake-
J- man Sound and the Kitimaat River were explored in 1895 by George D. Corrigan,
P. L. S. His report deals in detail with the country examined, which includes the valley
of Wakeman Sound, valley of Kingcombe River, Ah-ta Valley, valley of Thompson
Sound, Quascilla and Bay River valleys, Mereworth Sound, Cape Caution, Branham
Island, Shelter Bay, Bradley Lagoon, Banks Island, Goschen and Porcher Islands,
Henry, Stephen, William and Arthur Islands, the valley of the Kitimaat, Kildala
Valley, Gardner Canal and Swindle Island. The country, with some exceptions, is not
suitable for farming, but the mainland coast and nearly all the islands would support
fishing communities who would increase their tribute from the sea by keeping a few cattle,
hogs and sheep, and growing vegetables. On Wakeman Sound there is an area of about
15,000 acres of first-class land, and at the mouth of Kingcome River 10,000 acres or more
which will grow hops, oats and roots. The land is easily tilled and there is plenty of
good timber ; in fact, every requisite for a prosperous settlement. In the Ah-ta Valley
there are about 1,000 acres of good land, which is easily accessible from Kingcombe Inlet.
On many of the islands there are small patches of arable land and considerable tracts of
coarse grass lands which would support flocks of sheep. On Porcher Island there is a
tract of some 25 miles of fairly good land along the coast which might be utilised by
drainage. The valley of the Kitimaat is by far the best country visited. The soil
appears very productive, the ordinary garden vegetables, together with cultivated small
fruits, giving good returns. The wild crab-apple bears plentifully, and there is an
abundance of high bush cranberries, saskatoon and other berries. The run of oolachans
is said to be enormous at the mouth of the Kitimaat River, the Indians coming from
long distances to fish for them. The month of the river is very shallow and difficult to
enter except at full tide. In the lower valley there are several tracts of fairly good land
which could easily be brought under cultivation, but a drawback exists in the fact that
much of it is subject to flooding during the early summer freshets. Mr. Corrigan
reports :—
" It was estimated that from 75 to 100 square miles of first-class country was seen,
covering what was considered the finest valley on the coast, without exception, and
should make a fine settlement. At the bend of the river a trail begins, which leads to
the Kitsilas Indian Village, on the Skeena River, and the Indians report it a two-days'
journey across. An excursion was made up the river beyond the bend, but there the
valley becomes very narrow, being enclosed by high mountains. In this there are
scattered patches of good land, but not large in extent. The one drawback to the lower
valley is its low-lying character, much of it therefore being flooded during tinre of freshet.
It was estimated from what was seen that there would be scarcely one clai.n of 160 acres
so difficult to clear or till, but that the first season a settler could get a part of it under
cultivation—at least sufficient to supply his own needs. At the mouth of the river the
missionaries and Indians have patches of cultivated fruits, cabbage, carrots, turnips,
potatoes, &c., all of which appear to give good returns. The valley appears to be the
haunt of all kinds of game, four black bear having been seen, besides marks of the wolf,
fox, beaver, &c. The Indians also report the presence, at times, of caribou. The spring
and cohoe varieties of salmon frequent the river, and great quantities of oolachans. The
spruce in the valleys is of fair quality, not very large, but long and clear, while in the
upper valley there is some very fine cedar. Doubtless there is a heavy fall of snow, but
the missionaries and Indians state that it leaves very early in the spring, and the situaton
would appear favourable to this.    At times they report the winter to be severe also." 13
In summing up, Mr. Corrigan says :—
" The valleys examined and mentioned as being good and containing productive soil
were considered so for an agricultural community, but the islands and those portions of
the mainland on its extreme westerly borders were considered more suitable for fishing
communities. These places are so situated that there is now, and probably always wrll
be, plenty of occupation for fishing people. They are so situated as to be within easy
reach of the salmon canneries at Rivers Inlet, Lowe Inlet, Skeena River, and other
points, which employ fishermen practically from early spring until July and August;
then, beginning in September and extending through the winter, the halibut fishing
companies carry on operations. During the early part of the winter the halibut grounds
used lie along the Westerly shores of Goschen, Porcher, McCauley, Stephens and Banks
Islands, which are called the 'inshore fishing grounds.' The halibut banks fished during
the winter months, and called the 'offshore fishing grounds,' lie about midway between
the north-east end of Graham Island, in the Queen Charlotte Group, and Banks Island,
and are said to extend right down Hecate Channel, all being accessible to the locations
HH. NEWILL, who was a member of the Kitimaat survey party in the summer of
1901, made a report to this Department, the conclusion of which is as follows :—
"Of land suitable for cultivation, I should estimate that there are some 11,000
acres in the Kitimaat Valley in fairly compact areas, with ready means of communication
by water. Isolated areas exist to the extent of perhaps 2,000 acres in addition. There
would be no difficulty in draining the whole of this land. In the 'lake basin and
surrounding country there are about 4,000 acres available, but much of this would
present obstacles in the way of drainage, the fall to the lake being inconsiderable.
"Should this country be given facilities for development, as it would be by the
construction of a railway, an area of at least 15,000 acres might be counted upon as
favourable for agricultural settlements. Moreover, there seems to be no reason why the
higher lands, if cleared, should not be turned to account for pasture. The timber
throughout is valuable, the cedar exceptionally so.
" The mining prospects are distinctly favourable, but the country has been so little
prospected, or even explored, that it is impossible to make any definite predictions.
"The benches of the Skeena River are mostly good land, and in the valleys of
Copper River and Gold Creek large areas exist, much of which would undoubtedly be
available for cultivation should better means of access be offered. The amount of prospecting and mining already done in this portion of the country gives promise of vast
"Towards the construction of a railway I saw no difficulties whatever throughout
the whole extent of the Kitimaat Valley. Some portion of the country through the
lake basin, and making the descent to the Skeena Valley, would be steep and rocky,
but even here no great engineering obstacles would present themselves. The grade
throughout would be a comparatively easy one, and I should say that this route is an
eminently feasible one into the interior." 14
A Description of the Arable Valleys from Various Official
THE vast and but little-known territory lying to the west and north of the Fraser
River, which was named by the early explorers New Caledonia, and which now
includes the Districts of Cassiar, Cariboo and the northern portion of the Coast District
of British Columbia, holds within its boundaries a considerable extent of agricultural
and pastoral land, the area of which can only be approximately estimated. Portions
of the country, lying along the numerous streams which drain it, have been explored
from time to time, but most of the work done by the engineers and surveyors was
necessarily of such a superficial nature that only a very small percentage of its great
natural resources has been brought to light. Sufficient has been aeconrplished, however,
to establish the fact that central British Columbia contains many hundred thousands of
acres of land capable of supporting a large population, when it shall have been opened
to settlement by the construction of railways. Meantime, a few enterprising pioneers
have penetrated its fastnesses and are establishing homes for themselves, and these
speak enthusiastically of the great resources of the country and its splendid destiny.
It is difficult to convey an idea of the extent, possibilities and potentialities of this vast
region in a brief space ; and, indeed, were every available item of information which
exists in regard to it set down in detail, there would still be very much of importance
lacking. The principal reports on the country are those made by George M. Dawson,
C.M.G., L.L.D., F.R.S., late Director of the Geological Survey of Canada, and his
assistants ; A. L. Poudrier, D. L. S. ; N. B. Gauvreau, D. L. S.; George D. Corrigan,
D. L. S. ; and John Strathern, P. L. S., who were employed by the Provincial Government. There are also others of a more private nature referred to in the body of this
Bulletin- All these reports agree as to the one important fact that a very considerable
portion of the country is not only fitted for habitation but well adapted to agricultural
pursuits of diverse character, some districts offering exceptional advantages to the
cattleman, while others are suited to the needs of the dairyman and mixed farming.
Dr. Dawson estimated that 31,500 square miles of the great Peace River Valley
would be found available for agriculture and stock-raising, and his opinion has been
confirmed by Professor John Maeoun, who states further that at least 10,000 square
miles of these rich lands lie within the boundary of British Columbia. In a region so
vast, stretching from the 52nd to the 60th degree of north latitude, a variety of climate
is encountered. In the south and along the sea coast the climate is very mild and the
rainfall so heavy as to preclude the ripening of wheat, but vegetables of all kinds and
small fruits grow in great perfection and profusion. On the coast the snowfall is not
great, but at the headwaters of the rivers, in the foot-hills of the Cascade Range, it is
much heavier. After crossing the Cascades the climate is drier and the winters are
colder, in the north the mercury sometimes falling to 40° below zero ; but the cold is
not so prolonged as it is east of the Rocky Mountains, the Chinook winds which blow 15
over the land at intervals moderating the temperature to a spring-like degree. Such is
the effect of these warm winds that at many places settlers allow their cattle to roarrr
at large all winter and forage for themselves, and they are invariably found to be in
first-class condition in the spring.    The following actual experience will illustrate :
" The first winter that Mr. Benjamin Franklin spent at Tatla Lake a heavy snow
storm took place. Being apprehensive of losing his cattle, he so informed the Indians
there in the vicinity. Taking shovels, they went into the hay meadow and excavated a
trench in the snow. The horses got into it first and the cattle after them. In a few
days the Chinook wind eame, removed the snow and no animals were lost. An average
natural hay meadow will cut about two and one-half tons to the acre, and about 120
acres may be considered as enough to winter one thousand head of cattle. There are,
however, cattle at Tatla Lake three years old that have not eaten hay, and hay more
than three years old in the stack."
Throughout its whole extent the country is watered by innumerable streams and
lakes, many of the former being of considerable size and to a certain extent navigable.
These waters, as well as the sea, teem with many varieties of fish, while the forests are
full of game, grouse, prairie hens, deer, bear, and many fur-bearing animals, which
afford a living to the Indians and conduce to the comfort of the white settlers. Timber
in great variety is everywhere plentiful; even in the most open prairie-like country
there is an abundance of wood for building and all domestic purposes.
The Western Slope.
Mr. Poudrier entered the country by way of Gardrrer's Inlet in 1891, and explored
the valleys of the Kitlo, Kemano, Kitimaat, Skeena and Naas Rivers. Summing up
the results of his observations, Mr. Poudrier says :—
"There are a large number of pieces of good land, heavily timbered, along the
coast, which could be utilised for agricultural purposes. The valley of the Skeena, the
benches above Quatsalix near Hazelton, the valley of the Kispyox, the upper branches
without counting the valley of the Watsonkwa, and the part included in Mr. Gauvreau's
field of exploration, after very careful computation, would give 300,000 acres of farming
land, more or less wooded. The Naas River, its banks, its islands, the valleys of its
higher branches, including the valleys of the Tsi-ax to the Skeena, of the Shigaltin to
Kitwanga, and the prolongation of the valley from the Tsi-ax, would give an approximate area of 700,000 acres of farming land. Of this, three-fourths is wooded and the
rest is either cleared or covered only with light thickets. Of the higher land, exposed
to the summer frost, and where wheat could not be grown, and of high pasture land,
there are several scattered areas. Around Kit-wan-coole, the higher benches on the
Upper Skeena and Naas, the high plateau lying between the different branches of the
Naas and between its watershed and the Stikine, can all be utilised as grazing land and
classified as such. One and a half million acres would be about a correct estimate of the
grazing land available. All the area west of the Cascade Range is damp and rainy.
Near the sea the snowfall is not great, but at some points up the river it is more than
six feet. After crossing the mountain the climate gets much drier, but in no part of
the country explored by me would irrigation be necessary, unless it would be in some of
the valleys at the head of the Skoot. The climate of winter about Hazelton and at the
corresponding point on the Naas is very cold, but the cold is not so prolonged as it is
east of the Rockies ; there are always one or more thaws during the season. Observation of the gardening done by the Indians shows that, although their lands are very
poorly cultivated, they yield well, while the season is about the same as in the west of
the Province; of Quebec. In no part has the timber been found in very large quantity
as would in the future warrant the hope of exportation, except perhaps the giant cedar
and the spruce ; but everywhere it is sufficient for every local use when once the country
is settled. No doubt the balsam, poplar, the aspen, the Cottonwood and the birch will
some day be of value for the nranufacture of wood pulp."
Mineral Wealth.
Respecting the mineral resources of the country explored by him, Mr. Poudrier
says :—
" Gold has been found formerly, and is yet found, on Lome Creek, on the Skeena.
Colours have been found on the Skeena proper, in the Zimnetz, the Kitsegue-cla, the
Kit-sum-galum, in several small streams falling into the Naas. Small pieces of platinum
are found in the Kitsegue-cla, with the gold. Gold-bearing quartz was brought from
the Upper Skeena and from the Upper Naas. Copper was found on the Kemano River,
and on the Pund-il-delay, on the Skeena, on the Tsi-ax, and on the upper branch of the
Naas. Galena-bearing silver' was found on the Tsi-ax, and more abundantly in a small
creek coming into the Naas a short way below. On the Skeena, below LaUelse, some
good ore of the same kind was also located. Lignite, in places, was seen in abundance.
On the Skeena and branch of the Naas, and on many creeks falling into the Skeena.
On the Kitsegue-cla some coal, of an apparently good quality, was located. It has not
yet been analyzed. Iron nodules are lying in abundance on the Kitsegue-cla, on thf
Skeena, and on the Naas. Hematite, of good quality, is plentiful on the Kemano, the
Kitimaat, the Extall, the Skeena, and the Naas. Volcanic tuff of different species,
some of them appearing valuable, are abundant on the Naas. A kind of pitch, resembling bitumen, is also found at the same locality. Infusorial earth was seen near Hazelton.
Gooii mica was found on the Upper Skeena and on the Naas. Slate, some of it very
good, is abundant on the Tsi-ax and the Naas. Specimens of very rich cinnabar, coming
from Kitimaat, were seen, and some of the same ore was seen on the Kemano." 17
A Fine Cattle- Country.
Mr. Gauvereau made his entrance to the scene of his work by way of Quesnel,
whence he followed the courses of the Endako and Bulkley Rivers to the Susquwah
Valley, and by the Babine Trail to Babine Lake, Frying Pan Pass, North Tatla Lake,
Driftwood and Middle Rivers, Trernblay Lake, Thatcher River, Stuart Lake ; thence to
McLeod, Crooked River, Giscome Creek and Omineca. The valley of the Endako,
which has an average width of four miles, contains many open spaces of good land and
hay meadows, though most of it is covered with black spruce, black pine, Cottonwood
and willow, which would be easily cleared. At the headwaters is a fine tract of country
which would make excellent cattle ranges, as the grass is very rich and pea virres and
vetches grow in profusion. The Bulkley Valley, which is described elsewhere, was
next traversed and the Susquwah Valley entered. This is described as heavily timbered
in some places, in others bare and barren. Babine Lake, 88 miles long, very deep,
and with a width of from one to two and three-quarter miles, is almost surrounded by
thickly wooded mountains. There is some land fit for grazing, but summer frosts,
which prevail, would not encourage settlement for farming purposes. The country from
Babine Lake to Trernblay Lake is in parts very heavily timbered, much of it is brule,
the soil is light and gravelly, and there is little good land except near the Nation Lake,
where there are several good hay meadows. Na-kal-at Valley, on Stuart Lake, contains
about 24 square miles of rich open land, offering good pasturage, with areas fit for the
cultivation of hardy cereals and vegetables. Parts of the country between Stuart and
McLeod Lakes might be brought under cultivation by clearing, but there is not much
open land. The quality of the land improves near Giscome Portage, and there is considerable open country with grassy flats and wooded benches with good soil. Between
Giscome Portage and Omineca there are no extensive areas of agricultural lands ; here
and there are hay meadows and patches of land fit for growing vegetables, but the
district cannot be said to offer any inducement to the farmer. Cattle would do well at
many points and as mining operations increase there will be a market for the beef and
vegetables which can be raised. The winters are severe in this district and there are
summer frosts. 18
EARLY in 1902 a movement was set on foot in Vancouver City to colonise the
Bulkley, and after preliminary organisation and negotiations with the Government it was decided to send in a delegation representing the proposed colonists, to report
on its general suitability for settlement on terms that had been conditionally arranged.
The Government, on its own behalf, sent a representative to make an independent report
and to ascertain the cost of building a waggon road from Hazelton, on the Skeena
River, southward to a point that might be selected for settlement.
The result of their investigations is given in what follows, which contains extracts
setting forth the salient points, a number of minor details not necessary for general use
being omitted. The two reports submitted are practically unanimous in regard to the
conclusions arrived at by the delegations. Both practically agree that the valley is one
especially well adapted for cattle-raising and dairying, with considerable good bottom
land suitable for general agricultural purposes ; but what is very important as a factor
of settlement, it was mutually agreed that the Skeena route was impracticable in many
respects, even with the building of a waggon road to connect it with the colonj*, which
would be located some distance south of Hazelton. From what the delegates learned
from the Indians, it was supposed that an easy and direct route could be found to
connect Bulkley Valley with the head of Gardner Inlet, and upon their return they
recommended to the Government that an exploring party should be sent in to investigate
the merits of the proposed route. The following is the report of Mr. J. W. Mcintosh
on behalf of the colonists, made to the Department of Immigration :—
Report of Mr.  Mcintosh.
" We left Hazelton on May 6th, taking the Poudrier Trail on the west side of the
river, which we crossed on a bridge costructed by the Indians, which spans the river
at a canyon about five miles from Hazelton. The Bulkley, for the greater part of the
distance between Hazelton and Moricetown, flows through rocky canyons. There is not
much good land in the valley until after Moricetown is passed, the mountains pressing
close to the river in some places. There are two or three open patches of nice prairie
covered with good grass and pea-vine on the trail not far north of Moricetown. There
would be about 200 acres in the largest patch. At Moricetown, which is a good sized
Indian village, the trail crosses again to the east side of the river, which is here spanned
by a sort of cantilever bridge, built by the Indians, over a narrow canyon through which
the river flows with great speed. The only material used by the Indians in the
construction of the bridge was round poles tied together with telegraph wire, from the
old telegraph line constructed through that country about forty years ago.
"The Indians at both Moricetown and Hazelton have good gardens in which they
grow all the potatoes and other vegetables required for their own use. The potatoes are
of first-class quality and the yield is good, the soil being a rich sandy loam with a clay
subsoil. The Indians of Moricetown informed us that the snowfall at that point will
not average more than ten inches, and that it varies in other parts of the valley
according to location, running all the way from six inches in depth to two feet. The
snow starts as a rule about Christmas time, and from that time until about April 10th
cattle will have to be housed and fed.
" Very little open land occurs until the ranch occupied by men in the employ of the
Hudson's Bay Company is reached. This ranch is about fifteen miles south of Hazelton,
and is a first-class place for stock. Mr. Hill, the man in charge of the ranch, has
probably had more experience, and is better able to tell of the climate and agricultural
possibilities of the Bulkley Valley than any other man in there, as he has lived there for
. 19
four years or more, and has made various tests trying to find out what kind of soil and
what situations of land are most suitable for the successful cultivation of potatoes, oats,
and other cereals. He informed us that to escape the effects of the light summer frosts,
to which the whole valley is to a greater or less extent subject, it would be well to plant
the crops on land not too near the low-lying land, which is found along the creek
bottoms, as frost is more liable to strike the low-lying land than land more elevated.
A western slope is also found the best, so that the hot rays of the morning sun will not
so seriously affect the plants which have been touched by frost at night. My own
experience in farming in the North-West also bears out this statement, and I also have
found that summer frosts in parts of the North-West and Manitoba in which I have
lived usually disappear after the ground is broken up and the bush cleared away, and
I think the same would apply to this part of the country. The Hudson's Bay Company's
ranch embraces Sections 16, 17, 19, 20 and 21 in Township 2 of Poudrier's survey. The
soil is principally a rich black loam and the country is rolling. The timber in the
vicinity is mostly small spruce and poplar. Sufficient timber can be had all through
the valley for all purposes of construction and for firewood, for years to come, but there
is not a great deal that is suitable for milling purposes. After leaving the Hudson's
Bay Company's ranch, going south, we cross a stream called Driftwood Creek. From
the large amount of driftwood along its banks it would appear to be a regular torrent in
time of freshet. I'rom here on to Aldermere Lake, which is situated on the southern
boundary of Township 4, is a good strip of country partly open and well-watered by
spring creeks. The soil is mostly first-class, and where the country is not wholly open
it could very easily be cleared by the aid of fire, the timber for the most part being small
poplar, pine and spruce. Good grazing is found all through the woods, the pea-vine
and red-top grasses growing as high as a man's head, as could be seen from the remains of
last year's grasses.
An Ideal Cattle Country.
" Along the north and east sides of Aldermere Lake, which is a beautiful sheet of
water, are fine patches of prairie covered with a rank growth of grass and pea-vine.
" The lake abounds in fish, as do all the lakes and streams in that country. Some
families of Indians living on the shore of the lake were engaged in catching and smoking
trout for next winter's use. The trout here would average two pounds in weight.
Between here and Rosemere Lake, which is situated on section 15 in Township 6, is a
first-class stock country, with a large proportion of open prairie. -c"^
"Spurs from the Babine Range of mountains to the east approach to within a short
distance of the lakes mentioned. Though the soil on these hills would be too light for
farming, they are covered with rich grasses, making splendid pasture ground for stock.
"The altitude of Aldermere Lake, as shown by aneroid, is 1,700 feet, and that of
Rosemere Lake is 1,900 feet. There are sonre beautiful patches of prairie on the north
and east side of Rosemere Lake, some of them several hundred acres in extent. The
country for several miles to the east appears to be of the same general description as
that passed through between the two lakes mentioned. The country at one time appears
to have been covered with spruce and pine, which has been burnt off and in most of the
places succeeded by a light growth of poplar, a tree which is very easy to clear, as a fire
started during the time the grass is dry will kill the tree, which the season following
can be burnt up by starting a fire in the proper time.
