Mount Fernie Provincial Park is a small park with a big personality. Black bear, deer, and elk are commonly seen in these parts, and if they drop by for a visit, you better be on your best behaviour. Situated in the southern portion of the Kootenay Range, this 259 hectare park is shadowed by the 2,133m high Mount Fernie and protects the drainage area of Lizard Creek. Lizard Creek flows through the park before forming a beautiful waterfall and emptying into the Elk River. Surrounding forests consist of western larch, Douglas fir, black cottonwood, trembling aspen, western red cedar and spruce, including some areas of old growth. Plantlife includes a variety of lichens, mosses, ferns and wildflowers.
The town of Fernie is named after William Fernie, who was instrumental in developing a coal mining industry in the area. Legend states that William Fernie acquired information about coal deposits in the region from the Tobacco Plains Indian tribe in exchange for him marrying one of the tribe’s women. But after acquiring his information, William Fernie rejected his intended bride. Enraged by this, the girl’s father placed a curse upon the name “Fernie”. Following this, the town of Fernie experienced a string of bad luck. In 1902 a mining explosion killed 128 people, and in 1904 and 1908 two fires occurred with the latter leaving 6,000 people homeless. The town also experienced some flooding during this time. Finally in 1964, Chief Red Eagle of the Tobacco Plains Band lifted the curse. Some believe that on summer nights, ghosts of the Indian father and daughter can be seen riding across Hosmer Mountain in search of William Fernie.
There’s literally something here for everyone; a 3km interpretive trail meanders through the park to picturesque Lizard Creek and its waterfalls. Fishing in the nearby Elk River and mountain biking are also popular activities. During the summer, educational interpretive programs are offered including guided walks, slide shows and children’s events.
There are 40 vehicle/tent campsites at this semi-wilderness park, as well as a day-use/picnicking area. Basic facilities are provided – the park is open from May 17 – September 30; Off season: camping only in top loop area; no fees; no services; user maintained.
Mount Fernie Provincial Park is located in the BC Rockies region of British Columbia, about 2 miles (3 km) west of Fernie just off the Crowsnest Highway 3.
Nearby Regions & Towns