Goat Range Provincial Park is 87,947 hectares of untamed wilderness deep in the Selkirk Mountains. It has just recently been expanded to include the former Trout Lake Provincial Park to the north. One of the primary reasons for including Trout Lake is to protect the world’s largest rainbow trout, as well as to provide undisturbed habitat for the area’s bear, elk, deer, mountain caribous, and mountain goats.
The park has much to offer in terms of its wildlife, plantlife and physical features. There is the spectacular 63-metre high Wilson Creek Falls, the 3,089-metre high Mt. Cooper topped by the Spokane Glacier, peaceful alpine meadows of heather and miniature icebergs floating on azure lakes. The park also protects some of B.C.’s most unique and endangered wildlife – it’s home to the world’s largest concentration of the rare white grizzly, or as known by the Ktunaxa (or Kutenai) First Nations people, the pic-ha-kee-lowna. The bear is easily identified by its distinctive unique blonde colouring.
Another interesting inhabitant of the park is the giant Gerrard rainbow trout, the world’s largest rainbow trout – up to 50 pounds in size! However, due to mismanagement with hatcheries, over-fishing, and logging in the first half of the 1900s, the population of Gerrard rainbow trout is in sad shape today. In an attempt to restore current stocks, the Lardeau River and associated tributary waters have been permanently closed to fishing.
The southern tip of Trout Lake was once the town site of Gerrard, an abandoned railroad town, after which Gerrard trout were named. In 1903, the Arrowhead and Kootenay terminus was constructed at Gerrard by the Canadian Pacific Railway, and operated until World War II. The railway connected steamships on Kootenay Lake at Lardeau with Trout Lake. In 1942, the tracks were pulled up and Gerrard quickly became a ghost town.
Activities include hiking, mountaineering, fishing, wildlife viewing, skiing and snowmobiling. Wilderness, backcountry walk-in camping is provided, but no facilities are provided.
Goat Range Provincial Park is located about 50 miles (80 km) north of Kaslo on the western shore of Kootenay Lake in the Kootenays region of British Columbia. The main entrance to the park is at the southern tip of Trout Lake, near the old town site of Gerrard off Highway 31. Access to the campsites is along a good gravel road, but getting to the trailheads often requires a four-wheel-drive vehicle with good ground clearance.
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