"From Rosenrere Lake to the southern boundary of Township 9, large patches of
prairie occur, varied by strips of spruce, pine and poplar bush. Several nice streams,
which rise in the Babine Range, to the east, eross the trail. The valley, fronr the H. B.
Company's Ranch south, would average about ten miles in width, though exceeding
that width in some places. Spurs from the mountain ranges on all sides in some places
approach close to the river. The widest portion of the valley appears to be on the west
side of the Bulkley, which here is a rapid stream about 500 feet wide. The western
portion of the valley appears to be more heavily timbered than that on the east side, but
from the tops of hills on the east side of the river we were able to see several open
patches of prairie, and an Indian whom we had with us told us that the same character
of country existed on the west as on the east side. We were unable to cross the river
and more closely examine the country there, as the water was too high and no canoes
were at that time procurable.
"The most distant point in the valley reached by us was at the point where the
Morice River from the south-west joins the Bulkley, which here flows in a northwesterly direction. This point was reached on May 12th and is 94 miles from Hazelton.
The altitude here is about 2,500 feet. At this date, May 21st, the poplar and cotton-
wood trees were beginning to open their leaves, and the grasses had a good start.
Light frosts occurred twelve nights during the month of May, ranging from one to ten
degrees of frost. On our return journey to Hazelton we noticed that vegetation
appeared to be farther advanced in the country around Rosemere and Aldermere Lakes
than in any other portion of the valley.
"From the H. B. Company's Ranch, in Township 9, up to the farthest point reached
by us I would call a first-class country in which to raise stock, there being splendid
grazing over nearly the whole country, and a large quantity of hay can be cut on the
open patches of prairie, and these could be largely and easily extended by the aid of fire.
In regard to the agricultural possibilities of the said section of country, were a market
for farm produce established, which at present is totally wanting, I would say that, from 21
experiments made by Mr. Hill, of the H. B. Company's farm, and from the fact that the
Indians in the valley, at Moricetown and elsewhere, have for several years past succeeded in growing as fine potatoes as can be raised anywhere, there is no doubt that,
with a proper system of agriculture, oats and barley, as well as root crops, can be
successfully grown. Mr. Hill showed me some oats with which he seeded a patch of
land last year, and which grew very rank with prolific heads. He out them for fodder
before they were ripe, but intends laying down a field this year for grain. Barley
should do well there, as it is a grain which does not need to be sown as early as oats or
wheat, and matures and ripens before the fall frosts would be likely to come. Mr. Hill,
from his four years' experience in the valley, says that light summer frosts are liable to
come any month, although the months of July and August are usually exempt from
A Railway or Waggon Road needed.
" What I consider the greatest drawback to the success of the valley, as either a
stock-raising or farming district, is the present want of a road to the Coast, giving
settlers an easy means of reaching a market with cattle or any other farm produce they
might have to sell. Indians, whose hunting grounds are in the Bulkley country, informed us that a trail fronr the Bulkley to Kitlobe Inlet esisted, and that this distance
was always covered by them in two days when going out to the Coast to trade off their
furs; that the trail did not pass over any high mountain range, but through a low pass
where the grass grew on the tops of the highest hills passed over. They also said that
a larger and better open country than the Bulkley existed to the south of the Bulkley
country, where the snowfall was so light and the winters so mild that horses and cattle
did not require to be fed in winter. Similar information was obtained from Mr. Loring,
the Indian Agent at Hazelton, Mr. Robert Cunningham, of Port Essington, and others
who have had large dealings with the Indians of that country. Mr. Cunningham stated
that in a number of cases Indians who had furs to sell brought them out from the
Bulkley over the route mentioned to Kitlobe, and thence by canoe to Port Essington,
in preference to the other route via Hazleton.
" Even were a road constructed to Hazelton fronr the Bulkley Valley, the cost of
getting provisions freighted up the Skeena on the river boats makes them a very high
price at Hazelton, at the same time being a prohibitive rate on the shipping out of cattle
or any farm produce a man might have to sell."
Report of Mr.  McMillan.
Mr. D. McMillan, on behalf of the Government, made a report to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, of which the following are extracts relating to the
general character of the country explored. His estimate of the cost of a waggon road
from Hazelton to the proposed settlement was $1,000 a mile for the first 40 miles, and
$500 a mile for the remainder of the distance. He also reported that from Hazelton to
Moricetown a road could be built on the west side, following Poudrier's old trail, at
much less cost than on the east side ; and also that, with but few slight diversions, the
Telegraph Trail follows the most suitable route for a waggon road along the valley
south of Moricetown :—
"The country between Hazelton and Moricetown is for the most part heavily
timbered, there being a few operr patches of prairie and brulee, but none of any extent.
The valley will average about three miles in width, though in some places opening up to
about six miles wide. After crossing the Indian bridge before referred to, we passed
through about four miles of rather heavy hemlock, spruce and cottonwood timber. The
balance of the country from there on to Moricetown consisted for the most part of brulee,
rooks coming to the surface in a great many places. Spurs from the mountains to the
south-west extend in two or three places as far as the Bulkley River, which is called the
' Hugglegate ' in this part of the country.
"The Bulkley River, for the most part, between Hazelton and Moricetown, runs
through canyons, and no boats can navigate its waters there. The altitude of Hazelton,
according to aneroid, is 1,000 feet, and that of Moricetown 1,300 feet. The soil in the
vicinity of Moricetown is light and gravelly, excepting a narrow strip of flat land between
the river and the mountains, on the west side. 22
"The trail, after leaving Moricetown, gradually ascends to the top of the bench
land, and at a distance of a mile from Moricetown is over 300 feet above the river. For
a few miles after leaving Moricetown the country is covered with a light growth of pine,
spruce and poplar, and the soil is rather light. The trail passes through another small
Indian reserve about six miles from Moricetown, and at about the twelfth mile enters
Township 1 of Poudrier's survey. We found neither Townships 1 nor 2 suitable for a
settlement of any kind, and we then proceeded towards the head of the valley, to a
point at a distance of 94 miles from Hazelton, and examined the country thoroughly on
our return trip. We arrived at the most distant point reached on May 11th, and spent
a day in looking over the country in the vicinity, which consists, for the most part, of
open grass lands. The soil here is black, and we could see from the remains of last
year's grasses that it had been covered with a luxuriant growth of wild pea-vine and red-
top grasses, the stalks in some places being over five feet in length.
" The altitude, at the highest point reached rn the valley, is 2,600 feet, and the
river here flows through a narrow valley about 400 feet lower than the surrounding
country. This is the point at which the Morice River joins the Bulkley. Near the
trail, which here is about five miles from the river, is situated what is known as the
' Government Ranch,' where the Government pack-horses are wintered. We were
informed by Mr. Charleston, who is in charge of the ranch, that the snowfall there was
about 16 inches last winter, coming on about the 1st of December and remaining until
the first of April. He turned his horses out to forage for themselves on April 10th.
No attempt has been made at this place to grow any vegetables or1 crops of any kind,
excepting timothy hay, with which he had some large fields seeded down, and of which
he expects a large crop this year. This part of the valley, being at such a high altitude,
seems to be subject to summer frosts, the thermometer registering several degrees of
frost every night we were in that portion of the valley. There is plenty of timber for
building purposes in the vicinity, and consists mostly of spruce, with some pine. Prom
the river back to the point where the Telegraph Trail enters Township 9 on the south,
is about eight miles, and the country is open along the trail for nearly the whole distance.
The valley at this place is about seven miles wide, the larger portion being on the west
side of the river, and appears to be heavily wooded.
A District of Splendid Grasses.
" The trail, going north, enters Township 9 at Section 2, which is partly open and
partly covered with burnt spruce. The soil is light and gravelly. Section 3 is almost
all open prairie, with fairly good soil, and is first class pasture land.    The country to 23
the south-west is rolling and covered with burnt timber. The altitude of Section 3, at
the highest point reached by the trail, is 2,200 feet. The trail next passes through
Section 10, and the country on the west of the trail is rolling and grass}7. There is a
flat of about 200 acres on this Section which is first class soil and covered with long
grass. The altitude here is 2,000 feet. The poplars at this date were starting to open
their leaves, arrd the pea-vine and other grasses were about four inches above the ground.
The next section passed through by the trail was Section 16, Township 9, which section
was entered at its south-east corner. It is mostly covered with spruce and poplar large
enough for building purposes. The soil is good. We next passed through the S. W.
quarter of Section 21, which is covered with a light growth of poplar. Soil good and
grazing good all through the scrub. Section 20 is all good soil and good grazing over
the whole section. We camped on the night of May 12th at the crossing of a small river
which runs past the N. W. corner post of Section~20, and spent the following day in
exploring the surrounding country. The country all along both sides of the small river
mentioned is a good open country, with occasional patches of small poplar and spruce,
which could easily be cleared by two or three fires set out at the time when the grass
would be dry, in the fall of the year. The altitude, at the point where the trail crosses
the small river referred to, is 1,900 feet. The S. E. quarter of Section 30 is partly open
prairie with good soil, and the west half of the section is covered with black pine and
poplar of small size. Section 31, in Township 9, is nearly all open prairie, and is good
grazing land. This open character of country appears to extend for three or four miles
toward the east, when it rises into the foot-hills of the Babine Range. There is good
grazing everywhere in this part of the country.
" Section 6, Township 7, is all open prairie, with good soil. The trail enters Township 6 at Section 1. This section is all open prairie, with good soil. The trail next
passes through the S. W. quarter of Section 12 and theN. E. quarter of Section 11, which
sections are both rolling country, mostly covered with poplar, with occasional patches
of open prairie. The S. W. quarter of Section 14, Township 6, is covered with small
poplar ; the north half of the same section is open prairie. We now come to a. lake,
which in Mr. Poudrier's report is called Rosemere Lake, and which covers nearly all of
Section 15, besides a small portion of Sections 16 and 22. The country in the immediate
vicinity of the lake, on the north and east sides, consists of beautiful prairies, covered
with a rank growth of pea-vine and a variety of other grasses.
" The vegetation here seemed to be further advanced at this date, May 14th, than
in any other portion of the valley. Some families of Indians are living at the lake, and
were engaged in catching and smoking trout, which abound in all the lakes in this part
of the country, and which would average about two pounds in weight. The country on
the west side of the lake, towards the river, is partly burnt, and the balance covered
with a light growth of pine, poplar and spruce. The altitude of this lake is 1,900 feet.
After leaving the lake the trail passes through Section 21, Township 6, which is rolling,
with patches of open prairie.
"Section 20 is also high and rolling ; about half of this section is open, and is all
good grazing. Section 19 is partly open, arrd covered with heavy grass and pea-vine.
There is a marsh of about 100 acres on tire S.E. quarter of Section 30, which could be
easily converted into a first-class hay meadow. The north half of this section is high
land and good grazing. The trail now enters Township 5, going through the N.E.
quarter of Section 25, which is partly open, the balance being covered with poplar and
spruce. The country here slopes towards the west. The trail next passes through the
east half of section 36, in Township 5. The south half of this section is low, rich soil,
covered with poplar and willow thickets. The N. W. quarter is open prairie, and
touches on Aldermere Lake.    The altitude here is 1,700 feet.
"Aldermere Lake, along the east and north sides of which the trail passes, is a
beautiful sheet of water, about two and one-hair miles long and over a mile wide. There
are rich hay meadows in the imniediate vicinity of the lake, some of them over 100 acres
in extent. The country to the east for about five miles is partly open, and of the same
character as that through which the trail passes. There is good grazing everywhere, and
the land not entirely open could be easily cleared by the aid of fire. The soil is mostly a
black loam. Spurs from the Babine Range extend in some places nearly to the river
on the west.    On these hills the soil is rather light, though good feed grows everywhere.
"The Telegraph Trail, after leaving Aldermere Lake, goes almost due north for
several miles, passing through Section 10, in Township 4, which is level, open couutry,
with scattered thickets of poplar and spruce.     Section 15 is rolling, and covered with 24
poplar and spruce. The west side of Section 22 is low meadow land. The east side is
a high rolling country, with light soil. The S.W. quarter of Section 27, in Township
4, is open prairie. The rest of the section is mostly covered with small pine, averaging
about 10 inches in diameter. Section 28 is all covered with timber. The soil is good..
On the north side of Section 28 the trail crosses the Quinoqua River, or Canyon Creek,
as it is called by the white men. It is a streanr of fair size, and here flows through a
canyon. It is here spanned by a good serviceable bridge, built by the men engaged in
the construction of the telegraph line.
"The east side of Section 33, in Township 4, is mostly open prairie, covered with
rich grasses. The west is half-timbered. The north half of Section 34, in Township 4,
is open prairie.    The south half is badly cut up by the Quinoqua River.
"We now enter Township 2 at Section 4, the trail passing through the east half of
the section. The south-east quarter of this section is open, the balance is covered with
small spruce and poplar. The soil is very good. The south half of Section 16, in Township 2, is open, with good grazing.     Driftwood Creek crosses the S.W. quarter of this
section, cutting it up badly. There is here situated a ranch which is worked by men in
the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company, and which embraces Sections 16, 17, 19, 20
and 21, and is a fine place for stock. Section 25, in Township 1, is mostly timbered
and the soil is rocky; 35 and 36 are of the same general description. The mountains on
the east side here approach quite close to the river, and there is but very little good land
between this point and Moricetown, a distance of 12 or 15 miles.
Other Fine Grazing Districts.
"The lines of Mr. Poudrier's survey, made in 1891, were easily traced, and we were
able in the most of cases to find the section posts sought for, although in several places
we found that his survey did not extend as far east as shown by the shaded lines on his
map. In hardly any place, throughout the entire length of the valley, can a person go
more than three miles east of the trail without striking the foot-hills of the Babine
Mountains. The widest portion of the valley is on the west side of the Bulkley, but on
account of the high water we were unable to cross and examine the country, but, looking
at it through a large telescope one of the party carried, it appears to be of the same
general character as that on the east side of the river. Indians whom we met informed
us that the country on the west side was fully as good as on the east side, arrd that there
were large tracts of open country over there also. They also informed us that the
country extending south and west towards FVancais Lake, in the interior, and Kitlobe
Inlet, at the head  of  Gardner Canal, is mostly an open, grassy country, where the 25
snowfall is light, and where cattle and horses can forage for themselves in winter. A
great many of the Indians whose home is on the Bulkley River have their hunting
grounds in the country referred to, and they claim that there are immense open prairies
there which extend as far as the eye can see, and are covered with pea-vine and grasses
as high as a man's head. Mr. Loring, the Indian Agent at Hazelton, gave us similar
"In regard to the climate of the Bulkley Valley, we were informed by Mr. Hill, the
manager of the H. B. Co's. farm, that the lowest the thermometer registered last winter
was 26° below. It reached zero on twelve other days last winter. The weather in
summer is sometimes very hot, the thermometer registering 102° twice while we were in
the valley. The snowfall, on an average, is about 15 inches in winter, but varies
according to location. Cattle have to be fed from Christmas to about 1st of May.
Similar information was obtained from other reliable gentlemen who had lived in the
valley during the winter. Mr. Hill also informed irs that summer frosts were liable to
come during any month in the summer, but by choosing a location fronting to the west,
so that the morning sun would not strike too hot, there was no trouble to raise potatoes
and other root crops. The Indians at Moricetown raise fine potatoes, and those grown
by Mr. Hill on the H. B. Co. 's farm were as good potatoes as I have ever seen. I think
that, as the country gets cleared up and larger openings made, the danger from summer
frosts will, to a great extent, disappear. Throughout the whole valley sufficient timber
for building and fencing purposes can easily be secured, but there is but very little
timber suitable for milling purposes.
"Taking the valley on the whole, I consider it a first-class country for stock-raising,
there being good grazing everywhere, as well as on the open patches. Sufficient hay to
winter a limited number of stock can be cut on the open meadows, and where the bush
has been burnt off it is followed by a rank growth of grass.
" Timothy hay does very well. Mr. Hill showed me some meadows which he had
seeded down to timothy, and he stated that last season the hay on them grew as tall as
a man's head, and would cut five tons to the acre.
" Notwithstanding the country's many natural advantages, I consider it would be
practically impossible for a man to profitably engage in either farming or stock-raising
until some better means of communication with the outside is established than at
"At the best, the boats on the Skeena can only make nine or ten trips to Hazelton
during the season, the Skeena being a very uncertain river to navigate. The freight
rates from Port Essington, at the mouth of the Skeena, to Hazelton are $40 per ton at
present, and getting supplies packed in from Hazelton to the valley costs about three
cents a pound additional, thus making the cost of living very high."
A Joint Report on  New Routes.
As previously stated, and as will be seen by the foregoing reports, a recommendation was made to investigate the possibilities of a route by way of Gardner Inlet through
the interior to Bulkley Valley. As a consequence, the Government decided to send in
a party for the purpose indicated, and selected Messrs. McMillan and Mcintosh to make
a report. This report, although a suitable pass through the mountains beyond the
inlet was not discovered, is very interesting, from the fact that considerable areas of
still better land than exists in the Bulkley Valley were disclosed, with a better climate
and, generally, more favourable conditions for settlement. This country, which is in
the vicinity of Ootsa Lake, is described as charming in its general effect, filled with
game, and very fertile.
The Gardner Inlet Route.
" We got away fronr Hazelton on August 30th. * * * We were disappointed
in the looks of the grasses for the first fifty miles after leaving Hazelton, as prairies,
which on our visit to the same district last May, had the promise of an abundant growth
of grass, had only a very scanty crop, weeds taking the place of the grass over large
areas. This could only be accounted for by the unusually dry season, as in former years
all those prairies had an abundant growth of grass and pea-vine. 26
"We proceeded south along the Telegraph trail for 89 miles, at which point the
trail to Francais and Ootsa Lakes branches off, the Telegraph trail keeping on to the
south-east. Some miles before reaching this point the character of the grass changes,
on nearly all open prairies the grass being over five feet high and largely mixed with
pea-vine. Between the point at which the trails branch and the crossing of the Bulkley,
a distance of about eight nriles, the country is nearly all open and covered with the
richest of grasses. We noticed in coming along the trail that it was only at occasional
places that the early frosts had touched the pea-vine, which is one of the tenderest of
plants. In the most of places the pea-vine and other plants were standing up fresh
and green.
" We crossed the Bulkley about 300 yards above its junction with the Watsonkwa,
on September 3rd. The aneroid showed air altitude at this point of 2,050 feet, The
valley here between the foot-hills is about four miles wide arrd is splendid soil. About
two-thirds of the valley here is open prairie.
" We followed the west bank of the Zumgozli for seven miles, the stream here
taking an abrupt turn to the east, the trail keeping on in a southerly direction. We
camped the night of September 4th at the point at which the Zumgozli turrrs to the east.
The altitude here was 2,400 feet. The portion of the valley of the Zumgozli seen by us
would average about one and a half miles in width, and is about one-quarter open, and
the balance lightly timbered with spruce and poplar. It is too much broken to be of
any account for anything except grazing, there being good grass almost everywhere.
" After leaving this valley, the trail gradually ascends over a divide between the
Zumgozli and another valley, in which are three pretty lakes, whose waters discharge
into a creek flowing into Francais Lake. The valley mentioned will average one and a
half miles in width, and is timbered with pine and spruce of small size. After passing
the second lake, which is about four miles long, the trail turns directly east past the foot
of a high bluff of rock, which stands by itself on the plain. The trail keeps a general
easterly direction along the north side of the third lake reached, which is a beautiful
sheet of water, about 5^ miles long and one mile wide. The arreroid showed an altitude
here, September 5th, of 2,475 feet. The trail passes around the east end of the lake,
crosses the creek which drains its waters, and then passes over a densely wooded plateau
for five miles in a south-easterly direction, until another lake li miles long, is reached,
which the Indians call Tzelkuz. The altitude at this lake is 2,590 feet. We camped
here the night of September 5th, a distance of 28 miles from the crossing of the Bulkley.
Eorfive nriles between this point and Francais Lake the country is rolling, with patches
of prairie and open country.    The trail descends 400 feet in these five miles.    The 27
Indians say that there is lots of open prairie a few miles to the east of the trail, but we
did not see much on our route. We swam the horses across the Nadina River, which
flows into the west end of Francais Lake. The Nadina River drains a large lake of the
same name, about twenty miles to the north-west, which the Indians informed us was
an open prairie country. We reached Ootsa Lake September 7th. Its altitude is 2,250
feet as shown by our aneroid.
A Fine Farming and Cattle Country.
" On September 8th we went east along the north shore of Ootsa Lake for about ten
miles, looking for a canoe in which to proceed west towards the mountains. We came
across some splendid open country, extending from a point about ten miles east of the
west end of the lake as far as the eye could see, towards Cheslahta Lake, and across to
Francais Lake on the north, a distance of ten or fifteen nriles. Our Indians informed us
that the clinrate was much warmer in winter than in the Bulkley Valley, and that the
snow was never over six inches in depth. We saw at least fifty square miles of this
open country, and think that for either a farming or stock-raising settlement it is
superior to the Bulkley Valley, there being a larger area of open land in orre place, and
all good soil. From the number of tracks, deer and caribou appear to be plentiful.
The whole district is well watered, and we saw some large marshes, on which a large
amount of hay could be cut. The Indians bring their horses here from the surrounding
country to winter, and they say that they come through the winter well on the long
grass, which is never covered by the light fall of snow. They report that the Tahtsa
River, which flows into the west end of Ootsa Lake, never freezes in winter, which
shows that the climate is not severe.
" We arrived at Tahtsa Lake, a distance estimated by us as twenty-eight miles in a
straight line from Ootsa Lake, on September 30th. Our aneroid showed an elevation
here of 2,720 feet.
