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The 346,313 hectare (855,774 acre) Dune Za Keyih Provincial Park and Recreation Area is a beautiful example of northern Rocky Mountain valley-bottom ecosystems. In this cold northern part of BC valley bottoms are very important havens for wildlife because they feature milder climates and provide access to food and shelter during the harsh winter months. Dune Za Keyih is particularly important because it protects the confluence of three separate river valleys, as well as portions of each. While the park is especially remote and difficult to reach, and very undeveloped, those who do visit the area will be treated to wilderness at its best. The area is untouched by roads or development, leaving nature to function virtually free of human influence. The result is completely intact plant and animal communities, providing ample photographic and viewing opportunities to those who chose to spend time in Dune Za Keyih.

location

This park is in a very remote area of British Columbia, some distance east of the northern community of Fort Nelson. There are no roads into the park and thus access to it is somewhat difficult. Jet boats can sometimes reach the park by going up the Kechika River, but logjams often block the upper portions. The best way to reach the park is to charter a float plane or helicopter.

Click on the map to view an enlargement


"The 346,313 hectare (855,774 acre) Dune Za Keyih Provincial Park and Recreation Area is a beautiful example of northern Rocky Mountain valley bottom ecosystems."



recreation

This remote park is a beautiful and pristine place to visit for those who have extensive backcountry experience. Recreational opportunities in the park include canoeing, camping and fishing. There are no developed campsites in the park, but backcountry camping is permitted throughout the area. Horseback riding and hiking are also possible in the park, although there are no official trails. Wildlife routes and guide-outfitter trails may provide horse travel opportunities. Those wishing to fish in the park are reminded that they must have a valid fishing licence.

wildlife

Located in the Northern Rocky Trench, this park is very important for wildlife, as it is remote enough to provide protection from many of the impacts of humans. The park includes portions of three rivers, the Kechika, Gataga, and Frog, as well as the confluence of them all.

This means that animals can freely move between the important valley bottom habitats of all three rivers. In addition to these rivers, the park also contains several lakes that provide further wildlife habitat. Wildlife found in the park includes grizzly and black bear, wolf, moose, elk, caribou, and mule deer. Stone sheep, mountain goat, and wolverine also reside in the park.

The low elevation ecosystems protected in Dune Za Keyih are important for their plants as well as animals. The park contains three of the province's 14 biogeoclimatic zones: Alpine Tundra, Sub-boreal White and Black Spruce, and Boreal White and Black Spruce. Each of these zones features distinctive plant communities, which in turn support specific animals.


"This park is very important for wildlife, as it is remote enough to protect them from many of the impacts of humans."


history

Dune Za Keyih Park and Recreation Area, a sizeable protected area in the heart of the larger Muskwa-Kechika wildland complex, is located in the Kaska Dena people's traditional territory. The area became known as part of one of the routes to the Klondike gold fields in the late 1890s. Part of this route - what is known as the Altse Dene Tunna or ‘Davie Trail' - ran by the confluence of the Gataga and Kechika Rivers.


"This remote park is a beautiful and pristine place to visit for those who have extensive backcountry experience."


A large comprehensive park in the Northern Rockies was originally suggested in the 1970s for protection by then fish and wildlife biologist Ken Sumanik as a way to retain the high quality wildlife resources of the area. However, it was not until two decades later, when conservationists George Smith of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and Wayne Sawchuck of the Chetwynd Conservation Society finally put their energy towards achieving this vision that conservation results were achieved. Smith and Sawchuck had a dream of a completing a large protected area in the region, a Northern Rockies Complex. When the Mackenzie Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP) process convened in the late 1990s they took the lead conservation role, joined by Johnny Mikes - a river rafter from who had been part of the Tatshenshini campaign. In 2000 they were successful in negotiating several areas including Dune Za Keyih Park.

The wild country in the area has long been crucial to the lifestyle and culture of the local Kaska Dena First Nations, who played a crucial role both at the LRMP table and in other conservation efforts as well. Indeed, the efforts of the Kaska Dena peoples were key in ensuring that this high quality wilderness area achieved park status. In recognition of this, the park name, originally Frog-Gataga after its two main rivers, has now been translated into the local Kaska Dena language. The protection of Dune Za Keyih Park ensures that some of the best scenery in the northern Rocky Mountain Trench is retained in its natural form.


"The protection of Dune Za Keyih Park ensures that some of the best scenery in the northern Rocky Mountain Trench is retained in its natural form."


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