Established in 1999, the Babine River Corridor Provincial Park is a true testament to the tireless work of wildlife conservationists and the fight to protect natural habitats and the environment. After having been ravaged for years by the logging industry, the Park was established in 1999 to protect the Babine River, the forests surrounding it, and the wildlife found in the area (in fact the Babine River is one of the world’s premier salmon runs).
Located north of Hazelton, British Columbia, the park moves you to pay homage to those who fought for its preservation. This 150 square kilometer piece of British Columbian paradise is truly the perfect location for nature lovers from anywhere around the globe.
Wildlife in the area is absolutely rich! Grizzly bear sighting are a common occurrence in the area, with some hikers reporting to have seen as many as 15 bears together in one of the Park’s areas. Millions of salmon run through the Babine River, and ornithology enthusiasts also get a chance to see magnificent Sandhill cranes during spring and fall.
For recreation, visitors have the option of Hiking, horse-riding, and fishing. The Park is also a popular destination for skiing at Bulkley Valley. In addition to fishing, the Babine River and Lake provide an opportunity for rafting and kayaking as well.
Babine River Corridor Provincial Park is located 2 km downstream of Nilkitkwa Lake, which is northwest to Kisgegas, a First Nations Reserve.
If coming from Smithers, British Columbia, the drive is approximately 130 km or about 80 miles, after which you would need to take Babine Lake Road east, then Nilkitkwa Forest Service Road north for another 58 km before reaching the park entrance. The roads are reasonably well-maintained although narrow at times, especially closer to the park.
Babine River Corridor Provincial Park has facilities to accommodate RV campers. The campground has 10 sites which are available on a first come, first serve basis (there is no reservation system). The campground does not have any electric, water or sewage hook up. Considering the park is user maintained, anything that you have unpacked must be packed and taken with you while leaving. Restrooms facilities are available on site, and the campground has direct access available to both hiking trails and fishing spots. Picnic table and fire pits are also located around the campsites for you to enjoy a primitive but surreal experience in unadulterated nature.
The Park is a popular spot for kayaking and canoeing for countless visitors every year. Rafting enthusiasts have access to a 30 km stretch of Class 3 and 4 rapids, but there is only one guided trip every day. You can organize private runs through the river as permits are not required. However, the journey is risky and you should consider having experienced rafters in your group if you want to organize a private run. According to the Park authorities, the dates to avoid any private runs through the river are July 29th, August 14th, August 21st, and August 23rd.
Babine Lake also serves as a great location for those canoeing or kayaking enthusiasts who are looking for a more peaceful experience. Being blessed with the largest lake in British Columbia, and situated smack dab in the middle of beautiful forests, the setting is perfect for anyone to just row out into the middle of the lake and enjoy majestic views of the countryside. If you’re lucky, and a little quiet, you might even spot a grizzly bear fishing for its dinner.
The Babine River is considered by many professionals as the premier spot for steelhead and sockeye salmon. The Babine Lake (British Columbia’s largest lake) on the other hand, is a great fishing spot for lovers of rainbow trout and char. However, before you get to the Park, make sure you have an appropriate license as British Columbia law explicitly states that anyone fishing or angling must have a valid license.
Make sure you follow Park etiquette when fishing; give people space, don’t hog any good pools and make sure you don’t exceed your daily quota. Helpful hint: Fisheries and Oceans Canada publish the daily quota for sockeye salmon.
While the park may be open to hunting, there are strict laws and guidelines in place to protect the safety of visitors and wildlife. Before planning your trip, make sure to refer to the current BC Hunting and Trapping Regulations. There are also several designated no shooting spots around the Park and the front office should be consulted regarding the same before you start your hunt.
Due to its protected status, the Park is home to a number of diverse wildlife. Grizzly bears are a common occurrence. In fact, they’re so common that a location in the Park has been named “Grizzly Drop”, as visitors have seen up to 15 grizzly bears at the same time there.
The Park also serves as a resting spot for Sandhill cranes in their migration route. Every spring and fall, large flocks of these gather in the Park and bird watching enthusiasts visit the Park to see their distinctive red markings and bull-like call.
The park has numerous hiking trails. Considering the picturesque setting of the British Columbia countryside, you shouldn't miss the experience of hiking through majestic untouched nature. However, because the Park has a protected status, and rich wildlife in the area, always make sure to obey posted signs, and never deviate from the designated trails. Not only is treading off the trails harmful to the flora of the area, but it may also be a serious risk to your personal safety. Bears are known to use the trails in the Park from time to time, so trails should be avoided during dusk and dawn and you should make noise while hiking.