" For the greater part of the distance between this point and Ootsa Lake the vallej'
is wide, as much as five or six miles in places, arrd the soil is the very best. Along the
lower reaches of the river there are several miles of alluvial flats, of which only a small
portion is flooded at high water. It is mostly covered with a light growth of willows
and spruce, but several large open tracts occur. The Indians report the snowfall as
heavy in the upper portion of the river. The beaver are very numerous along the river,
our Indians getting some at every camping place. 28
"Tahtsa Lake, which is about twenty-two nriles in length, is a fine lake with a
sandy or gravelly beach along nearly its entire length.
" The trail ascends rapidly from the lake, till at a distance of four miles the summit
is reached. On the evening of September 15th the aneroid showed an altitude of 4,080
feet at the summit of the pass, but the next morning it orrly showed 3,800 feet in the
same place. The ascent for the last mile before reaching the summit was very abrupt,
and we passed over fields of snow where it had slidden from the steep mourrtain sides,
in some places fifty feet deep. The mountains on either side rose above the level of the
pass to a height of probably 2,000 feet, and masses of rock and ice were constantly
falling into the pass.
" It had been our intention, had we found the pass practicable for a road, to return
fronr this point (Tahtsa Lake) and blaze out a trail in a north-easterly direction to the
junction of the Bulkley and Watsonkwa Rivers, a distance of not more than twenty-five
miles, the Indians said. A road in that direction would pass through the open country
surrounding Nadina Lake, and would be through a practically level country the whole
way ; but on seeing that the pass was impracticable, we thought it would be no use to
waste any further time in doing so. The pass is too high, and, for a couple of miles,
too rugged to admit of the possibility of a road being constructed there over which
horses could travel, except at great expense, and then it could only be used for two or
three months in the year, on account of the snow slides which would be coming down
off the overhanging mountains.
" Were a survey of the country west and south of Ootsa and Francais Lakes made,
it would be found that the estimate of the good agricultural and grazing lands in British
Columbia would be largely increased. Ali that country requires to open it up, so that
it will be quickly settled, is a railway from south to north, and it will then prove to be
one of the best portions of the country."
The Route in from Bella Coola.
Mr. J. W. Mcintosh, who had examined, during the previous year, the Bulkley
Valley and the Ootsa Lake country and whose report of the Bulkley Valley appears
elsewhere, and Captain Johnson, of Vancouver, made a prospecting and exploratory trip
in the summer of 1903. Going in from Bentinck Arm along the Bella Coola River, they
proceeded by way of Ootsa Lake as far as Bulkley River. They obtained a number of
photographs, and their impressions of the country, as a whole, were very favourable.
The route taken by these gentlemen is indicated on the map accompanying this Bulletin.
Through the kindness of Mr. Mcintosh, we are permitted to make extracts from the
journal which he kept during the trip. For the purpose of brevity, personal incidents
are omitted :—
" 19th of July—Arrived at Bella Coola by the Steamer ' Tees.'
" 22nd—Went 12 miles along good road as far as Christensen's.
" July 23rd—Along a good waggon road and trail 11 miles to the crossing of Bella
Coola River. Crossed the river in a canoe. The Bella Coola River Valley, so far, would
average from two to three nriles in width ; soil, sandy loam, rather light in spots ; the
timber is heavy—principally spruce, hemlock, fir, poplar, alder, maple, and some small
cedar—all over the valley, except where cleared. A few of the settlers have quite large
clearings from 70 to 100 acres each. About 45 houses have been built altogether.
Settlers not very prosperous as yet, for lack of money to develop holdings. The settlement is well supplied with steamboat communication, roads and wharves. The settlers
have first-rate log houses, but, so far have little or nothing to sell, although a fairly good
market exists. The last house is at the crossing referred to. The valley extends for 15
or 20 miles further on ; it is about 41 miles from the mouth of the river to the divide at
the top of the mountain. There would be no difficulty in bringing a railway down
through the pass.
'' July 24th—Started by mountain trail in a northerly direction over a zigzag, steep
trail for 5 miles. There is plenty of grass on the summit of the mountain, where we
camped all night. The trail is very steep and rocky for some three miles before reaching
the summit; it is good the balance of the way to the creek which flows into Salmon
River, 5 miles further on.    Still in grass and lots of it. 29
"July 26th.—Went 20 miles, the first 10 miles through a good grazing country,
well watered and fairly level. The last 10 miles were rocky and dry. Camped at south
end of Takia Lake, in which there is plenty of trout. There is a large meadow at the
south end of it, probably 185 acres in extent.
"July 28th.—Went 15 miles and reached Salmon River. Crossed over good
meadows, in one of which there is about 125 acres, and passed, where timber had been
burnt, some good grazing country, fairly level. Where we forded the Salmon River it
was 3 feet deep arrd about 250 feet wide. Could hear sounds of rapids and was told by
the Indians that there were quite large falls near by on the river, but did not see them.
"July 29th.—Went about 8 miles to Elkatcho, an Indian village, where a reserve
has been survej'ed. A trail branches off from here east to Chilcotin. We are now
fairly in the interior plateau. To the south-east is Anaham's peak, a perfect cone about
9,000 feet high. It is said by the Indians to be wholly composed of jade, and in former
times the Indians came to it from all quarters to get the rock, out of which to make
arrow and spear heads. It is scattered all along the road in evidence of this statement.
Four miles farther on, near Kwalcho Lake, we camped for the night. Between Salmon
River and Elkatcho we came through some nice looking, but wet meadows. After
leaving Elkatcho, struck no more grass grazing land or meadows until we reached Tsohic
(Taken from top of small mountain, 3 miles north of lake.)
Lake, 10 miles further on ; it is all timber and brulee ; soil no good. From the north
end of Tschic Lake a stream runs in a north-easterly direction, along which a broad
meadow extends to Entiako Lake. This meadow is about one-half mile wide and 8 or
10 miles long.    Several large beaver dams were seen along the stream.
" On the following day (July 31st) we went through a worthless country as far as
Tetabunket, 10 miles ; reached Teta-chuck River, flowing out of Teta-chuck Lake, 4
miles. Crossed the river about half a mile from where it enters Nalalkuz Lake. The
river here is about 150 yards wide and from 5 to 10 feet deep, and runs with a very
rapid current. After crossing Teta-chuck River came 5 miles to crossing of Eu-chue
River through fine grazing country.
"August 1st—Swam our horses across the river and followed the trail along the
north side of Eu-Chue Lake for 8 miles ; the trail runs on the side of the hill. There
is plenty of grass in the. open and among the timber, the pasture land extending about
a mile north of the lake. A snrall river flows into the west end of the lake, and a considerable extent of meadows border the river. The trail now runs in a north-easterly
direction and follows the valley of a small creek, which drains a small lake in a northwesterly direction from Eu-Chue Lake. 30
"August 2nd—Went in a northerly direction 6 miles to the crossing of Eutsha
River, which here is 200 yards wide and very deep, and reached the west end of Ches-
lahta Lake that night. The trail passed through splendid grass-grazing lands. The
following few days we prospected the country about here. On August 3rd, went to
Ootsa Lake and passed through a good deal of open country covered with the richest of
grass.    The timber is mostly poplar, spruce and pine.
" The country round the west end of Cheslahta Lake is a splendid grazing country;
but not of large extent. On the tops of the hills near the lake is an abundance of pea-
vine to be found and other nutritious grasses. In some of the open spots is a species of
bunch-grass. There is room here for several good ranches. From the west end of Cheslahta Lake for 30 miles, bordering on Ootsa Lake, is a tract of at least 115,000 acres of
good grazing land, a large percentage of which is suitable for agriculture ; a good deal
of it is loamy soil. The country between that and Francais Lake is mostly timbered,
but wherever poplar occurs there is good grass, mostly pea-vine. The trail from Ootsa
Lake runs in a north-westerly direction to the west end of Francais Lake, a distance of
20 miles. The last 10 miles is mostly timbered, with occasional patches of open grassland. The Indians claim that the climate here is much better than at Bulkley, the snowfall being seldom more than 6 inches. From the west end of Francais Lake east on the
north side, as far as one could see, there is considerable good country, with occasional
large open patches covered with very fine grass. The Indians say that there is a large
amount of open country there.
" From here (August 10th) we went north a distance of 53 miles to Bulkley Valley.
For 12 miles through the valley of the Zumgozli River there is a very good grazing
country, after which the trail strikes the Bulkley. A good many pre-emption claims
had been staked off. Morice River, called after Father Morice, which is really the main
part of the Bulkley River, comes in from the south-west and contains at least five times
the volume of water that is in the river marked as ' Bulkley' going from the east. The
Zumgozli River goes from the south and east from a small lake. Fine gold has been
found on the Zumgozli and in some of its tributaries. No large extent of open country
exists here."
This is the farthest limit northward to which Mr. Mcintosh went 'on this trip.
Speaking generally, he says that the country is a pastoral one rather than agricultural,
although there are small areas of good agricultural land at points already indicated in
his journal. Wherever the poplar grows there is lots of grass, and, as a rule, along the
lakes and rivers grass is plentifully found. A good deal of the country is timbered, the
timber being sufficiently large for all local purposes, and in some places would be value-
able for export to the North-West. Wherever timber is cut down or burnt grass grows
up in abundance. The best route over which to build a waggon road into that country
is a difficult one to decide, and at the present time perhaps premature. Over the route
taken by Mr. Mcintosh the first 35 miles of it would be sonrewhat difficult over which
to build a waggon road ; the rest is practically easy. A good many bridges would have
to be built, which would greatly increase the expenditure. An old Indian woman told
Mr. Mcintosh that she remembered when she was a girl coming down a river from the
Ootsa Lake in a canoe and portaging a short distance to Eutsuk Lake, from which it is
only a short distance to Kitlo River. The Indians have travelled for centuries over the
Kemano River Pass and down to Gardner Canal.    This, however, is too steep to be
practicable for a waggon road.
Climatic and Other Conditions.
In regard to the climate and the country, Mr. Mcintosh writes as follows :—
"Considerable doubt has been expressed by people who have travelled in the
northern interior of British Columbia as to its suitability as an agricultural country, on
account of summer frosts. I can only speak from what I have seen myself, and I would
say that I left the Ootsa Lake country this year (1903) on August 28th, and up to that
date there had been no sign of summer frost. The Indians living at the west end of
Cheslahta Lake had some small patches of potatoes and other vegetables growing there, 31
and had there been any frost the potato tops would have shown sign of it and be blackened ; on the contrary, I never saw healthier or fresher looking tops. The pea vine also,
which is very easily blackened by frost, was untouched. The weather, during most of
the time I was in the Ootsa Lake country, from August 2nd to 28th, was rather hot.
There were thunder showers nearly every afternoon. The prevailing winds appear to
be from the west. We noticed that wherever a tree was blown down by the wind its
top was pointing east. The Indians said that Chinook winds blow frequently in winter,
taking away whatever snow there may be on the slopes facing the west and south. The
Indians have quite a number of horses in that country, which are allowed to roam at
will and make their own living in winter, without being fed by anyone.
" On the slopes of the hills facing the south and west, where the snow never covers
the grass, I think a limited number of cattle could also find sufficient feed in the winter
time. The Indians say that it is not nearly as cold in winter time in the Ootsa and
Cheslahta Lake country as it is around Fraser Lake or in the Bulkley Valley. The
eastern half of Francais Lake does not freeze over and some of the rivers also remain
open, so the Indians informed us.     This can only be accounted for by the proximity of
that portion of the country to the salt water at Kitlobe Inlet which extends well in
through the Coast Range, and a low pass at its head permitting the warm breezes fronr
the Pacific to enter the country and temper the climate. According to the Indians,
snow is all gone by the middle of the month of February and rain during the winter
months is unknown. The soil is very productive over a considerable portion of the
country between Ootsa and Francais Lakes, as well as in the Bulkley Valley, potatoes
and other vegetables, where planted, giving a large yield and of a superior quality. I
can see no reason why wheat, if sown, should not do well, as the soil and summer climate
is very similar to that of the North-West.
"The whole country affords excellent opportunities for the sportsman, game being
plentiful and the fishing the best in the world. The lakes are filled with trout and char-,
and a species of whitefish, but not the same as the whitefish of Manitoba. I have seen
the Indians set a small net about 60 feet long and 3 feet deep, in the evening, off a point
on Ootsa Lake, and in the morning there would be over 150 pounds of trout caught in
the net. We saw a good many deer while there. They are as heavy as two of the Coast
deer, and their flesh the tenderest meat I ever ate. They are always fat, as there is an
abundance of pea vine everywhere.
"Taking the open and partly open country lying between Ootsa Lake, on the south,
and the Hudson's Bay Co's. ranch in the Bulkley Valley, on the north, without going
east any farther than Fraser Lake, I consider there is ample room for 500 good stock- 32
ranches, and I know of no other country where the conditions are more favourable for
stock-raising, if it were not for the lack of roads, by which cattle could be driven to a
market, and by which provisions and implements could be brought in. The only way
at present to bring implements necessary for hay-making, etc., into the country is to
pack them on horseback over a very poor pack-trail, either from Hazelton or Bella Coola.
Should a settler wish to take his family there, the sanre difficulty presents itself, with
the result that unless a road is built men with families will not go there to settle, and
the country will likely fill up with bachelors and squaw men, who, as a rule, do not make
the most desirable settlers."
Extracts from Official  Reports of Surveys.
The several reports made on the Nechaco Valley agree that this district is one of
the most favoured in soil and climate of any in Western British Columbia. For stock-
raising, the valleys of the Endako and Bulkley Rivers offer more advantages than the
Nechaco Valley proper ; but this last, with its level plains, rich white silts, where a
stone cannot be found, certainly offers the greatest inducements to farmers when the
district shall have been opened up by communication. The first explorations of the
valley resulted in an estimate of 1,000 square miles of land fit for cultivation, hut subsequent investigation has proved that more than that amount of available land is to be
found in the Lower Nechaco alone. Wheat, barley, oats and vegetables of all kinds are
known to give good returns as far north as Telegraph Creek, which is situated in the
continuation of the same wonderful structural valley, which commences at the Fraser
River and continues north till it opens into the headwaters of the Yukon River—a
natural route for a through line of railway to the far north. The advantages which the
Nechaco Valley hold out to agriculturists are many ; hills are unknown, the soil is
rich and in a great part open ; the general altitude is much lower than that of the surrounding country ; the climate is milder, and the principal crops can be grown without
trouble.    In speaking generally of Nechaco Valley, Mr. Poudrier says :—
" Before giving a detailed description of the groirnd surveyed, it may be better to
give a general account of the whole valley. The Nechaco River takes its source near
the foot-hills of the Coast Range, south of the 53rd degree of north latitude, and near
the head of the Salmon River, which falls into Dean's Channel ; it runs north-easterly
for a long distance, receiving many large feeders, until it falls into a large trough or
depression, near Fraser Lake. This depression follows the 54th degree of latitude in its
general direction, and it has an average width of from ten to forty nriles. At the point
where the Nechaco reaches this wide valley its volume is largely increased by the Nant-
ley River which drains Fraser Lake, Lac des Francais and the valley of the Endako,
and it takes its course, winding through the valley but keeping a general course,
parallel to the 54th parallel of north latitude, until it reaches the FYaser River. This
large extent of land is drained by the Lower Nechaco from Fraser Lake to the 1'raser
River, and has a length of about 75 miles in a direct distance, and a width of from ten
to forty miles.
"Although the ground is generally covered with thickets of small trees, patches of
prairie of large extent often occur. These are always level and covered with the
greatest varieties of nutritious grasses.    These prairies appear to be nearly all caused by 33
fires. They are more abundant near the trails and rivers, where no doubt fires were
started by Indians or white men camping. On the north of the Nechaco very large
tracts of land have been burned, and are now fast becoming rich meadows, only a few
stumps and the remains of burned logs can be found. The whole country could be
cleared most effectually and cheaply by that means. The soil almost everywhere is of
the richest quality. It is composed of fine white silt with clay sub-soil; in some parts
the silt attains a thickness of over 40 feet. Not only is the grass very luxuriant on the
prairies, but even irr the wooded portion peavines and vetches of different species grow
to such a height that it renders travelling very difficult.
" It has long been the opinion of miners who have seen that country that summer
frosts would prove to be too severe for the cultivation of the soil. A very careful
examination of the flora, and additional informa.tion received from the Hudson's Bay
Company employees and others, enable me to form a different opinion. Barley, oats,
and all kinds of common vegetables, have been grown successfully at Fort Fraser, and
further north arrd in a higher altitude. At Fort St. James cultivation is also very successfully carried on. The Indians grow potatoes, turnips and cabbages, and although
their mode of culture is most primitive, they always have a good yield. A great portion
of the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick were so subject to summer frosts when
they were first settled, so much so that no crops could be raised for many years until
the clearing had reached a very large area. Should some parts of the Nechaco Valley
be so exposed, no doubt the clearing or burning would have the same beneficial effect.
" I have seen in many places heads of wheat, probably brought amongst other grain
by pack trains, thoroughly ripe ; and timothy and clover are also found in many places
along the trails. I have no doubt that an early wheat, like Ladoga, or Red Fife, could
be successfully grown, at least over the largest part of the valley.
" According to Professor Macoun, the flora resembles very much that of Belleville,
Ont. I would compare the climate to that in the vicinity of Quebec, without the heavy
snowfall. According to all information and signs, the snow does not appear to attain
a greater depth than fifteen inches in the lower part of the valley; it may be somewhat
more near Lac des Francais.
" The rain is not abundant in summer, but quite sufficient to enable farming to be
done without irrigation. The cold is said to be very severe in winter, but the atmosphere
is always clear and calm. The summer is very hot, and with the long days in that
latitude there is all the chance possible for vegetation. In certain portions of the surveyed ground the timber is too small for construction, but a good supply of fair tinrber
can always be had cheaply from along the river or from the shores of the lakes."
The following is a detailed description of lands in Nechaco Valley surveyed by Mr.
Strathern, P. L. S. :—
" Township 1 East, Range 1 North.
"Sections 1, 2 and 3.—The southern portion of these sections is covered with pine,
spruce and poplar, averaging from twelve to eighteen inches in diameter, and suitable
for saw-milling purposes; The land has a gradiral slope to the north until it reaches the
crest of the ridge, which is the southern limit of the river valley. All along the slope
of this ridge, across the township, is generally good pine and spruce. The northern
portions of these sections are cut into by the Nechaco River, along which there are some
good hay meadows of small extent.
" Sections 4, 5 and 6.—The southern portions of these sections are timbered principally by poplar, ranging from three to ten inches in diameter. They have a gradual
slope to the north, as far as the top of the ridge. Stony Creek flows through the
northern part of sections 5 and 6, along which there is a considerable amount of good
hay land.
'' Sections 7 to 12 inclusive.—The Nechaco River flows through this tier of sections,
from west to east of the township, and is a river of first importance in that country, of
which I shall speak further on. All that portion of sections 7, 8 and 9, south of the
river, is covered with hay meadows and light scrub, with occasional clumps of poplar.
That portion north of the river is principally scrub and small willow.
" Section 10.—This section is altogether hay meadow and scrub. There are about
200 acres of hay land, with bunches of small willow intermixed on this section. 34
" Sections 11 and 12.—All that portion of these sections close to the river is generally scrub and small willow. The northern portion is timbered with spruce, poplar and
" Sections 13 to 18, inclusive.—This tier of sections is tinrbered principally with
poplar and scrub, and scattering bunches of spruce through the sections, with a great
many small patches of open prairie intermixed. On section 16 there is a small, shallow
lake, of about twenty acres in extent, surrounded by hay meadows and willow. Through
sections 16, 17 and 18, a large creek flows fronr the north-west, all along in the valley of
which is good hay land, and on the banks are some fine stretches of open prairie.
" Sections 19 to 24, inclusive.—On section 19 there is a large amount of open prairie
throughout, with good hay along the creek bottom. The north halves of sections 20
21, 22 and 23 have a large proportion of burned land and scrub, the southern portions
are timbered with light poplar and scrub, with scattering spruce and patches of prairie
intermixed. Section 24 has about 200 acres of open prairie in it, the balance being
burned land and scrub, with bunches of poplar and spruce.
"Sections 25 to 30, inclusive.—25, 26 and 27 are principally burned land with
patches of hay meadow and scrub. Section 28 is also partly burned land and scrub.
Sections 29 and 30 are timbered principally with poplar, with a large amount of prairie
in patches, and one piece of prairie on section 30 contains about 300 acres. C7"3       CD
" Section 31 consists of spruce and poplar and burned land. The base of the'ridge
forming the watershed between the Nechaco and Stuart Rivers crosses through the
north-east quarter of this section. On the south half of section 32 there is a large
beaver meadow, partly open and partly intermixed with clumps of willow. The north
half is principally on the divide, and rs light, gravelly soil. The northerly portions of
sections 33, 34 and 35, and most of section 36, are on the divide, and are timbered
generally with pine and spruce, the soil being light and gravelly. The balance of these
sections is on the flat, and is good land, mostly burned, with clumps of spruce, popular
and scrub.
" Township 2 East, Range 1 North.
" There is only a small part of the southern portion of this township surveyed.
"Sections 1, 2 and 3.—Sections 1 and 2 are timbered with light poplar and scrub,
with occasional patches of spruce, burned land and prairie intermixed. Section 3 is
broken by the ridge, which follows the edge of the river bottom, and a large creek
coming from the north-west. The river also cuts the south-west corner of this section.
All that portion between the foot of the ridge and the river is timbered with light scrub ■
and willow ; that portion above the ridge with poplar, scrub and spruce. 35
"Sections 4, 5 and 6.—The Nechaco River flows through these sections, all the
valley of which is covered with light scrub, willow and scattering poplar. The portions
on the ridge south of the river are timbered principally with good pine and spruce ; the
portion north of the river, with spruce, poplar and scrub.
" Section 12.—On this section there is a large amount of dead timber, partly fallen,
with clumps of pirre, spruce and poplar intermixed.
"Section 11.—This section is timbered with poplar, pine and spruce, principally
poplar.    There are several small hay meadows through this section.
" This completes all that was surveyed in this township this year. All the land
surveyed in this township is of good quality, and that portion yet to be surveyed is a
vast level plain, with a great many large tracts of prairie scattered through it.
" Before closing this report, I might say that all the land surveyed by me this season
is of a superior quality, composed, as it is, of clay loam and white silts, and there is not
a half section in the entire season's work which would not make a good farm, with the
exception of section 36 and the north halves of sections 32, 33, 34 and 35, which are on
the divide between the waters flowing into Nechaco and Stuart Rivers. The land is
entirely free fronr rolling stone or rock, and is lightly timbered and easily cleared. In
fact, the ease with which it is cleared is going to be the greatest danger, as grass grows
everywhere through the timber, when it is pine, or spruce, or scattered poplar. It is
going to be a difficult matter to control fires during the progress of clearing, and I
observe it takes only two fires to do the work of clearing, one to kill the standing
timber, and the other leaves it clear burned land. The whole country is one vast undulating plain, with a gentle inclination towards the east. From the top of a bare hill,
about three hundred feet above the surrounding plateau, and about half a mile north of
the north boundary of section 34, I had a complete view of the entire country, as far
west as the eye could carry, looking up the Nechaco River, and southward I could see
all the country east of the Telegraph range of mountains, and could discern the valley
where the Chillaco River cuts through the Telegraph range, and thence on south to the
high bluffs south of the Blackwater River, which is about seventy miles from where I
stood ; and, in a south-easterly direction the view was only limited by distance ; and in
all the vast plateau there was only one small mountain that was as high as the point
of view where I stood. The day being perfectly clear, I had a good opportunity of
observing this vast plain, and after careful computation I concluded that about one-third
was timbered with spruce, and two-thirds with poplar or Cottonwood, and from a close
inspection of the land along the Telegraph trail, on the way going in, I am satisfied that
there is from 60 to 70 per cent, of good farming land, and that which would not rank
as farming land could be made first-class grazing land at a small outlay. Fire will do
it alone.
"Amongst some who have crossed that country, going to and coming fronr the mines
in the north, there appears to be a prevailing idea that it is too cold in summer for the
successful cultivation of wheat. I do not share in this belief. That there are summer
frosts it is true, but I am thoroughly satisfied that, if the country was once settled and
the red soil turned up to the sun, that frost would disappear, as it has done in other
parts (witness all that country around Seaforth, Ontario). Where the Indians can raise
all kinds of garden vegetables and potatoes, under their rude state of agriculture, I
believe a white man, with judgment, can grow anything he wants to."
The following is a description of the different lands surveyed by Mr. D. T. Thomson,
P. L. S., made in the same year, to which is added a few general remarks :—
Township 1 West, Range  1 North.
" Section 1.—Flat along south bounndary ; descend a steep bank to Stony Creek,
which creek is fringed on both sides with swamp lands, containing some good hay
meadows, though interspersed with numerous clumps of willow. A small part of the
north portion of this section is good, open land, with scattering poplar and a few pine
of small size; soil silts, and, in places, black loam is found.
" Section 2.—The south half of the section is principally along the ridge. The
north-west part of the south half takes in the creek and some prairie land to a small
extent. The timber is chiefly poplar, quite thick on the top of the ridge, but of small
growth, with some few spruce and pine. In the creek bottom there are some good hay
meadows, and the soil is very rich in these bottoms, though at present a little wet; I
however, drainage could, with little outlay, be procured.    The north  half takes in a j
considerable portion of the creek bottom aud a large portion of the prairie, and is a very
good section for a pre-emption, as there is lots of wood, hay and water on it.    This
portion of the section is at present held by one of the survey men, Robert Brittle.
" Section 3.—Partly on side-hill, not steep ; north half is the best, the poplar not
being so thick, and the ground generally more level than on the south half, and taking
in a small portion of the prairie ; soil, loam, with subsoil of silts.
" Section 4.—North half the best, lightly timbered; soil, chiefly loam ; subsoil, silts.
South half, rolling ; soil, light.
"Section 5.—South half rolling, partly on side-hill, and thickly timbered with
poplar ; north half not so thickly timbered. A hay meadow runs through north half,
with spring creek ; soil, loam.
"Section 6.—North half, thickly timbered; some very fine spruce, 3 to 4 feet in
diameter.    South half, rolling, with thick growth of poplar.    Soil, loam ; subsoil, silts.
" Section 7.—Rolling land, heavily timbered with small poplar.
" Section 8.—Composed of rolling land, more or less covered with thick growth of
" Section 9.—This section is not thickly timbered, arrd has a creek running through
it; the soil is chiefly loam ; subsoil, silts.
"Section 10.—South half, good agricultural land ; no thick timber ; has a stream
running through it; has been partially burned. North half, good land, but on rising
ground.    Soil loam ; subsoil, silts.
" Section 11.—South half contains a considerable portion of prairie land, with rising
ground to the north, thickly timbered with poplar of light growth. The north half is
slightly broken by ravines, and is thickly timbered with poplar and a few pine.
"Section 12.—A large portion of this section is taken up by the Indian Reserve;
the portion not so taken up is partly swamp and partly high sandy land, covered with
pine of poor quality.
" Section 13.—This section is situated on the north side of the Nechaco River, and
is generally fitted for cultivation, the north half being covered with poplar interspersed
with patches of prairie. The south half carries heavier timber, with a few spruce of
good size.
"Section 14.—This section is intersected by the Nechaco River. The south half is
thickly timbered with poplar and has a good deal of rolling land in the vicinity of the
river.    The north half is more uniform, and the poplar is small and not so dense. 37
" Section 15.—The north-east quarter of this section is intersected by the Nechaco
River. The whole section is thickly timbered with poplar and small growth of spruce.
This section is very rough, being partially covered by a large quantity of fallen timber.
The soil is, generally speaking, silts.
"Sections 16, 17 and 18.—These sections are all thickly covered with a small
growth of poplar, with occasional spruce of small dimensions, and a few pine. The soil
is loam, with subsoil of silts.
"Sections 19 and 20.—These sections are also, like the last mentioned, covered
with a growth of poplar and small spruce. Both sections are intersected by a creek
running through them. The soil is more inclined to be of a sandy nature, though in
the southern portions the soil is chiefly loam.
" Section 21.—The north half of this section is intersected by the Nechaco River
running through it, and by a creek coming in from the north. The part of the section
to the south of the Nechaco is densely wooded, and has a good deal of rolling land. The
part to the north of the river is more open, though inclined to be rolling, and along the
creek bottom there is a thick growth of willow.
" Section 22.—This section is also intersected by the Nechaco River. The north
half is lightly timbered with small poplar, interspersed with patches of prairie, and is
suitable for agriculture or stock-raising. The south half is more thickly timbered,
though with a little labour it could easily be cleared.    Soil, silts.
" Sections 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27.—These sections are all good, being lightly timbered
with poplar, interspersed with patches of prairie, and suitable either for stock-raising or
for agricultrrral purposes. In Sections 24 and 25 there is a good creek running with a
lasting supply of water.    The soil is a rich black loam with a subsoil of silts.
" Section 28.—This section is more or less broken by a stream that runs through it,
the bottom, along the stream being thickly covered with willow. The remaining portion
of the section is thickly timbered with small poplar and occasional spruce and pine.
" Sections 29, 30, 31, 32 and 33.—These sections are all more or less thickly covered
with a growth of pine and spruce. They are useless for agricultural purposes, as the
soil is chiefly sandy. The Nechaco River intersects Sections 29 and 31, with high bank
on the south side. There is a large ravine with a creek running through Sections 31
and 32. These sections might be made use of for stock purposes during the summer
months, as there is a plentiful supply of grass on them.
" Section 34.—This section is intersected by the same creek as Section 28, and, the
northern portion of it is taken up by a large beaver meadow which, with a little expenditure, might be made into a good piece of agricultural land, as there is good drainage
by means of the creek that runs through it. The soil is a black loam. Timber, where
found, poplar and spruce.
" Sections 35 and 36.—These sections are more or less timbered with a growth of
poplar. They are very rough, as they have been burnt over and are covered with windfalls. The eastern boundary of Section 36 runs through a swamp for some distance,
with some fair-sized spruce in it. The Stuart Lake trail runs-through Sections 24, 25
and 35.
" Township 1 West, Range 1 South.
" The northern part of this Township, being composed of Sections 25, 26, 27, 28, 29,
and 30, is all that has been surveyed, the remaining portion of the Township being taken
up by the Stony Creek Indian Reserve, and Tachic and Noolki Lakes. The part that
has been surveyed is good land, thickly timbered with small growth of poplar. Stony
Creek runs through this portion of the Township on its way to the Nechaco, and offers
a good opportunity for a mill-site, as there is a fall on the creek of nearly thirty feet.
The lakes in this Township abound in fish, which is the staple diet of the Indians in the
" Fish and Game.
'' During the latter part of August and the month of September the Nechaco
abounds with salnron, which make their way from the sea to their spawning grounds,
and are at this tinre taken in thousands by the Indians, who dry them for their winter
supply of food. Trout and sturgeon are also numerous, and a small fish that the Indians
call whitefish, though it has no resemblance to the whitefish of the North-West
Territories. Deer are not numerous in the summer season, although numbers of tracks
were seen.    Bear are very plentiful, and are caught by the Indians with snares set in 38
J ^
the same manner as a rabbit snare. Coyotes are plentiful and, as a rule, make the nigh,
hideous by their howlings until one gets used to them. Rabbits are there in abundancet
and, with fish, make up the chief article of food the Indian has to depend upon.
" The fur-bearing animals, though not so plentiful now as in the past, are still
numerous, and are composed of beaver, otter, fisher, lynx, rrrarten, wolverine, fox and
muskrat. During the fall and until late in the season, the lakes and river teem with
ducks and geese of all kinds, and are easily got at, as one finds plenty of cover all along
the shore line.
" Roots and Cereals.
" The Indians in the Nechaco District raise potatoes of a very good quality, turnips,
cabbage and onions, whilst at Fort Fraser the Hudson's Bay Company raise very fine
samples of each of the above mentioned. When on a visit to Fort Fraser I saw a stack
of oats, all of which were in splendid condition and had not the least appearance of
having been touched by frost.
" Climate.
" The climate is all that could be wished for, no extremes ; the days during the
summer months, though hot, are never uncomfortably so, whilst the nights are generally
so cool that a blarrket is acceptable. During the winter, I ascertained from the Indians,
the snowfall is light, and although sometimes the glass drops very low, as a rule the
weather is not very severe. They informed me that they never thought of feeding
their cattle until about Christmas, and that in March they could be, as a general rule,
turned out again.
"Now and then during the season light summer frosts occur, but, owing to the
warm nature of the soil, they seem to do little damage ; and I have no doubt that as
the country becomes opened up and the soil turned over, these frosts will entirely disappear. " 40
Reports by Mr. Bell and Dr. G. M. Dawson.
Mr. H. P. Bell, M. I. C. E., made a report in 1896 for the Provincial Government,
in connection with the then proposed British Pacific Railway from Y ellowhead Pass to
Bute Inlet.    He says :—
" The eastern flank of the Coast Range of British Columbia possesses pastoral lands
of exceptional excellence, Some time was spent this past summer in the exanrination of
those lying east of the mountains along the foot-hills between the Chilco River and the
west end of Tatla Lake. It would be difficult to find a better section of country for
eattle-raising than a large proportion of this, or to see fatter cattle than those to be found
at Tatla Lake and vicinity. The prevalence of the Chinook wind upon the eastern flank
and foot-hills of the Coast Range has a favourable influence on the climate and capabilities of that belt of country.
"The measure of the capacity of a good cattle ranch in this section of country is
said to consist of its abilitj' to furnish winter feed, and in this respect the eastern flank
and foot-hills of the Cascade Range afford opportunities, although necessitating
preparatory work in some instances—as, for example, when beaver dams are found upon
the outlet from a nreadow, the proper regulation of which will furnish the means of both
drainage and irrigation.*
"The configuration of the country examined along the eastern foot-hills of the Coast
Range would, if divided into homesteads with reference to utilising the neighbouring
ranges, probably provide all the winter feed required for a long time to come for the
respective locations so set apart. It is not to be supposed that, with the lapse of time
and the accumulation of stock, natural meadows could be found for every settler;
but it will be noticed by those who traverse the country that the opportunities afforded
by nature for the making of meadows with a minimum of clearing are many. In some
cases creeks for irrigation purposes present themselves, and in others irrigation is not so
much required as drainage. Some of the best natural grasses known may be grown here
upon an extensive scale, for no more trouble than the cutting and burning of one crop and
the sowing of another, for a confirmation of which an inspection of the native grasses
now cultivated at the west end of Tatla Lake will suffice.
"Having made one trH from Tatla Lake to a summit of the Southgate River, and
returned after making a south-westerly exploration to the Chilco River, the number' of
good locations seen were certainly more than one would expect to find from a cursory
examination of the existing travelled routes. +
" It has been stated by the present Director of the Dominion Government Geological
Survey, G. M. Dawson, C.M.G., LL.D., F.R.S., that many of the mountain tops
throughout British Columbia furnish nutritive summer pastures for cattle. The expedition above referred to is a corroboration of that statement, as good pasture was found
at 5,000 feet over sea level, together with an immunity from the pest of sunrrner flies. X
" *At one of the highest cattle ranges in British Columbia, the following information was given :—That
they used as a general average for winter feed one ton of hay per day for 300 head of cattle for a period of
from one to twro months' duration, and in the worst of seasons the same amount of feed per day for four
months. This present winter they had put up 186 tons of hay for 300 head of cattle and 100 calves. Nature
seems to have supplemented the higher ranges with more abundant natural hay meadows than the lower
levels of the country, a beneficent provision more than once noted during the summer of 1895.
" t In the neighbourhood of Choilquoit Lake there is an open slope with a southerly exposure where the
Indians of the country round about have been accustomed to winter their horses. In reply to a question
as to the depth of snow in the winter, a very old Indian replied by intercepting six inches of the end of his
riding stick and holding it up. He said that no horse had ever died there, because the wind came and took
away the snow. All the horses seen travelling with Indians in this vicinity were in good condition. Asked
how long Tatlaico Lake wras generally frozen during winter, the same Indian said, not more than a few-
days before the wind comes and takes away the snow. The same testimony is corroborated by settlers of
that vicinity.
"J There is a mountain some twenty miles west of Tatla Lake where a party went to shoot caribou.
Having turned their horses loose upon the top of the mountain they were subsequently found in an
extensive pasture and in good condition." 41
" With reference to the quality of the pasture to be found in this district, it is
yarious. On open side-hills facing south, it is bunch grass; in partially timbered areas,
timber grass, mixed with wild vetches and pea-vine. It is sometimes said that animals
do not care for timber grass, but it is well known in this district that cattle will often
leave bunch-grass during the summer to feed in the timber, and that they maintain their
condition equally as well as cattle fed upon bunch-grass alone.
Between Quesnel and Stuart Lake.
What follows is taken from Dr. Dawson's reports to the Dominion Government in
connection with the Geological Survey and the Exploratory Surveys for the Canadian
Pacific Railway :—
"From Quesnel to the Westroad River (Blackwater) and thence to Sinkut Lake,
our route followed the old Overland Telegraph line. The country is generally level, or
only slightly undulatirrg. There are numbers of small lakes abounding with fish, and
though the soil is almost always light, and sometimes on the ridges too sandy or gravelly
to be fit for cultivation, there are nevertheless considerable tracts of good agricultural
land on open or lightly timbered flats and slopes along the borders of the lakes and along
the streams and rivers, among which may be mentioned Westroad River, Chilaco River,
Nechaco River and Stuart River ; also Naltesby, Eulatatzela and Sinkut Lakes. At
the crossing place on the Nechaco, and between it and Stony Creek, there are extensive
areas of the richest land, covered with luxuriant herbage, and similar fine land occurs
at intervals along the valley to Fraser Lake where most of the horses and cattle belong-
ing to the Hudson's Bay Company are sent from other posts to winter on account of the
abundance of fine grass and the light snowfall, as compared with that of Fort George, or
even at Stuart Lake.
" The average elevation of the country between the Westroad River and the
Nechaco is probably not less than 2,400 feet, and the valleys of the principal streams
being everywhere from 250 to 500 feet lower, are generally reached by a succession of
terraced steps cut in the sand and gravel deposits which are so widely distributed over
the whole of the great central plateau of British Columbia, and up to elevations of more
than 3,000 feet. The relation of these deposits to the underlying tertiary lignite formation is fully described in Mr. G. M. Dawson's report, and the terraces are well shown
in his sketch of Blackwater Valley, as well as in the photographs which I took of the
same valley from above the lower crossing place Similar terraces are more or less a
characteristic of almost every river valley which we crossed, both east and west of the
Rocky Mountains.
"General Description of Survey Route.
" The region examined lies between the Fraser River and the Cascade Range, the
52nd and 54th parallels of latitude, and, except where the Cascade Mountains are
touched on, is a part of the geographical valley of the Fraser. It belongs, in the main,
to the basaltic or volcanic plateau of the interior, though in many places older rocks
standout above the general level of the igneous material, and in some instances appear
in the valleys of the rivers, where it has been removed by erosion.
" Opposite Soda Creek a very steep ascent is made to the summit of the terrace or
bench, which here immediately overlooks the river, and rises to a height of about 340
feet above it; or, taking the elevation of Soda Creek at 1,690 feet, 2,030 feet above the
sea. In following the trail southward towards Riske Creek, which flows into the Fraser
a short distance above the Chilcotin, the route lies for the most part along the same
'high terrace, which, for about twenty miles, or to Meldrum's farm, is quite narrow. To
the west the view is bounded by a range of rocky hills and cliffs, which in some places
•closely approach the river. No water was found along this part of the trail, though it
is constantly necessary to cross little ravines which notch the front of the terrace, the
drainage during the dry season appearing to be entirely subterranean through the porous
drift material. From Meldrum's to Riske's the appearance of the country is much
improved ; the more or less rolling surface of the terrace spreads into a wide plateau,
and belts of timber alternate with large patches of open prairie covered with luxuriant
grass, giving a park-like aspect to the scenery. The average altitude is probably about
■3,200 feet (1,500 feet above Fraser River). The trees forming the woods, which are
usually open, are Douglas fir {Abies Douglassii) of medium size, and scrub pine (Pinus
\Contorta). Aspen, poplar, various willows, roses, and Shepherdia Canadensis form the
rrndergrowth. Solidagos and asters of several species abound; also a castilleia (probably
(7. pallida), Spiraea betulifolia, at this date nearly past flowering, Geniiana amarella,
Galium boreale, past flowering, and a delicate species of Astragalus. In the meadows,
in addition, appear Geranium Fremontii, Heuchera Richardsoni, and in some places
Geum triflorum. The flora shows in many points a marked resemblance to that of the
fertile region along the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains in the vicinity of the 49th
parallel at a height of 4,000 feet, and the vegetation appeared to be at about the same
stage at a similar date in the two localities, comparing together the years 1874 and 1875.
"The Chilcotin Valley.
"A rapid descent is made fronr the plateau to the lower bench, on which Riske's
farm is situated. Its elevation is about 2,400 feet, but fine crops are produced with
irrigation. These lower terraces and valleys appear to be not only warmer but drier
than the plateau above and the vegetation changes considerably. Artemisia frigida and
A. Canadensis become abundant, and lynosyris, and here and there a stunted cactus
" From Riske Creek the trail passes south-westward across the plateau to the
northern bank of the Chilcotin Valley. The surface of the country is generally open
prairie and is clothed with bunch-grass, forming a fine grazing and stock-raising region,
for which purpose it is already partly occupied. At about nine miles from Riske's the
highest part of the plateau is reached, and from thence it slopes slightly toward the
Chilcotin, affording a magnificent view south-westward.     Beyond the deep Chilcotin 43
Valley, and rising gently in receding from it, the same plain is seen to stretch for many
miles, diversified with prairie and woodland. Then a bounding range of low hills, with
gentle slopes wooded to the summits appear, beyond which the snow-clad peaks of the
Cascade or Coast Range Mountains are seen at a great distance.
"About seven miles beyond the point at which the trail first reaches the Chilcotin
Valley it leaves the plateau and goes down into the valley bottom, which it then follows.
Opposite the place of descent is a conspicuous mountain, apparently in great part composed of limestone, which forms the southern side of the valley and rises to a considerable
height above the level of the plain. From this place to the junction with the Chilcotin
or Alexis Creek, fifteen miles, the valley has a pleasing appearance, being wide and
though in some places hummocky, with much level land, forming broad terraces at a
small height above the river. These are generally prairie-like and covered with bunch-
grass. The vegetation of the lower levels of the valley, as a whole, resembles that of
Riske Creek above mentioned. At Alexis Creek are a few Indian houses, and farming
on a very limited scale is attempted. On the night of August 25th a sharp frost was
experienced, arrd on the 27th the tops of the potatoes in the Indians' gardens were
observed to be killed down. The area of cultivable land in this part of the Chilcotin
Valley may be about 7,000 acres. The plateau above the river is here generally densely-
wooded, and the rim of the valley from a short distance above Alexis Creek, probably to
its junction with the Fraser, is very definitely formed by almost continuous cliffs of
"The Blackwater District.
"The Blackwater, above its junction with the Nazco, carries probably four times
the volume of water of the latter stream, but is easily fordable in some places. The
united streams form a considerable river, which, turning abruptly from the former course
of the Blackwater, runs nearly north for about ten miles. The valley is wide and flat-
bottomed, with occasional grassy meadows, but in general well timbered. The western
seems, as a rule, to be steeper than the eastern bank, and the stream winds fronr side to
side, and occasionally cuts into both, showing a great thickness of rounded gravel
deposits. A deep valley, with a string of lakes and ponds, follows, nearly parallel to
the river, a short distance west of it, for some miles, and though now largely filled with
drift material, has the appearance of being a former channel of the river itself.
" The blueberry ( Vaccinium sp.) and white birch, seen rarely, if at all, since leaving
the immediate neighbourhood of the Cascade Mountains, were again met with in some
abundance near the mouth of the Nazco.
" Where the Blackwater resumes its westward course it breaks through a range of
high hills, which cross it with a nearly north and south direction. Its valley here
becomes narrow and rocky, though seldom precipitous, and has been called the Upper
Blackwater Canyon. On approaching the hills from the west the surface becomes more
broken and much angular rock debris derived from them is mingled with the drift.
From the eastern slope of the hill, where the Bella Coola trail commences its descent,
after having reached an elevation of nearly 1,000 feet above the river, an extensive and
apparently nearly level plain is seen to stretch eastward. It includes the country
lying north of the Blackwater, about the southern sources of the Chilaco, and is bounded
only by the mountains beyond the Fraser River, at a distance of twenty miles. Where
crossed by the location line its average elevation is 2,660 feet, and it has all the appearance of a region either underlaid by a soft or little disturbed formation, or levelled up
with a great thickness of drift. On descending to the plain the growth of the timber
is found to improve much, and groves of large Douglas fir frequently occur. The surface
is generally undulating, with a sandy or clayey soil, with moist hollows supporting large
alders, and might be valuable agriculturally in some places, if not too high. The valley
of the Blackwater is now of great size, and depressed at least 300 feet below the general
level of the country. It is usually flat-bottomed, terraced along the sides in sorrre places,
and densely wooded, few good meadows appearing. It retains this character to the
crossing place of the old Telegraph Trail, a distance of six miles. Below the bridge at
the crossing is the Lower Blackwater Canyon, where the river again breaks through
older disturbed rocks and flows for some distance between perpendicular rocky cliffs
more than 100 feet in height. I succeeded in getting from the bridge, eastward, to
within about six miles from the junction of the Blackwater with the Fraser. The valley
does not again open out, and hard rocks frequently occur near the margin of the river. 44
As seen from the Fraser River, it has the same gorge-like character at its mouth. West
of the bridge there is a very fine display of terraces at many different levels, which, near
the canyon, successively approach the river and contract the valley.
'' Fronr Blackwater Bridge to Fort George the direct trail, which crosses the plateau
and ridges lying between the Fraser and Chilaco Valley, in a nearly parallel direction,
at a few miles' distance. Twelve miles north of the Blackwater is Pun-chaw Lake, a
pretty sheet of water nearly two miles in length, which, according to the Indians, discharges south-eastward into the Blackwater. The intervening country is gently undulating, but becomes hilly toward the lake, and is thickly covered with scrub pine and
Douglas fir of medium size. Passing for fourteen miles further northward over a
succession of mounds and ridges, probably for the most part composed of drift, a small
running stream is reached, which, the Indians say, rises in two large lakes to the
north-east, called Chus-wuz, and, after joining two other streams west of the trail, flows
westward into the Chilaco. Four miles beyond the brook is a very prominent rocky
hill, called Tsa-whuz, of which the probable height, by a single aneroid observation, is
3,240 feet, and which rises about 800 feet above the surrounding country. From its
summit a very extensive view was obtained. Stretching eastward to the Fraser River
is a triangular area of low and nearly flat land, but in all other directions the surface is
broken by hillocks and ridges. The wdrole country is forest-clad, mostly with coniferous
trees of small or medium growth, but many limited patches of aspen poplar were very
apparent from their bright autumnal tint. Tsa whuz, though when viewed from the:
south, appearing conical, slopes gently away northward, its longest axis being N. 60° W.
(Mag.) in direction. Besid's the more prominent ridges, the general surface of the
country is lumpy, the lorrger axes of all the elevations and depressions lying approximately north and south This is especially apparent in the region immediately south of
the mountain, where small ridges run S. 1° E., and are very closely packed, the valleys
between them being steep and narrow. These minor elevations also very generally show
a 'crag and tail' form, the longer slopes being, like that of the mountain itself, northward. In some cases small surfaces of rock appear, but in general only drift material
is seen. ,   . 45
"The Country around Fort George.
"Six miles northward of Tsa-whuz the trail passes about a mile west of a large
lake, krrown to the Indians as Nads-il-nich. F'ive miles further on the brook flowing
from this lake to the Chilaco is crossed, and in eleven miles Fort George, at the confluence of the Fraser and Nechaco Rivers, is reached. After crossing the second of two
prominent ridges, which lie one on either side of Lake Nads-il-nich, and run nearly
north and south, the surface of the country slopes rapidly northward towards a low,
level horizon. The ridges, which do not here appear1 to have any very definite direction,
are composed of well-rounded shingle, and the hollows intervening become larger in
proportion, with a clayey soil, and support a dense growth of black spruce, with occasional large birches, balsam poplars and Douglas firs. There is continued evidence of
approach to a region with greater rainfall in passing from Blackwater to Fort George.
Mosses and various species of Lycopodium begin to grow abundantly in the woods, and
a few miles before reaching Fort George specimens of Ledum latifolium were seen for
the first time.
'' Surrounding Fort George is an area of probably from 2,000 to 3,000 acres, elevated
only about thirty feet above the Fraser River, and bounded to the south and west by
the escarpment of the high-level plain above. Such crops as have been tried succeed
" Valley of the Blackwater North of the Cluscus Lake.
" This part of the Blackwater Valley, like most of its length between this place and'
the bridge at the Lower Canyon, has much resemblance to that of the Eu-chan-i-ko above
described, but is on a larger scale. The north slope is generally bare, or but lightly
tree-clad, with bunch-grass, wild onions, bearberry, vetch, strawberry and Galium
borealis, while thickets of willow and dwarf birch (Behda glandulosa) fringe the stream.
The south bank presents a somewhat similar assemblage of plants, but is much more
thickly timbered with scrub pine and poplar and occasional groves of black spruce.
The appearance of the river valley is pleasing, and there is abundance of good grazing
for animals, wdiich the winter snows can not be deep enough entirely to cover, as the
Indians of Cluscus Lake own a number of horses which are allowed to live as best they
can at all seasons. The sloping sides of the valley are generally steep, but show little
rock, being covered with terraced drift material. At this place a very conspicuous bench
may be traced running for miles along the valley at an elevation (at Cush-ya, sometimes
called Upper Eu-chen-i-ko Lake) of 296 feet above the river, or 3,476 feet above the sea.
The river itself flows rather rapidly between the long lake-like expansions which here
characterise it and add greatly to the beauty of the landscape. Whether these lakes
are held in by rocky barriers or dammed merely by drift material, I have been unable to
satisfy myself.
"The Blackwater is crossed at several places by the Indiarrs when on the way to
Cluscus Lakes, but of these the best known is at the junction of the Cluscus Stream.
At high water the river can only be crossed in this vicinity by rafting, but this is easily
effected. The Cluscus Stream was estinrated on June 15th to have a width of twenty
feet by two feet in depth and slope of about one to ten. Its water had a temperature of
61.5°; that of the Blackwater being 53.5°. The trail follows the stream southward
for about half a mile and then turns westward along the northern border of the lakes.
The lower lake has an estimated total length of about six miles, with a width of less
than half a mile at its upper end and quite narrow and river-like at its lower. It is
separated by a stream of about a mile and a half irr length from the upper lake, which,
with a length of scarcely three miles, has a width of about three-quarters of a mile at its
upper end, and holds two small islands. The water feeding these lakes must enter the
upper on its southern side, and from its high temperature is probably derived from other
shallow iakes or extensive swamps. The country along the north side of the first lake
is of very pleasing appearance, sloping gently with an undulating sirrface to the water
and dotted with groves of aspen and spruce, where not covered with luxuriant grass.
The northern slope of the upper lake is similar but steeper, and showing a smaller area
of grazing land. The lower lake stands about forty feet higher than the Blackwater
River. A terrace estimated at 100 feet to 120 feet above it is visible, and a second near
its lower end at an elevation of about 300 feet. The valley which contains the lake is
seen to continue eastward beyond its outflow. At the west end of the first lake an
Indian house is situated, and this has for a long time been a rendezvous for the natives,
the site of an old establishment of the Hudson's Bay Company being visible near at
I 46
hand. The trail now described was that followed by Sir Alexander Mackenzie when on
his way to the sea, the name obtained by him from the natives of the locality being
Sloua-cuss-dinais. There were at the time of his visit two houses at the upper end of
the first lake, whic'', as he says, ' occupied a most delightful situation.'
" Fraser Lake and Fort Fraser.
"Fraser Lake (Nau-tley of the Indians) is about twelve miles in length, shallow at
both ends, but apparently deep in its central portion. Its elevation is about 2,225 feet.
It discharges eastward, over low ground forming a continuation of the trough in which
it lies, on a part of which Fort Fraser is situated. The country about its west end is
also low, and in part swampy. Near Fort Fraser is the Indiarr village of Nau-tley, and
at the other end of that of Stella, each inhabited by a few families, the remnants of a
once more numerous tribe, who appear to live in comparative comfort, and cultivate
small garden patches, but are neither industrious nor cleanly.
" The lake is bordered to the north and south by rather bold and broken hills, some
of which probably rise from 600 to 800 feet above it, and are of Tertiary volcanic rocks.
There are, however, in some places patches of flat terrace country of considerable size,
suitable for agriculture, where the bays of a former larger lake have been filled with
sediment. Benches are distinguishable on the higher slopes to a height estimated at
over 200 feet above the lake, or 2,450 feet above the sea. The hills on the north side
show a general tendency to form ranges, which run from the lake in a north-westward
direction, with steep, bluffy fronts south-westward, and longer slopes to the north-east.
The Douglas fir again appears in some abundance on the hills about Fraser Lake, though
not observed in any part of the Upper Nechaco country.
"The Stellako River, uniting Francois and Fraser Lakes, is wide and still at its
mouth, on the south side of which the Indian village lies. On its north side it is joined
by a stream called the En-dako, coming from a direction a little north of west, and
navigable for canoes one day's journey, to a lake which is described as not being very
large. The Stellako soon becomes more rapid when followed up, and for the greater
part of its course may be described as a succession of rapids, difficult for canoes-, in
consequence of their shallowness and the number of boulders and stones with which they
are encumbered. In one place a fall of nearly five feet occurs, rendering a portage
unavoidable, and in several other rapids it is necessary at most stages of water to lighten
canoes before trackirrg them up.
" Francois Lake Valley.
" The working time occupied in ascending by this river from Fraser to Francois
Lake was ten hours twenty-five minutes. It is very tortuous, but in a straight line the
distance is not more than six miles. The river is bordered in some places by terraces of
rolled gravel and coarse sand, which, from their number and arrangement, show that it
must have cut down by degrees to its present level. Granite cliffs, forty to fifty feet
high, occur in some places. The aspect of the country to the south is pleasing, being in
great part open woodland, with some wide, grassy meadows, and apparently a very
fertile soil.
" Francois Lake (more correctly called Lac des Francais, a translation of the Indian
name Ne-to-bun-kut), has a length, according to my track survey, which was carefully
checked by micrometer measurements, of fifty-seven and three-quarter miles, with an
average width of a mile and a half, and an elevation of 2,375 feet. It lies, in the main,
nearly east and west, but is slightly sinuous, and shows a decided tendency to narrow at
its western end. It resembles the valley of an ancient river which, from change in
relative elevation of its lower end or blocking of its outflow in some other way, had been
converted into a lake. The two sides maintain a remarkable parallelism, following each
other in their flexures so as to preserve the width of the lake nearly uniform, but there
is a marked departure from the appearance usually seen in river valleys in one respect.
The wider reaches of the valley appear rather to lie in the mountainous parts of its
length than in those comparatively flat and low.
" A very considerable area of the low, undulating countr}' near Francois Lake lies
beneath the three thousand-foot contour line, a great part of it having, perhaps, a mean
altitude of 2,500 feet. If severe summer frosts do not occur, this region should be useful
agriculturally, and, judging from the flora alone, I think there can be little doubt that
most of it would be suited at least to the growth of barley, oats and the hardier root
I 47
4 1
crops. The soil is very fertile, arrd the country in general, like that about Fraser Lake,
well suited to the support of stock. The area of the lower undulating and level country
in the neighbourhood of Francois Lake may be estimated, very roughly, at about'200
square miles.
" Fort St. James, on Stuart Lake, and Nechaco Valley.
" At Fort St. James we found in Mr. Gavin Hamilton's garden fine cabbages,
cauliflowers, turnips, beets, carrots, and onions, grown fronr seed in the open air without
forcing. Barley and potatoes are grown on a larger scale for use iu the Fort. In his
flower garden, notwithstanding the rather severe frost of the evening of September 26th,
a species of mallow, mignonette, a mesembryanthemum, portulaca and sweet-pea were
still flourishing. On the evening of September 23rd, a light flurry of snow was experienced on the high ridges above mentioned, but fell in the form of rain at lower levels.
'■' The confluence of the Stuart and Nechaco Rivers is known to the Indians as Chin-
lak. For nine and a half rrriles below this the ordinary flat country borders the stream
on both sides, several lower benches extending between the river and the general level
of the plain, generally with rather sandy soil. The river here turns northward, and
describes a semi-circle in passing through a low range of rocky hills, on the east side of
which is the Isle De Pierre Rapid, one of the worst in the river. Fronr this place to
the mouth of the Chilaco—a distance of twelve miles in a direct course—the river is
rather crooked, and is depressed from 150 to 200 feet below the general level of the
surface of the country. A mile above the Chilaco the Na-tsen-kuz or White-mud
Rapid is formed by a projecting bed of basalt, underlain by soft Tertiary clays. From
the mouth of the Chilaco to Fort George, at the confluence of the Nechaco and Fraser—
ten miles—the river makes double this distance into a great loop, with many convolutions.    It is rapid throughout, and in many places shallow.
"Fort George and Chilaco .(Mud) River Valley.
" At Fort George wheat and grain of all sorts can be grown successfully. Very fine
and large potatoes were being dug at the time of my visit, and on October 10th the
stalks were frost-killed with the exception of the lower leaves.
'' Having paid off my two Indians I waited at Fort George several days for the pack-
train, which finally arriving we set out by the trail down the Chilaco River for Black-
Water Depot and Quesnel. The lower part of the valley of the Chilaco is wide and flat-
bottomed, probably averaging about a mile from rim to rim. It forms a great trough in
the generally level surface of the country, and is margined by abrupt slopes with occasional bare bluffs of the white silts. Some parts of the bottom-land are heavily timbered
with Douglas fir, Engelmann's spruce and Abies lasiocarpa, tall and straight; the two
former often reaching a diameter of three feet. There are a good many extensive patches
of open grassy land, elevated from five to ten feet above the river, and covered with a
heavy growth of grass, from four to five feet high in places, and mixed with the Heracleum
and other rank weeds. These flats seem to be more or less subject to flood, but the soil
must be very fertile. At occasional intervals fine groves of Cottonwood are found, the
trees often of great height, and sometimes five feet in diameter. Further up, the valley
becomes more contracted, especially near the base of the Double-headed Mountain, there
averaging probably not nrore than half a mile in width. The surface of the plateau or
plain above is formed of disintegrated material of the white silts, and which bears a
good growth of timber where fire has not passed.
" General Remarks on the Character of the Soils.
" In the southern exterior the cultivable land is limited to those tracts of the bottoms
and slopes of the numerous wide, trough-like valleys by which it is traversed, which can
be successfully irrigated. Northward at Quesnel (latitude 53°) and beyond irrigation is
not necessary ; and in the lower part of the Nechaco Basin the greatest unbroken spread
of low fertile covrntry is met with.
" The soils of the interior may be broadly arranged in two classes :—1. Soils chiefly
composed of unmodified drift, representing the boulder-clay of some other regions. 2.
Soils'.composed of modified or redistributed drift, modern alluvium, etc. The first
class, though spoken of technically as ' boulder-clay,' has not here the stiff, clayey
•character very generally found in that formation elsewhere, but is composed as a rule of
a yellowish grey mixture of clay and sand, rather hard in consistency, through which
stones of all sizes are irregularly scattered.    When exposed at the surface to the weather 49
it becomes softened and broken down, arrd superficially mingled with vegetable rrratter.
Though its materials are in great part derived from the immediately underlying rocks, it
contains much foreign matter, by which any deficiencies in its composition arising from
the character of the local formation are corrected. Judging from the forest and sward
which this soil bears, when otherwise favourably situated, it must be fertile ; but it lies
in the main, if not entirely, above ths limits of successful agriculture.
" The regiorrs low enough for farming are based on the soils of the second class,
which are much more varied in character. They are chiefly the products of the disintegration and re-arrangement of the boulder clay, though mingled also with detritus
derived from the waste of the local rocks since the glacial period, or carried down by
rivers when flowing at a higher level. They form the benches or terraces which are
displayed on so large a scale in British Columbia, the irregular slopes of some of the
valleys ofthe south, and the modern river flats. Their texture varies fronr that of fine,
almost clayey, material to coarse, sandy and gravelly beds ; but in general they preserve
a mean character in regard to size of particles, and are extremely fertile. To this class
the soil of the flat country in the Lower Nechaco Basin belongs. This area has no doubt
at a former period been the bed of a great lake, with the fine sediments of which it is
now covered to a varying depth, but in some places probably exceeding 200 feet. The
beds are usually pale in colour, calcareous, arrd found when examined microscopically to
be composed of very fine angular siliceous matter mixed with calcareous and argillaceous
particles, resembling in appearance, and probably in mode of origin, the loess of the Rhine
and the subsoil of the Red River Valley in Manitoba. These deposits, which form an
extremely fertile soil, I have called the white silts.
"Cereal and Root Crops Successfully Grown.
" At Quesnel grain crops are sown from April 20th to the 1st May ; potatoes
planted somewhat later. The grain is harvested about the middle of August. Wheat,
barley, and oats arc cultivated, and all succeed well, though the two last are the most
profitable, as they can be sold in Cariboo without milling. Night frosts happen here
occasionally in June, but are not usually severe enough to do damage to potatoes,
though sometimes checking them a little. On one occasion, potatoes are known to have
been so completely frozen down as to prove a failure. The Hudson Bay Company
formerly cultivated a farm at Alexandria, between Quesnel and Soda Creek, on which,
on certain portions of the land, 40 bushels of wheat to the acre, by careful measurement,
were grown.
"At Fort George (near altitude 54°) the season of growth for crops does not differ
materially from that of Quesnel, and grain of all kinds may be ripened. The elevation
here is 1,880 feet. Winter is said to set in about the 1st of November, though steady
coid weather may not continue from that date. In December and January there is often
a few days' thaw. In March the snow thaws in the sun every day, the thermometer
falling below the freezing point at night. In April the snow disappears, and by about the
20th of the month the ground is fit to work. At Fraser Lake (2,225 feet) potatoes and
other root crops are grown near the Hudson Bay establishment, and barley and wheat
were formerly cultivated, though it is now found cheaper to import flour. The Indians
have little garden patches, with potatoes, turnips, etc. At Stuart Lake (2,200 feet),
near Fort St. James, garden vegetables and root crops succeed admirably, and potatoes
and barley are grown in corrsiderable quantity. I do not know whether wheat has been
tried, but, with proper care, it would no doubt succeed in most seasons, if not invariably.
" In all these places the complaint of summer frosts is made. These usually happen
in June, and may occur on one night only, or on two or three nights, and are often
severe enough to touch potato tops, and occasionally to harm the plants considerably.
It is said, however, that these frosts have only occurred of late years, and that formerly
they were unknown. It hardly seems probable that any great change in climate is
taking place, and it is quite possible that the necessity for farming having to a great
measure been done away with, sufficient care has not been given to cultivation, or to
the renewal of the seed, which is apt gradually to deteriorate and lose the vigour
necessary for successful growth in northern latitudes. Nor are the most judicious
localities always chosen for the more delicate crops, the lowest ground or that nearest
the Fort being often selected, while higher slopes may be less exposed to frosts. It is not
probable that wheat will grow over the whole area of the white silt deposits of this region;
but I thiink barley would flourish over nearly the entire area, while wheat may be successfully raised in chosen spots.    The quality of the grain seen at Fort Fraser was excellent. f
'' Quantity of Arable Lan u.
"It is very difficult, with the information now accessible, to form even an approximate estimate of the quantity of arable land in the interior of British Columbia. I have
only seen a few parts of the southern portion of the interior plateau, but judging from
these, and facts obtained in other ways, I am inclined to believe that the cultivable land
east of the Fraser is probably in area less than 1,000 square miles. It is to be remarked
however', that this area does not at all adequately represent the capacity of the country
to support a population, as a comparatively small patch of arable land serves the stock-
farmer, whose cattle roam over the surrounding high country. West of the Fraser, as
far north as the Blackwater, the cultivable areas are very small. The so-called Chileotin
Plains lie too high for farming, and the available area in the valley of the Chilcotin was
roughly estimated by me in my report for 1875 at 7,000 acres only. An area of 300
square miles might be perhaps taken as an estimate of the farming land of this region.
North of the Blackwater is the Lower Nechaco Basin, already more than once referred
to. The area of this is probably about 1,000 square miles. Bordering on Francois Lake
are considerable stretches of country not raised so much as 300 feet above it, and therefore considerably below the 3,000-foot contour. The soil is very fertile, and the vegetation much resembles that of the white silt basin. Supposing this country to be suited
to the growth of barley, oats and hardier root crops, which appears highly probable,
though no trials have of course been made, an area roughly computed at about 200
square miles will be added.
" Chiefly Suitable for Stock Raising.
" Agriculture proper, however, must always take a secondary place in the irrterior,
and stock-raising constitute the chief wealth of the country. Cattle and horses winter
out from the 49th parallel to Fort Fraser in latitude 54°, a stretch of 450 miles. The
capabilities of British Columbia as a stock-raising country are so well known that little
need be said on this point. The bunch-grass country, pre-eminently, is that east of
the Fraser, in the southern part of the Province, where the rain and snow fall is light,
and the hills bare and grassed almost to their summits. But even northward, in the
thickly wooded country, there are many fine valleys with grassy northern slopes and
extensive hay swamps, which in the aggregate must form a very great area capable of
supporting stock. Though, as above stated, cattle can winter out without attention,
and in nrany cases appear fat and in good condition in the spring, a severe season
occasionally happens in which, if no provision is made, they may suffer much privation,
and a considerable mortality may occur. It is thus always better to have a small
quantity of hay in readiness, and with this precaution, cattle-raising may be made a
certain business. Sheep succeed admirably in the Kanrloops country, but at present
even the wool scarcely remunerates the farmer, when he has paid the expense of carriage
to the sea-board.
'' In the foregoing notes, no reference has been made to the portion of the Peace
River country included in British Columbia, of which I know nothing personally, but
which is fully described in Mr. Selwyn's report for 1875. They also refer to the present
condition of British Columbia. I feel convinced that, by the agency of man, great
changes will be produced, as has happened in other countries. The reckless destruction
of the forest areas of the southern portion of the interior by fire or otherwise would, no
doubt, cause a gradual dessication of the soil and climate. To the north, however, great
regions of plateaux are covered with scrub pine and other trees small in size and unfit
for most economic purposes. The destruction of this useless forest by fire is followed by
the growth of grass, with groves of aspen poplars, and the drying up of the peaty swamps
of the little hollows. Such areas will eventually add largely to the available grazing
grounds, and even where situated at a very considerable altitude will serve for summer
pasture. Irregular plateau and mountain country, at yet greater elevations, is still of
some value. The vigorous growth of timber ceases at between 4,000 and 5,000 feet over
most of the Province ; above this limit, park-like open country is found. Considerable
regions of this nature occur even among the bald mountains of Cariboo, on the snowy
volcanic ranges, south of the sources of the Blackwater and Salmon Rivers, and elsewhere, and during the summer months yield alpine pasturage of the most nutritious
"Babine and Stuart Lake Country.
" Babine and Stuart Lakes occupy portions of a single great valley, which is bounded
by mountainous country on either side, and communicates  northward  with the flat 51
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J 52
country of the Lower Nechaco. The upper end of the lake rarely freezes completely
across, but this is due, not to the mildness of the winter, but to the great depth of water.
A similar circumstance has already been reported for Francois Lake. A terrace at a height
of about 200 feet is specially prominent around the lake, arrd after reaching this height
the land frequently runs back several miles as a level or gently undulating plain. In
other places it slopes gradually up, reaching an elevation of 500, 600 or 800 feet above
the lake at from two to five miles from it. The valley is not even then shut in by high
mountains in its central part, but appears to continue at nearly the same or a lower level
in some places for many miles. The woods are generally light, aspen and poplar
frequently preponderating over spruce, and considerable tracts with a southern exposure,
from which fire has removed the forest, are covered with luxuriant grass, pea-vine,
epilobium, etc. The portage between Babine and Stuart Lakes is low, across wide
spreading benches, and from half to one-third of the surface appears fit for cultivation.
Considerable areas of low land also border Stuart Lake.
" The aggregate area of land below the 3,000-foot contour line, with light slopes or
nearly level, and which may be supposed to have some prospective value, is great, but
it is impossible to form even an approximately correct estimate of it till the maps are
further advanced. That in sight from the lakes must exceed 500 square miles. The soil
is generally good, and the only remaining question is in regard to the character of the
" The northern or lower extremity of Babine Lake being more closely hemmed in
by snow-clad mountains, is evidently less favourably situated than the remainder of this
lake and Stuart Lake, and vegetation was found to be decidedly behind that of the
Sus-kwa Valley. Mr. Sanpere, who is in charge of two Hudson's Bay posts, one at the
north end, the other at the rrriddle of Babine Lake, states that at the latter he can grow
potatoes and many kinds of vegetables, and that his predecessor grew barley which
ripened well. An Indian living on the portage between the two lakes cultivates a little
patch of land, and though very poorly attended to, he had aline looking crop of potatoes
and a little field of barley, the latter about three feet high and with the ear just appearing at the date of our visit (July 4th). He also keeps some cattle here, cutting hay for
them in swamps around Stuart Lake. At Fort St. James we found potatoes flourishing,
but rather late, having been cut down by frost in June. Barley was doing well, and
has been grown as a regular crop for many years. In the garden were peas, lettuce,
beets, carrots, onions, garlic, turnips, cabbages and cauliflowers, doing well enough, but
not carefully cultivated. Wheat has been sown this year as an experiment, and had not
suffered trom frost at the date of our visit (July 7th).
'' The Lower Nechaco a Large and Fertile District.
" In the valley of Babine and Stuart Lakes the summer season seems to be sufficiently
long, and the absolute amount of heat great enough to bring all ordinary crops, including
wheat, to maturity, but the question remains to what extent the liability to summer
frosts may interfere with the cultivation of some plants, more especially wheat. Though
this valley may be regarded as a continuation of the country of the Lower Nechaco, its
vicinity to mountains appears to render it somewhat inferior to that district in climate,
and places it in this regard, in my opinion, nearly in the same position with the country
bordering on Francois Lake. In previous reports I have described the flat country of
the Lower Nechaco basin as constituting the greatest connected region susceptible of
cultivation in the Province of British Columbia,. Its area has been estimated at 1,000
square miles. It is based on fine, white, silty deposits of the later portion of the glacial
period, constituting a soil almost uniformly fertile, and is remote from high, snow-clad
ranges. In the absence of further information, I can merely repeat what was said of this
region on a former occasion, viz.:—That while it is not probable that wheat can be grown
ever all parts of its area, it can scarcely be doubted that barley may be ripened almost
everywhere in it, while wheat would succeed in chosen spots. This region will,
doubtless, at some time support a considerable population, but it is to be remarked that
the passage of a railway through it would do little at present towards settling it; for in
the first instance, the country to the east of the Rocky Mountains, in the Peace River
or  Saskatchewan  valleys, would offer  superior  inducements   to   farmers  and  stock- 53
Report of Mr. Marcus Smith.
Mr. Marcus Smith, C. E., regarding his exploration of 1874, says in his report of the
Blackwater, 1877, page 119 :—
"On the fourth day we reached the River Blackwater, 45 miles from Quesnel. Our
aneroids gave the height of the bridge crossing the Blackwater 2,110 feet above sea-
level. The valley is here narrow at the bottom, and the slopes, covered with bunch-
grass, wild vetches and pea-vine, rise by a series of benches to the level of the plateau,
which on the southern side is 400 to 500 feet higher, and on the northern 300 to 400 feet,
the latter being the lowest part of the divide between the Blackwater and Chilacoh
Rivers. At the bridge the river enters a rocky canyon, through which it flows eastward
on its course to the Fraser. The Blackwater has its sources in a number of lakes on the
central plateau, 60 to 100 miles westward of this point, among the foothills of the
Cascade Mountains. It is plentifully stocked with fine speckled trout, and the groves
of aspen and spruce which adorn the softly undulating grassy slopes of the sunny side of
the valley supplied us with abundance of grouse. We afterwards found that this, the
53rd parallel of north latitude, is essentially the northern limit of the bunch-grass.
From this northward the quantity of rainfall greatly increases, and drainage rather than
irrigation is required.
"Next day, about noon, we crossed the spur of a hill 2,980 feet above sea level, and
a few miles further on the trail again struck the left bank of the Blackwater, which had
made a bend to the north-west fronr its junction with the Nazeo. The river from where
we struck it for four miles up is expanded into a lake. We camped by a small stream,
the estimated distance from Telegraph Trail being 42 miles.
" September 3rd.—Mr. Hunter and myself made an excursion northwards to the
crown of the table land, 3,508 above sea level. The ascent was easy, few rocks appearing
on the surface, which was thickly covered by small firs, swept through by fire. The
whole counry round was rolling and covered with similar useless timber. Retracing our
steps, we reached the trail at one p. m., and in two hours more came to the foot of a
beautiful lake, an expansion of the river, about eight miles lor g and three-quarters wide
across its broadest part, and dotted with islands. Its southern shore is high, and, being
on the shady side of the hill, is densely covered with dark spruce and cedar trees. But,
on the other side, the undulating slopes of the valley, rising 200 to 300 feet above the
lake, are covered with bunch-grass, vetches and pea-vine, and groves of aspen, forming
a charming landscape."
Un September 7th Mr. Smith speaks of the trail to the right up the stream southward to Lake Nimpoh, where it joins the Bella Coola Trail to Bentinck Arm, on the line
of Sir Alexander Mackenzie in 1793.    He says .—
'' We took the trail to the right, and at twelve miles crossed the Blackwater, 100
feet wide and less than two feet deep; altitude, 3,000 feet. We were now in a wide
valley, almost an open plain, through which the river flows only a few feet above the
general level."
Speaking of the country around Lake Tschick, he says :—
" This part of the country is said to have been once thickly populated with Indians,
which is probable, as it abounds in game and fish ; there is now little trace left of them
but their graves. The bottom flat of the valley, from the foot of the lake, widens out
to fully half a mile, covered with good grass, but two or three miles down it becomes
marshy, probably the result of beaver dams."
The journal proceeds :—
" After a hard day's struggle, we reached the head of the south arm of Teta Chuck.
At sunset we reached the foot of the lake, 48 miles from our starting point, and camped."
* * * "The outlet of this lake is a deep and rapid river 200 feet wide, which we
were unable to ford, so we had to make a raft to carry our stores and baggage across the
foot of the lake, and the animals had to swim nearly a quarter of a mile. This wasted
half a day, but on the sunny slopes of the hill, on the other side of the river, we found
plenty of grass, pea-vine and service berries in the aspen groves ; and as the animals had
had but little feed for the last two days, we were glad to give them half a day to recruit
on good pasture, as well as to rest ourselves, and so camped on a sunny glade near the
margin of the lake."    *   *   *    "The slopes or benches on the sides of the valley, broken 54 55
by lateral gulches, appear like a chain of rounded hills, rising to a height of 300 or 400
feet; those on the north side of the valley, more exposed to the sun's rays, are covered
with grass, vetches and pea-vines. From one of these hills we took a bearing eastward
to a remarkable peak in the high range of hills that we had seen on our right the last
three days."    *    *    *
"September 21st.—The country had been improving on our route the last two days,
and the first part of this day's journey was the pleasantest we had since leaving the
Salmon River. We followed up the north side of the Euchu Valley two miles, thence
northward by a small stream flowing into it through a lateral valley. The woods on the
slopes of the hills on each side opened out at intervals into grassy glades. This continued
till we got on the north side of the hill, when we had our usual difficulties with fallen
timber, but at last we reached the long-looked-for Nechaco, which we struck at the foot
of Tchutazely Lake, an expansion of the river, one to three miles in breadth."    *    *    *
" The Nechaco, from this point eastwards, expands at intervals, forming a series of
long, narrow lakes, and it receives all the streams we had crossed before it cuts through
the range above mentioned. Like all the country we had crossed, the south side of the
valley, being the shady side of the hill, is bleak and cold, with much fallen timber
undecayed ; but on the bottom flats that occur at intervals between the river arrd the
slopes there is large timber with grass and pea-vine. On the north side of the river, where
we crossed it, the banks rise from the water's edge very steeply to a height of 200 feet,
but by the process of denudation these are serrated and rounded into a series of
hummocky hills ; and being more exposed to the sun's rays, vegetation is more active
and the fallen timber more decayed, so that groves of aspen have sprung up, with
luxuriant grass, vetches and pea-vine."    *    *    *
" We started on a rrorth-west course on the slopes of the hills along the margin of
the lake, which were covered with very long grass, vetches and pea-vine, and groves of
aspens. The vetches and pea-vine were in great quantity, reaching to a height of four
feet among the long grass, climbing up the trees to eight or nine feet and hanging in
festoons from bush to bush ; we had difficulty in forcing our horses through the tangled
Speaking generally on the observations taken on this trip, Mr. Smith says :—
"The timber throughout is spruce, black fir, and cedar, generally small and of
little value. There is only a little agricultural land in the bottom flats of the valleys,
with good grazing land—grass, vetches, and pea-vine on the slopes facing the south." * *
" The lower half of the Chilacoh Valley is from a quarter to half a mile wide on
the bottom flat, which is a deep loam covered with groves of spruce, pine and aspen,
with open glades of very rich grass, red-top and blue-joint over four feet high, with
vetches and pea-vine on the slopes of the hills, having a southern aspect. The valley is
bounded by high benches and a rolling plateau on the west, and on the east by the high
range of hills lying between it and the Fraser."    *    *    *
" Above the canyon, the valley expands at places to fully two miles in breadth, and
some wide lateral valleys come in from the north-west. The lower part of this, by the
river, from a quarter to half a mile wide, is covered with long grass; then there is a step
up from 50 to 100 feet, and the upper flats, to the slopes of the bounding hills, are
covered with spruce, small pines and aspens. In some places the ground is swampy and
would require draining for cultivation. The valley ranges from 2,000 to 2,300 feet
above the level of the sea ; soil, a light loam, very deep and free from stones. The river
is a sluggish streanr, 100 feet wide, with deep water, muddy bottom and a few fords ;
it is as crooked as a cork-screw, meandering fronr side to side of the valley. We found
some pieces of lignite on the banks that had been brought down by the current, and
there are probably beds of coal further up the valley."
Reports of Mr. Cambie.
Mr. H. J. Cambie, C. E., Resident Engineer of the Pacific Division, Vancouver, in
1874-75 went from Quesnel to Chilcotin River and up the latter to Tatla Lake, and
thence by the lake to Tallayoco to Bute Inlet. In 1876 he went by way of Dean Canal
to Quesnel; afterwards from Quesnel to Fort Fraser, the whole length of Francois Lake,
a little to the west of Ootsa Lake, and thence down to Nechaco River to Fort Fraser, 56
and thence by Telegraph Trail to Quesnel. In 1877 he went up the Skeena and into
the Kitimaat and Zymoetz Valleys ; also to Hazelton and back to Quesnel by Telegraph
Trail. In 1879 he went up the Skeena to Hazelton, crossed over to Babine Lake, thence
to Stuart Lake and Fort McLeod and down the Peace River as far as Slave Lake. He
returned through the country north of Peace River, crossing at Hudson's Hope, and
returned by way of Pine River Pass to Fort St. James, thence by the Nechaco and
Fraser Rivers to Quesnel.
Mr. Cambie is, therefore, in a position to speak with considerable authority on the
nature and resources of that interior country. He had read the surveyors' reports of
Nechaco and Bulkley Valleys, as published in the Sessional Papers, and stated that
they were in the main to be relied upon. In the Blackwater Valley there was good
grazing land near the source, but not much agricultural land. There is also considerable grazing land in the Chilcotin District, but rro land of value for other agricultural
purposes. There were some good agricultural lands below the canyon on the Lower
Homalthco ; very fine grazing and some good agricultural land existed all along the
north shore of Francois Lake and in the Ootsa Lake District, his observations agreeing
generally with those of Mr. Mcintosh, as already given. Respecting the Peace River
country, he stated it contained the finest agricultural land'.'he had ever seen in the
Province. It resembled the best portions of the land in Manitoba and the North-West.
The area within British Columbia, however, was limited, and he thought Professor
Macoun's estimate was an outside one. The following references to the country are
contained in the various published reports of (the Canadian Pacific Railway. Of Mr.
Cambie's exploration in 1876 the record is in the report of the C. P. R. surveys of 1877
on the country around Francois Lake and Ootsa Lake, from which extracts have
been made :—
" From the head of Lake Ootsabunkut to the foot of Lake Nahtalcus the valley is
generally narrow, but the hills on either side rise with easy slopes most of the way.
Taking the eastern end of Lake Francois as a starting point, I had travelled upwards of
100 miles westward, and had returned by a course somewhat parallel, but considerably
to the south. This tract of country may be described as essentially a lake district.
There is a belt of flat, swampy land several miles wide, extending along the eastern base
of the Cascade Range for a considerable distance to the north and south of River Tatla,
which has only a few trifling undulations, and is intersected by sluggish streams, dammed
repeatedly by beaver, forming numerous ponds and small lakes. Farther to the eastward, the country is intersected by ranges of hills of no great height, running parallel
to each other and nearly east and west, with long narrow lakes lying in the valleys.
, The southern slopes of the ranges are timbered with poplar, black pine, and a few spruce,
but there are many open spaces covered with a luxurious growth of pea-vine (vetches)
and various kinds of grasses. The northern slopes sustain a dense growth of spruce,
black pine, and a few Douglas fir and poplar of medium size and without any special
value for economic purposes.
" So far as I could form an opirriorr, this portion of British Columbia may, at some
future day, be utilised as a pastoral country, and support large herds of cattle, but is
not likely to be irsed for agriculture generally. The Indians and officials of the Hudson's
Bay Company raise potatoes, turnips and some grain at sundry favoured spots on the
shores of Lake Fraser, also at Lake (Choka) Tachick, and other places of the same or
less elevation, but the crops are often damaged by frosts. This, however, might be
avoided by an improved system of agriculture. They also keep a number of cattle at
both the places mentioned.
"No attempt is made to cultivate the land around Lake Francois, which is higher
than Lake Fraser, while Ootsabunkut and the lakes to the south are higher still, varying
in elevation from 2,700 feet upwards. They are also much nearer to the snow-capped
peaks of the Cascade Range of mountains which affect the temperature very perceptibly.
That district, therefore, would, in all probability, be found much less suited for agri- 57
culture than the shores of Lake Fraser. The natural grasses and pea-vine, however,
grow so luxuriantly as to give promise of affording an abundant supply of food for cattle,
if they were sown in land which had been cleared up and cultivated."
Mr. H. J. Cambie, in the report of 1878, says on page 39 :—
" Round Port Simpson there is a limited area of land fit for cultivation, where the
Indians have numerous potato gardens. Many of the islands in the lower part of the
Skeena are composed of rich alluvial soil, but they are usually overflowed at time of
freshet. For 15 or 20 miles below the Forks and some distance above that place, the
valley of the Skeena is several miles in width. The land is of fair quality and covered
with a light growth of poplar, birch and spruce.
" Mr. Hankin, a trader at the Forks, had a very fine crop of oats, which was almost
ripe on July 31st. He and others had at the same time some fine potatoes, turnips,
carrots and cabbage. They had each purchased a short time previously a small herd of
cattle as an experiment, and proposed cutting hay in some of the natural meadows for
their sustenance during the winter.
"The slopes of the Watsonquah, throughout its entire length, are in part prairie,
and sustain a magnificent growth of grass suitable for pasture. The roots intertwine
and form a sod, which would prevent its being killed off like bunch-grass, in case cattle
or sheep were allowed to crop it closely. This valley, however, is subject to frequent
frosts during summer, which render it unfit for agriculture.
" A tree, commonly called yellow cypress, is found on the lower Skeena, which has
great strength and density of fibre and is said to be extremely durable, but the quantity
is limited. The same remark would apply to hemlock and cedar, though they were
seen in some places of great size. On most of the islands subject to overflow in the
Lower Skeena there is a fine growth of Cottonwood, which may be utilised at some
future time tor the same purposes to which basswood and whitewood are applied in the
Province of Ontario.
"The Cascade Mountains, where the Skeena breaks through them, consist of two
principal ranges, which are separated by a valley extending from the Kitamaat Arm of
Gardner Inlet in a northerly direction to the River Naas. The snowfall in the westernmost of these ranges sometimes reaches a depth of 10 feet or upwards, and the avalanches
before alluded to occur there. The other range commences a little below the Kitsilas
Canyon and extends about 30 miles above it; here the snowfall would average 6 or 7
feet.    From the F^orks to Fraser Lake the snow rarely exceeds 3 feet in depth.
" Marble was seen in beds of great thickness near the mouth of the Skeena, and
again about 85 miles from the coast. Some ores of copper and lead were also observed,
but not in veins of any great thickness."
In the report of the Canadian Pacific Railway surveys, 1880, Mr. Cambie, on pages
40-41, states :—
"At the northern end of Babine Lake the land slopes gently up from the shores,
and the mountains are some miles back, presenting in this respect a marked contrast to
most of the lakes which I have seen in British Columbia.
"In this distance of perhaps 30 miles the lake averages one mile in width, and we
were suprised to find the land rising in easy slopes from it on both sides. On the east
there is a ridge running nearly parallel to it about two miles distant, and increasing from
500 feet at its northern end to 2,000 feet in height near the Fort. On the west side
there is a high range of mountains, but between their base and the lake there is a tract
of undulating land from three to eight miles in width, which is in some places heavily
timbered with spruce ; in others there is a light growth of poplar and spruce, and much
of it would, no doubt, be found suitable for agriculture if the climate is not too severe.
"Southward from Fort Babine, for about forty miles, the lake varies from two to
seven miles in width, and the shores continue of the same undulating character, with
mountains from four to ten miles distant, covered with a light growth of poplar and
spruce. For the remaining thirty miles to the head of the lake, it averages one and a
half miles wide, with bold, rocky shores, and the land can never' be of value for agriculture, though it may be used for pasture.
"Judging from what is known of the climate of Stuart Lake, and its position in
regard to Babine, it is not likely that the latter will be found suited for the cultivation
of wheat, but only for the hardier vegetables, with rye, and possibly oats and barley." 58
J 59
Extracts from Report made by R. H. Lee, P. L.S., in 1895.
" There is very little agricultural land on the Columbia River until within about
five miles of the mouth of the Canoe River, where we entered a valley of about 12,000
acres of good agricultural land, about one-half of which is bottom land not subject to
inundation, good clay soil showing ten to fifteen feet in depth at the cut-banks, with a
gravelly sub-soil ; the remainder lying upon low benches fifty to seventy-five feet above
the river. These benches are also good clay land, no rock or gravel showing on the
surface. The surface of both bottom and bench land is very level and uniform ; small
cedar, spruce, and balsam timber and considerable bush in the bottoms; cedar, spruce,
and hemlock on the benches and mountains, all small timber and of no commercial value.
The vegetation indicates considerable rainfall throughout this valley, and I do not think
irrigation will be required ; but if so there is abundance of water for this purpose in the
creeks flowing through the valley. I am informed by trappers who have wintered here
that the snow is from three to four feet in depth, and the timber and bushes indicate a
considerable snowfall. The altitude is about 1,830 feet above sea level. The general
formation is granite.
" From the mouth of Canoe River to Crews Rapids, a distance of about twenty-two
miles in a north-westerly course, the valley will average about one-half mile in width.
It has a good clay soil, with a gravelly sub-soil; small cedar and spruce timber, and
considerable bush. The river is from 400 to 1,000 feet in width, with an average current
of about five miles per hour. The banks are from six to fifteen feet high, showing a
good clean clay soil.
"Near Grews Rapids the valley widens out from one to two miles wide, and
continues the same north-westerly course to Tete Jaune Cache, on the Fraser River. It
has been run over with fire, and the timber and bush in the valley, as well as upon the
mountains, are a young growth. From about Grews Rapids we left the wet belt and
entered a drier country, We did not see moss upon the ground and timber as we did
below and on the Columbia River. The soil is blue clay five to fifteen feet deep, with a
gravelly sub-soil, covered in many places with one to two feet of black vegetable muck ;
small cedar, cottonwood, spruce, and hazel bushes in patches and clumps ; good meadows
from ten to two hundred acres scattered throughout the valley. The soil and climate
is very much superior to that at the mouth of the river. The snow and rainfall is also
less. The river is from 100 to 400 feet irr width, very crooked, and has an average
current of about two miles per hour ; banks from six to fifteen feet high.
" I am informed by Messrs. Blackmore and Jackson, who spent the last two winters
in this valley, that the snow was not over fifteen inches deep at any time, and the
winters very mild. The timber and beaver cuttings indicate a very light snowfall. I
did not see any beaver cuttings over twelve to eighteen inches above the ground. I am
also informed that the spring weather opens from a month to six weeks earlier here than
at the mouth of the river.
" The mountains generally come down with low foot-hills and benches, and in many
places these benches along the base of the mountains are good soil and could be cultivated ; good feed for stock in the bottoms and benches. Bear and caribou are very
plentiful along the river.
"At Camp 26, about thirty-three miles above Grews Rapids (about fifty-one miles
by river), the river takes a south-westerly course for about four miles to the foot of the
canyon, at the head of navigation for boats, but the valley continues the same northwesterly course for about twenty miles to Tete Jaune Cache, on the Fraser River, and
is from two to four miles in width, first-class clay soil, with small cottonwood, willow,
alder, and hazel bush ; also some small pines and hemlock timber. The mountains on
each side are low, of a granite formation, and come down with foot-hills and benches.
"Cranberry Lake covers about 1,500 acres, and is a shallow body of water; is
situated about two miles north of Trail Crossing ; could be easily drained and made into
dry land. 60
" If irrigation should be required there is abundance of water for that purpose in
the creeks running through the valley every few miles, and the water could be brought
upon the land with very little expense. Some of the larger creeks come out of large
valleys.    The altitude is about 2,200 feet above sea level.
"I estimate the distance from Revelstoke to Camp 27 (Trail Crossing) at about 174
miles by water, and about 150 miles by a waggon road route. At this point the bushes
and timber also indicate a light snowfall, and I am informed by Mr. Joseph Null, of
South Thompson River, who was with a C. P. R. survey party through this country, as
packer, in 1874-75, that they wintered their stock here and never had over eight to ten
inches of snow. I think the climate is very similar to that around Kamloops, judging
from the general appearance of the country. The first frost of this season occurred on
the night of September 18th, and previous to this there had been about two weeks' lain.
There was wet weather at Kamloops corresponding with this, and frost about the
same date.
" The Columbia River from Revelstoke to the mouth of Canoe River could be made
navigable for steamboats at almost all stages of the year. Neither Canoe River nor
Wood River is navigable for steamers, but a waggon road could be built through the
Canoe River Valley very cheaply, and this seems to me the most feasible way of bringing
this beautiful valley within the reach of settlers ; or the trail up the Columbia River,
which ends at Smith Creek, could be continued up to the mouth of Canoe River, about
twenty-seven miles, and widened for a waggon road if required.
" I would place the acreage of good agricultural land as follows, viz. :—
At the Big Bend of the Columbia River 12,000 acres.
On Canoe River, from S. 13, T. 4, to Cranberry Lake....38,000      „
Froirr Cranberry Lake to Tete Jaune Cache 25,000      «
Total 75,000     „
Reports by various Authorities on that Country.
Regarding the climate of the Peace River District, Mr. Cambie, on page 54 of the
report of 1880, says : —
" Climate is a subject on which it is difficult to form correct conclusions from the
experience of one season ; and the summer of 1879 having been an exceptionally cold
and wet one, renders it more than usually so. The following statement on the crops,
etc., seen at the various Hudson's Bay Co. posts throws a little light on the matter:
" At Fort St. James, July 5th-8th, we found most kinds of garden vegetables and
barley, all looking well. On October 8th there was snow on the hills and adjacent
country, but none near the shores of Stuart Lake. The people at the Fort were busy
digging potatoes, other vegetables and grain having been housed some time previously.
A small herd of cattle and horses are kept here, hay for their sustenance during the
winter being cut in some of the natural meadows.
"Fort Maeleod, July 14th-16th.—Here we saw some sickly-looking potatoes, the
vines of which had been frozen to the ground, in June. A fine crop of peas and carrots,
with a few miserable onions. The soil of the garden is light and probably had not been
manured for a great many years. The latitude is only half a degree farther north than
Fort St. James, and the elevation 300 feet less, which should nearly compensate for the
difference in latitude, but the climate seems colder, more damp, and less suited for
agriculture, owing, probably to its closer proximity to the Rocky Mountains. On
October 2nd all the vegetables were housed and three inches of wet snow lay on the
ground. ,
" Hudson's Hope, July 27th-29th.—The soil in the garden is a good sandy loam,
and onions were very fine; all other crops had been injured by a severe frost about Ma3'
15th ; beans were killed, so were the potato vines, but they had started afresh. A. little
patch of wheat had been frozen, but had grown up again, and a few silt stalks were
forming ears ; carrots and cabbage looked well. It was said that the frost in May was
confined to the valley, and did not extend to the plateau. Horses have wintered in the
open air for many years, but in the winter of 1875-6 twenty out of a band of twenty-
four perished on account of the deep snow. Returning there, September 14th-16th, we
found that the potatoes had produced only a very poor crop, and the wheat had been
again frozen, while the grain was in the milk stage, rendering it useless.
"Fort St. John, July 30th.—The garden contained some good potatoes, onions and
turnips, and a negro named Daniel Williams had a small patch of excellent barley. On
September 12th the crops were all right, and excellent both as regards quantity and
" Fort Dunvegan, August lst-5th.—In the garden of the Fort were fine crops of
wheat, barley, potatoes, beets, cucumbers and squash ; while at the R. C. Mission, close
by, there were fine potatoes, onions, carrots, and a luxuriant but very backward crop
of wheat, a condition of things which Mr. Tessiar, the priest, explained to us had
resulted from a long drought, causing the grain to lie in the ground without sprouting
till some heavy rain occurred at the end of May. From August 28th to Septe.nber 5th
the wheat of the Fort was cut, but the grain was not perfectly ripe ; that at the Mission
was injured by frost, and there was no hope of its ripening ; other crops had succeeded
" Lesser Slave Lake, August 20th.—In the garden of the Fort were peas, beans, turnips, carrots, potatoes and rhubarb, all looking well. And in the garden at the R. C.
Mission were the same vegetables, also onions, cabbages, barley (good), with some very
fine wheat almost ripe and quite beyond the reach of any frost likely to occur at that
season. The success of these crops at an altitude of 1,800 feet above the sea, and,
therefore, nearly on the general level of the plateau east of the Rocky Mountains, is a
matter of some importance, though the proximity of the lake may have influenced the
temperature. 62
" The gardens at Hudson's Hope, Fort St. John and Dunvegan are in the valley of
Peace River, many hundred feet below that level, and they have also the advantage of
a great deal of heat, reflected from the adjacent hills. In this connection it is right to
mention that all the seed used by the people in the Peace River District has been grown
year after year in the same ground, and generally without manure, and also that they
have not the most improved and earliest varieties of either grain or vegetables.
"Eastward of Hudson's Hope it is said that snow seldom lies to a greater depth
than two feet, and horses wintered in the open air ; when it attains that thickness, however, they resort to the slopes of the valley facing the south, where the snow drifts off,
leaving the grass bare.
" We had been in the valley of Peace River, from the mountains to Dunvegan, in
the latter part of July, and the weather was then warm and mild. The month of
August was spent between Dunvegan and Lesser Slave Lake, and 23 days of it on the
plateau. During that time there was frost on the morning of the 6th, though the thermometer at 5 a.m had risen to 46 degrees. Again on the 26th, when it was still 5 degrees
below the freezing point at 5 a.m., and on the 27th, when it had risen 33 degrees at
4:30 a.m. On the other 20 days the lowest reading, between 4:30 and 5 a.m., was 39
degrees and the highest 65 degrees. The weather was clear and fine, and in the afternoon it was often warm enough to send the thermometer up to 80 degrees in the shade.
Fronr the time of leaving Dunvegan, September 5th, till we passed Moberly's Lake on
the 16th, we were on the level of the plateau, and might still be considered east of the
mountains. There was frost on eight nights out of the twelve. While breakfasting at
5 a.m. on the 9th, the thermometer still stood at 20 degrees, and on three other mornings it had not risen above the freezing point at that hour. During that time the
weather was generally clear and bright. We had fine but cold weather fronr the 17th
till the summit of Pine River Pass was crossed, on the 28th, and from that time until
we reached Quesnel, on October 17th, it was decidedly wintry, with hard frosts."
Speaking of the agricultural capabilities of the Peace River District, Mr. Cambie,
on page 56, remarks as follows :—
" Without taking into consideration the ground gone over by the other members of
our expedition when we separated, I can state that there is a tract of great fertility
extending eastward from the foot-hills of the Rocky Mountains at Hudson's Hope to
Lesser Slave Lake. Messrs. McLeod and Dawson have examined it south-westwards to
the base of the Rocky Mountains, and will inform you of its precise extent in that
direction. How far it reaches to the north is still undetermined, but I saw, and can
speak from personal observation of the strip just referred to, 200 miles long by 50 wide,
which, if the climate proves surtable, can hardly be surpassed as an agricultural
Report by Mr. McLeod.
Mr. H. A. F. McLeod, who was engaged on the exploration of the northern interior
in the same year as Mr. Cambie, in the report of 1880, page 67, states as follows:—
" The land most suitable for agriculture is found in the plateau of the valley of
Peace River and its tributaries. These plateaux extend from 4 to 20 miles on each side
of the banks of the river, decreasing in width towards the sources, and are separated
from each other by ranges of hilly, broken country forming the watersheds between the
tributaries. The best part of the country may be comprised in the space between
latitude 54° 30' and 56° 30', and between longitude 117° and 121°, in the shape of an A,
with its apex near Hudson's Hope. A very considerable portion of this area is taken
up with the ranges of hills above spoken of. The plateau stands from 800 to 1,000 feet
above Peace River, and at lesser heights above the tributary streams, according to their
distance from the main river. The soil is very rich, resting on a subsoil of silt, but the
surface appeared wet and cold, caused probably by recent heavy rains. On the ridges
the soil is generally light, and in some parts sandy. The surface of the plateaux is
undulating and occasionally hilly, with openings or prairies varying from a mile to 5
miles in width, covered with grass, pea-vine, etc. The rest of the country is covered
with woods, generally second growth of poplar, cottonwood, spruce, pitch pine, birch
and tamarac. There are large areas of brule' and windfalls, making it a very difficult
country to explore. The spruce and cottonwood in the river bottoms, and occasionally
on the high lands, is large and of good quality. 63
" From Little Smoky River to the located line at the Lobstick, the soil on the
valleys and side-hills is generally good, though frequently wet and marshy ; on the high
ground light, sometimes sandy, and barren, with moss and musskegs. There are a few
small prairies in the Lobstick Valley ; the rest of the country is covered with poplar,
cottonwood, spruce, pitch pine, birch and tamarac, mostly of the original growth, a
large proportion being of good size and fine quality. Brul<5s and windfalls are numerous,
and very extensive in this section of the country.
" A seam of coal 8 inches thick was found near the water level of Pine River..
Small blocks were found in the gravel above the streams, widely separated from each,
Report by Rev. D. M. Gordon.
The Reverend D. M. Gordon, who accompanied Messrs. Cambie and McLeod of the
Canadian Pacific Railway survey in 1879, has this to say on page 102 of that report:—
" The Hudson's Bay Co.'s posts, a few mission stations, and two or three "free
traders," establishments are the only places occupied by white men throughout this vast
northern country that we speak of as the Peace River District, and these are uniformly
found on the fertile flats near the river's edge. On those flats the soil is usually of the
richest character.
"The garden of the Hope yields excellent potatoes, onions, beets, and other
vegetables, as well as barley and wheat, the seed of this year's crop having been raised
from a single grain, which Dumas, the agent, found accidentally among some rice. On
a similar flat at Fort St. John, about 40 miles further down the river, barley and wheat,
as well as a great variety of vegetables, are successfully cultivated, while a still greater
variety, including cucumbers, are grown with even greater success at Dunvegan, 70
miles below Fort St. John, where wheat has been raised as long ago as 1828. It is the
same at all the Hudson's Bay Co.'s posts along the valley. Situated generally near the
river level, these stations of the company have each their garden, with, in some cases, a
small farm attached, and in these almost every vegetable and cereal commonly cultivated
in Canada can be raised with success. Wheat is grown as far north as Fort Simpson,
at the mouth of the Liard, lat. 64° north, and it is said that potatoes are grown at Fort
Good Hope, near the mouth of the Mackenzie. Wheat and barley grown at the
Chipewayn Mission, Lake Athabasca, lat. 58° 42' north, received a medal at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876.
" It is not, however, by the character and capacity of the soil on the fertile fiats
around the Hudson's Bay Company's posts that the merits of the Peace River District
must be tested, as these flats are comparatively few and small. The district proper
consists of extensive plateaux, which stretch away for miles on either side of the river,
at an altitude at Dunvegan of about 800 feet above the river, an altitude that gradually
diminishes to less than 100 feet 500 miles farther down the river.
" From Pine River eastward to Lesser Slave Lake, and from Dunvegan northward
about 70 miles to Battle River, and southward to the 55th parallel, the examination
was tolerably fair. Throughout the whole of the district traversed in these explorations,
with very few exceptions, the soil was found to be excellent, with rich herbage, luxuriant
wild hay and pea-vine, and in some parts a great abundance of saskatoon, or service
berry bushes. Some tracts lying north of Peace River appear peculiarly fertile, while
the district known as "La Grande Prairie," lying between Smoky River and Pine River,
fronr 35 to 70 miles south of Dunvegan, is exceptionally good. JEven those parts that
are swampy, such as a portion of the country between Smoky River and Lesser Slave
Lake, might be drained arrd made fit for cultivation with no great difficulty by the
removal of beaver dams, etc. Endeavouring to ascertain the character of such portions
as we could not possibly examine, we were reliably informed that, following the north
and west bank of the Peace River, the soil is excellent for a distance of from 25 to 70
miles from the river; that from Hudson's Hope to Fort St. John, with few interruptions, it is heavily wooded ; that below Fort St. John the operr prairie alternates with
groves of aspen and other light woods, for 120 miles, to Smoky River ; that from Smoky
River to Old Fort Vermilion, a distance by the river of more than 300 miles, there is
more woodland than open prairie, although the soil is good for about 40 miles back from
the main river ; that below Vermilion, for a belt of from 15 to 40 miles, the soil is
fertile, with occasiorral interruptions, such as the Cariboo Mountains, at least as far as
the Salt Springs on Slave River. Following the south and east bank of Peace River, the
plateau from Hudson's Hope, though fertile, is for the most part thickly wooded as far as
Pine River, which flows into the Peace about 4 miles below Fort St. John. Beyond
that, as far as Smoky River, there is a broadening expanse of cultivable land, partly
wooded and partly open, which, including "the Grande Prairie," is in some parts at
least 70 miles in width from north to south. There, bending with the river, the belt of
fertile soil continues for an average, it is said, of about 40 miles from the river, as far as
Fort Vermilion, and for a narrower belt from Vermilion to Lake Athabasca. East and
south of this belt, however, the greater portion of the country enclosed by Peace River
on the north and west, and Lesser Slave Lake and Athabasca River on the south and
east, is said to be broken by hills, lakes, streams and marshes that render it, to a great
degree, unfit for farmiirg. This enclosure is one of the best hunting grounds for beaver
known to the Hudson's Bay Company, 8,000 beaver skins having been received lastyear
at the Hudson's Bay post at Lesser Slave Lake, taken almost entirely from this district.
" It would be difficult to form any reliable estimate of the area of arable lands in
this Peace River District, without much more careful examination than has yet been
made ; but it is manifest that the extent of fertile soil is very great, the best of it
apparently being that which lies to the south of Peace River, including what is known
as "La Grande Prairie."
" Even at the Hudson's Bay Co.'s posts throughout this district, where most of the
vegetables and cereals grown in Ontario can be raised with success, the agents and half-
breeds are almost entirely dependent on their hunters for food. They could raise cattle
and crops very easily ; wild hay is plentiful in the vicinit}' of many of the Forts ; the
return of potatoes is frequently as high as 40 to 1 ; 25 kegs of potatoes at Dunvegan
have yielded 1,000 kegs ; and yet many of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s agents depend for
their supply of food very largely on the labours of the Indian hunters that are attached
to the post. 65
" Wheat thrives and ripens at Hudson's Hope, Fort St. John and Dunvegan, and
also at Lesser Slave Lake, which is on the level of the plateau, even although summer
frosts occur occasionally in June and sometimes even in July at those localities, while
this year there was frost at Dunvegan, as well as on the plateau to the north and south,
during the latter part of August.
" Horses are kept out all winter upon the plateau, even although the thermometer
sometimes falls to 50° below zero, being able to paw away the light snow, which averages
1J feet in depth, beneath which they find abundance of excellent grass. Cattle are
usually home-fed from the latter part of November to the nriddle of March, large
quantities of hay being procured from the patches of meadow land found here and there
on the plateau, and, no doubt, the hay crop could be indefinitely increased if seed were
only sown in suitable localities.
" The ice in the river at Fort Dunvegan, which usually forms about the first week
in December, has, during the past five years as shown by the Company's journals, left
on the average about the 18th of April, that is, several days before the average date of
the opening of navigation at Ottawa. The average date for planting potatoes, during
the same period, has been the 4th of May ; the time for digging potatoes being usually
about the 23rd of September.
" There are not sufficient data to institute a fair comparison between the Peace
River country and other fertile portions of the North-West. The soil seems as rich and
the herbage as luxuriant as in some of the districts that are already known to be
admirably adapted to the growth of grain, but the fitness of the climate, however
probable, cannot yet be said to be definitely assured.
" In addition to its agricultural resources, this district appears to possess abundance
of coal, excellent specimens having been found, though in narrow seams, on Elk River
(a tributary of Smoky River), on Smoky River and on Peace River. There is abundance
of good timber, chiefly spruce, within easy access from the river, while the great facilities
for steam navigation afforded by the Peace River, and the large size of several of its
tributaries, furnish favourable means of communication throughout a large portion of
the district.
" Every traveller through the Peace River District is surprised at the mildness of
the climate. Although the winter is severe, yet the summer is, generally, as warm as
that usually enjoj'ed ten degrees further south in Ontario or Quebec, without the discomfort of oppressively warrrr nights. There is a marked change between the climate
on the east and that on the west side of the Rocky Mountains, that on the east being
drier and much warmer."
Report by Dr.  Dawson.
Doctor G. M. Dawson, who was a rrrember of the exploratory party of 1879 in
company with Messrs. Cambie, McLeod and Gordon, in his report in 1880, says :—
" The portion of the Peace River country, for which the exploration of last season
enables pretty accurate general information to be given, may be considered as extending
eastward from the Middle Forks of Pine River. West of this point, as already stated,
the areas of fertile land are small, being confined to certain river valleys which penetrate the foot-hills of the Rooky Mountains and high plateau attached to them. With
this western limit, the region now to be described may be considered as bounded to the
north by the 57th parallel, to its intersection eastward with the Peace River. Thence
the boundary may be assumed to follow the Peace River southward to the mouth of
Heart Brook, near the confluence of the Smoky River. Thence to run south-eastward
to the extremity of Lesser Slave Lake, to follow the western border of the hilly region
lying to the south of the lake to the Athabaska River; thence to follow the Athabaska
westward to the foot-hills, and, skirting the foot-hills, to run north-westward to the
first-mentioned point on Pine River.
" West of the Smoky River, both to the south and north of Peace River, there are
extensive areas of prairie country, either perfectly open and covered with a more or less
luxuriant growth of grass, or dotted with patches of coppice and trees.
'' The northern banks of the Peace River Valley are also very generally open and
grassed, and parts of the valley of the Smoky and other rivers have a similar character.
The total area of prairie land west of the Smoky River may be about 3,000 square
miles.    The remainder of the surface is generally occupied by second-growth forest, 66
occasionally dense, but more often open and composed of aspen, birch and cottonwood,
with a greater or less proportion of coniferous trees. Some patches of the original
forest, however, remain, particularly in the river valleys, and are composed of much
larger trees, chiefly coniferous, among which the black spruce is most abundant. Handsome groves of old and large cottonwoods are also to be found in some of the valleys.
Where the soil becomes locally sandy and poor, and more particularly in some of the
more elevated parts of the ridges before described, a thick growth of scrub pine and
black spruce, in which the individual trees are small, is found ; and in swampy regions
the tamarao is not wanting, and grows generally intermixed with the black spruce.
" The luxuriance of the natural vegetation in these prairies is truly wonderful, and
indicates not alone the fertility of the soil, but the occurrence of a sufficient rainfall.
The service-berry, or amalanchier, and the choke-cherry are very abundant in some
places, particularly on the so-called Grande Prairie, which constitutes the great berry-
gathering ground of the Indians.
"With regard to the climate of the Peace River country, we are without such
accurate infornration as might be obtained from a careful meteorological record, embracing even a single year, and its character can at present be ascertained merely from notes
and observations of a general character and the appearance of the natural vegetation.
It may be stated at once that the ascertained facts leave no doubt on the subject of the
sufficient length and warmth of the season to ripen wheat, oats and barley, with all the
ordinary root crops and vegetables, the only point which may admit of question being
to what extent the occurrence of late and early frosts may interfere with growth. This
remark is intended to apply to the whole district previously defined, though it must be
remembered, in considering the subject, that the conditions of places situated in the
bottom of the trough-like river valley, and 600 to 800 feet below the plateau, may be
considerably different from those of its surface.
" While regretting that the data at disposal for the determination of the agricultural value of the Peace River country are not more ample, we may, I believe, arrive
with considerable certainty at the general fact that it is great. From such comparison
as can be made, it would be premature to allow that the climate of the Peace River is
inferior to that of the region about Edmonton or the Saskatchewan. It is true that in
both the Saskatchewan and Peace River Districts the season is none too long for the
cultivation of wheat, but if the crop can be counted on as a sure one—and experience
seems to indicate that it may—the occurrence of early and late frosts may be regarded
with comparative indifference. The season is at least equally short throughout the
whole fertile belt from the Peace River to Manitoba, though early and late frosts are
not so common in the low valley of the Red River. The almost simultaneous advance
of spring along the whole line of this fertile belt is indicated by the dates of the flowering of the various plants, a point referred to by me in some detail elsewhere. It is
further unquestionable that the winter is less severe and not subject to the same
extremes in the Peace River and Upper Saskatchewan regions as in Manitoba."
Professor Maeoun's Report.
Professor John Macoun, in a report written specially for this Bulletin, says :—
"It is difficult to define the limits of that part of the Peace River District lying
within British Columbia, as comparatively little has been done to fix these, owing to the
absence of surveys. Generally stated, however, the eastern boundary of British Columbia
follows the summit of the Rocky Mountains to latitude 54°. At this point it passes
due north on the 120th meridian to the 60th parallel, and thence westward- to the Pacific.
That part which lies east of the Rocky Mountains is what is usually known as the Peace
River country, and includes a large agricultural region both north and south of the river.
In making a sketch of this region, it is not desirable to limit its extent to that part
immediately within British Columbia, as no definite points have been fixed. On this
account I reproduce that part of Dr. G. M. Dawson's report of 1879 which deals with
the extent and capabilities of the district in question (reproduced elsewhere):—
"An Immense District of Great Fertility.
" From 5,000 to 10,000 square miles of the above area is included in British Columbia,
and both at Hudson Hope and St. John the climatic conditions are favourable where the
land is suited for agriculture.    The country between Dunvegan and St. John south of 67
the Peace River is largely prairie and poplar copse and everj'where the soil is good.
North of St. John, on the plateau back from the river, common grasses attained a height
of from four to six feet, and vetches were found eight feet late in July, 1875.
"Since then many reports of the fertility of the region have been written, but none
have denied the earlier statements made by the writer and Dr. Dawson. On. this account
it is fair to assume that our opinions are established facts, and that the 31,550 square
miles of area mentioned by Dr. Dawson are not too much, and that when proper surveys
are made, 10,000 square miles of this will fall to the portion of British Columbia.
'' Poplar and spruce for all purposes and of good size are to be found throughout the
district, except where prairie predominates. Many fine prairies are to be seen in the
drier part, but in all cases these prairies seem to have been caused by repeated fires.
The ' Grande Prairie,' which is said to be of great extent, is eminently suited for
agriculture, as it is meadow and copse, and in places covered with berry-bearing bushes,
chiefly saskatoon berries (Amelauehier alnifolia). It is now well known that spring
opens about the same time between Winnipeg and Peace River, and if either is earlier
it is the Peace River. Summer frosts are practically unknown, but local late spring and
early fall frosts may be expected for years to come. These will soon pass away as cultivation increases, in the same way as they have done in Manitoba and the Territories.
At present farming is being carried on at the head of Lesser Slave Lake and on the
plateau near the mouth of Smoky River. From both places I have seen fine samples of
wheat grown during the past season.
"After having seen the growth of vegetables and cereals at Dawson, in the Yukon
District, and remembering what I have seen on Peace River, the Nechaco, Lake Babine
and the reports from the Skeena and Stikine, I am led to believe that the day of a
general awakening has come, and we can now say that Northern British Columbia will,
in the future, support a very large population on its own productions. Throughout the
whole region, including the Yukon District, fodder for horses and cattle in any quantity
can be grown. At Dawson, clover and timothy were found last season to do remarkably
well. Oats, barley and wheat were found in the same field. The two former were ripe
on August 23rd, and the wheat so far matured that, after drying, the ears looked ripe.
Last month I sent three ears of wheat grown at Dawson, in latitude 64° 15', to the
Experimental Farm in this city, to have it tested. The report received the other day
was ' 100 grains planted, 100 grains sprouted, and 100 grains were vigourous, and no
weak plants were produced.' Such a report as the above shows that all lands suitable
to grow wheat in the Peace River region, Northern British Columbia and the Yukon
District, have climatic conditions suitable for the growth of all necessaries in a civilized
" The whole district, as said above, is an almost level plateau, with a slight dip to
the valleys of the Peace and Smoky Rivers. Owing to the depth of these valleys and
the absence of rock, the conditions for drainage are perfect, and all boggy places and
wet or damp tracts will be easily drained. As will be seen by consulting a map, the
finest tract lies between the Smoky River and the Peace, and here the earliest settlements will likely take place. The shelter afforded by these river valleys, with others
that traverse the plateau, will be at once taken advantage of for the protection of stock
and the nearness of water.
"Timber and Coal in Abundance.
'' The timber trees of the district are few but valuable. Aspen, poplar and white
spruce are the prevailing trees, though cottonwood and black spruce are abundant in the
river valleys, especially on islands. On the islands the latter tree grows to a great size
and height, and it was not uncommon to see trees five feet and more in diameter on
islands above and below St. John.
" It is more than likely that large coal deposits exist under much, if not all, of the
district. In the autumn of 1872 the writer found a small seam of coal in a river bank
between Dunvegan and St. John, south of the Peace River. This coal burnt with a
bright flame, and, although in small quantity where procured, may eventually turn out
to be a valuable deposit. When making the traverse from Fort Assiniboine to Lesser
Slave Lake, in September, 1872, the writer came upon a river which empties very likely
into Smoky River, which had great blocks of coal in its bed and evidently belonged to
a very large seam." 68
AS many inquiries are made respecting these districts, portions of which may rightly
be regarded as being comprised within the undeveloped areas of the Northern
Interior, it has been deemed advisable to include some reference to them. Fronr the
Report of the Department of Agriculture for the year 1903, just issued, the following
extracts are made :—
"From Lytton to Alkali Lake, and including, besides the two places mentioned,
Lillooet, Pavilion, Big Bar Creek, Empire Valley, Dog Creek, Gang Ranch and Chilcotin.
"This part of the country, being off the main Cariboo Waggon Road, is devoted
extensively to stock-raising, as the expense attached to the transportation of general
crops is too great to admit of general production.
"Alkali Lake and Dog Creek are on the east side of the Fraser River, on the road
which branches from the Cariboo Road at 150-Mile House and runs along the Fraser to
the vicinity of Big Bar, where it leaves the river and joins the main road at Clinton.
The Canada Western Company's property, called the Gang Ranch, is on the opposite
side of the Fraser River, on Gaspard Creek. Chilcotin and Empire Valley are also on
the same side.
" Lillooet and Pavilion are below Big Bar Creek, on the river road. Lillooet
includes Pemberton Meadows and what is known as the Douglas Portage, that part
between Port Douglas and Harrison Lake and Lillooet, on the original Cariboo Road.
"Pavilion and Pavilion Mountain include all the country on the east side of the
Fraser, Marble Canyon, as well as that on the mountain, which is at an elevation of
some 3,000 to 3,500 feet, increasing until it reaches about 5,000 feet. Communication
is maintained by good waggon roads to Clinton over the mountain 21 miles, with Lillooet
17 miles and Ashcroft, through the Marble Canyon, about 36 miles.
"In Chilcotin is included all that section lying on the western side of the Fraser,
between Soda Creek and Chilcotin River, a distance of about 40 miles, and running back
about the same. It is but sparsely settled, the country being principally adapted to
stock-raising; in parts, however, good crops of grain and roots are obtained, although
the general altitude is unfavourable to mixed farming. According to Mr. Sanford
Fleming, the average altitude of Chilcotin Valley is 2,625 ; of the plain, 3,411 ; of the
Chilcotin Lake, 3,150; of old Chilcotin Fort, 3,800; and of the foot of Riskie Creek,
2,170 feet, the Fraser being in the neighbourhood of 1,400, giving some idea of the
climb necessary to attain the level of the plain above. The crossing at Soda Creek is
effected by a good wire-rope ferry, whence there is an excellent road through Chilcotin
proper ; another crosses Chimney Creek, and is effected by boat and swimming horses ;
the latter route is a great saving of distance for settlers living on Chilcotin River and
Valley, in reaching the Cariboo Waggon Road.
"At Chilcotin, on the western side of the Fraser, and at Dog Creek, Alkali Lake
and other points on the eastern side, there are extensive ranges, and stock-raising is
prosecuted on a large scale, and in the valleys and river benches most of the ordinary
crops are grown. Fruit succeeds fairly well in favourable locations, as well as all garden
crops. The elevated plateaux are, however, only suited for stock-raising, and are
entirely devoted to that purpose.
'' Cariboo Waggon Road, including all points between Ashcroft and Quesnel, the
principal of which are Clinton, Bridge Creek, Lac la Hache, Williams Lake, the 150-
Mile House, Soda Creek and Alexandria.    All of these points are connected by stage— three time a week—with Ashcroft, the point of connection with the Canadian Pacific
Railway. Clinton is situated 32 miles from Ashcroft, at the point at which the Lillooet
and Big Bar Roads leave the main waggon road.
"The farms in the valley of the Bonaparte are well adapted for all the usual crops
and fruit; but as the elevation increases along the Cariboo Waggon Road, so the range
of capabilities, from an agricultural standpoint, becomes circumscribed. At the 70-Mile
House, Mr. Wm. Boyd does a good deal of dairying, and there are places off the road
well suited for this pursuit and stock-raising. That part called the green timber,
through which the road runs, is very dreary and valueless for agricultural purposes.
Descending to Bridge Creek, there is a decided change for the better ; the land is fertile
and all the ordinary field crops are successfully grown ; thence to Lac la Hache the
valley is well suited for dairying, being well supplied with wild vetches and grass.
"Timber is plentiful everywhere for all purposes of the ranchers, and of water there
is no lack for purposes of irrigation. Barley, oats, rye and hay give good returns, and
are extensively cultivated to supply local demands. Root crops are also good, but large
fruits are not grown. Cattle are produced in large numbers for beef and dairying. The
latter industry, for which this part is well adapted, has some attention paid to it here,
and a considerable quantity of butter is produced. A good many horses are reared, and
a few sheep and pigs.
" Quite an extent of good land lies in the vicinity of Williams Lake, 150-Mile House
and Chimney Creek. The country along this road to Alkali Lake is very beautiful, but
orr account of the altitude, which is from 1,750 to 3,500 feet, practically nothing is raised
with the exception of hay, stock-raising being exclusively carried on. About Williams
Lake, however, all the ordinary cereals and roots are successfully grown, and a good
market is always obtained at the Cariboo mines.
"Soda Creek and Alexandria lie along the Fraser River and the Cariboo Waggon
Road. The valley of the Fraser River, above Soda Creek, widens out considerably, so
that the ranches are much nearer the level of the river than they are lower down. Most
of the ranches are on the eastern side of the river, on the Cariboo Road, some of thenr
very fine ones, notably the Australian and Bohannon's, beyond Alexandria, where
extensive and profitable operations are carried on. On the western side, above Alexandria, are also some large and fertile farms, including that of Mr. Adams, upon which
very heavy crops of cereals are grown. The former is 165 miles, arrd the latter 185
miles, from Ashcroft.
"Soda Creek is at the confluence of that creek with the Fraser, and the first point
of contact the waggon road has with the Fraser. At thispoint Mr. Dunlevy has a farm
at which wheat, barley and oats are the principal cereals grown, the two latter principally for horse and cattle feed, a large quantity being required, as all the Cariboo
country is supplied by means of teams by the waggon road. Sonre apples are produced
at Soda Creek with moderate success ; possibly some of the well-known hardy Russian
varieties may be successfully cultivated hereabouts. Other tree fruits are also produced
with indifferent success ; small fruits produce well. Well adapted for the production
of cattle, horses and sheep, bunch-grass and wild vetch giving an abundance of most
nutritious feed. Horned cattle and a few horses are, however, only raised, the former
in considerable numbers. Sheep are not produced in any quantity, principally on
account of the prevalence of predatory wild animals and the objection of the cattle f
CROWN lands, where such a system is practicable, are laid off and surveyed into
quadrilateral townships, containing thirty-six sections of one mile square in each.
Any person, being the head of a family, a widow, or single man over the age of
eighteen years, and being a British subject, or any alien, upon his making a declaration
of his intention to become a British subject, may, for agricultural purposes, record any
tract of unoccupied and unreserved Crown lands (not being an Indian settlement) not
exceeding three hundred and twenty acres in extent in that portion of the Province
situated to the northward and eastward of the Cascade or Coast Range of Mountains,
and one hundred and sixty acres in extent in the rest of the Province.
No person can hold more than one pre-emption claim at a time. Prior record of
pre-emption of one claim and all rights under it are forfeited by subsequent record or
pre-emption of another claim.
Land recorded or pre-empted cannot be transferred or conveyed until after a Crown
grant has been issued.
Such land, until the Crown grant is issued, is held by occupation. Such occupation
must be a bona fide personal residence of the settler or his family.
The settler must enter into occupation of the land within thirty days after
recording, and must continue to occupy it.
Continuous absence for a period longer than two months corrsecutively of the settler
or family is deemed cessation of occupation ; but leave of absence may be granted not
exceeding six months in any one year, inclusive of two months' absence.
Land is considered abandoned if unoccupied for more than two months consecutively.
If so abandoned, the land becomes waste lands of the Crown.
The fee on recording is two dollars (8s.)
The settler shall have the land surveyed at his own instance (subject to the rectification of the boundaries) within five years from the date of record.
After survey has been made, upon proof in declaration in writing of himself and
two other persons of occupation for two years fronr date of pre-emption, and of having
made permanent improvement on the land to the value of two dollars and fifty cents
per acre, the settler on producing the pre-emption certificate obtains a certificate of
improvement upon payment of a fee of $2.
After obtaining the certificate of inrprovement and paying for the land, the settler
is entitled to aCrowrr grant in fee simple.     He pays $10 therefor.
The price of Crown lands pre-empted is $1 (4 shillings) per acre, which must be
paid in four equal instalments, as follows : I'irst instalment two years from date of
record or pre-emption, and yearly thereafter, but the last instalment is not payable till
after the survey, if the land is unsurveyed.
Two, three or four settlers may enter into partnership with pre-emptions of 160
acres each, and reside on one homestead. Improvements amounting to $2.50 per acre
made on some portion thereof will secure Crown grant for the whole, conditions of payment being same as above. 71
The Crown grant reserves to the Crown a royalty of five cents per ton on every ton
of merchantable coal raised or gotten from the land, not including dross or fine slack,
and fifty cents per M. on timber. Coal and petroleum lands do not pass under grant of
lands acquired since passage of Land Act Amendment of 1899.
No Crown grant can be issued to an alien who may have recorded or pre-empted by
virtue of his declaring his intention to become a British subject, unless he has become
The heirs of devisees of the settler are entitled to the Crown grant on his decease.
Crown lands may be purchased to the extent of 640 acres, and for this purpose are
classified as first, second and third class, according to the report of the surveyor. It
has not, however, been the policy of the Government for some time past to sell lands,
except when required for special purposes.
Lands which are suitable for agricultural purposes, or which are capable of being
brought under cultivation profitably, or which are wild hay meadow lands, rank as and
are considered to be first-class lands. Lands which are suitable for agricultural purposes
only when artificially irrigated, and which do not contain timber valuable for lumbering
purposes, as defined below, rank as and are considered to be second class lands.
Mountainous and rocky tracts of land which are wholly unfit for agricultural purposes,
and which cannot, under any reasonable conditions, be brought under cultivation, and
which do not contain timber suitable for lumbering purposes, as defined below, or hay
meadows, rank as and are considered to be third class or pastoral lands. Timber lands
(that is, lands which contain milling timber to the average extent of eight thousand feet
per acre west of the Cascades, and five thousand feet per acre east of the Cascades, to
each one hundred and sixty acres) are not open for sale.
The minimum price of first-class land, $5 per acre ; second-class, $2.50 per acre ;
third-class, $1 per acre. No settlement duties are required on such land unless a second
purchase is contemplated. In such a case, the first purchase must be improved to the
extent of $5 per acre for first-class ; $2.50 second-class ; and $1 third-class.
Leases of Crown lands in lots not exceeding 20 acres may be obtained ; and if
requisite improvements are made and conditions of the lease fulfilled at the expiration
of lease, Crown grants are issued.
Leases (containing such covenants and conditions as may be thought advisable) of
Crown lands may be granted by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council for the following
purposes :—
(a.) For the purpose of cutting hay thereon, for a term not exceeding ten years :
(b.) For any purposes whatsoever, except cutting hay as aforesaid, for a term not
exceeding twenty-one years.
Twenty-one year timber leases are now subject to public competition, and the
highest cash bonus is accepted, subject to the 50 cents per M. royalty above mentioned, and an annual rental, in advance, of 15 cents per acre. The holder must
put up a saw-mill capable of cutting not less than 1,000 feet of lumber per day of
12 hours for every 400 acres of land in such lease ; and such mill shall be kept running
for at least six months in every year.
The farm and buildings, when registered, cannot be taken for debt incurred after
registration ; and it is free from seizure up to a value not greater than $500 (£100
English).    Cattle " farmed on shares " are also protected by an Exemption Act.
The fact of a person having a homestead in other provinces, or on Dominion Government lands in this Province, is no bar to pre-empting Crown lands in British Columbia. 72
Arable land, area of   50
Ashcroft Route      8
Babine and Stuart Lake     50-52
Bell, H. P., report of   40
Bella Coola Route     8
Bella Coola, route in from     28
Bella Coola Valley     7
Blackwater           5
Blackwater Valley 43, 47, 53, 56
Bulkley Valley 3, 5, 7, 17, 18-27, 56
Cambie, H. J., report of. .3, 55-57, 61-62
Canoe River     5
Canoe River Valley   59-60
Cariboo District     68
Cheslahta District   20
Cheslahta Lake (illustration)   20
Chilaco Valley     48
Chilcotin 5, 68
Chilcotin District   56
Chilcotin Valley  42
Corrigan, George D., report of 12,  14
Crown Lands, laws affecting 70-71
Dawson, Dr., report of 14, 65-66
Edmonton Route       8
Endako Valley              17
Fort Fraser   46
Fort George   45, 48
Fort St. James   48
Francois Lake  56
Francois Lake Valley     48
Fraser Lake   46
Gardner Inlet Route 25-28
Gauvreau, N. B., report of    17
Gordon, Rev. D. M., report of   63
Hagglegate Canyon (illustration)     4
Homalthco   56
Homalthco Valley   56
Hudson's Bay Company        3
Introduction 3-9
Kemano Valley    16
Kispyox Valley 5,    7
Kispyox Valley (illustration)     6
Kitimaat Valley    13,  16
Kitlo Valley    16
Lands, Crown, laws affecting.........  70
Lee, R. H., report of 59-60
Lillooet District           68
Macoun, Prof., report of 14, 66-67
Manson Creek, flats on (illustration) ..  44
Mcintosh, J. W., report of 3, 18-32
McLeod, H. A. F., report of   62-63
McMillan, D., report of   21-32
Naas Valley    16
Na-kal-at Valley    17
Nation and Parsnip Rivers, junction of
(illustration)   54
Nechaco   52
Nechaco Valley 3, 48, 56
Nechaco Valley, report on 32-39
Newill, H. H., report of   13
North-West Coast    12-13
Ootsa Lake 5, 7, 18-27, 56
Ootsa Lake (illustrations), 19, 22, 26,
27, 29, 31, 34, 36
Peace River   5, 61
Peace River Valley         7
Pine River Pass (illustration)     38
Pine River Valley, view of  58
Port Simpson     .57
Poudrier, A. L., report of, 3, 14, 16, 32-39
Queen Charlotte Islands     11
Quesnel and Stuart Lake   41
Rates, freight and passenger       9
Routes in and out 7-9
Skeena River Valley    16
Skeena River, view of   60
Skeena River Route        8
Smith, Marcus, report of 53-55
Strathern, John, report of         14
Stuart Lake   48
Susquwah Valley    17
Tatla Lake   40
Telkwa River, view of   63
Vancouver Island    10
Warning to settlers     5
Printed by Richard Wolfenden, I.S.O., V.D., Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty.


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