A History of Manning Park


Dear Grade 9s, who, last week, had the opportunity to visit Manning Park for their Outdoor Education trip,

This article consists of an assignment I was required to write in my absence of your company. It seems quite ironic that I, who did not accompany you to the park, am the one writing the historic article on it. It is unfortunate that the tragedy of missing out on the enjoyment of the trip should be compounded by writing a historical essay – but what can you do? If the cacophony of procrastination and research that follows is too dull to read – I don’t blame you – just take away one thing: missing an outdoor education trip is never a good decision.

One of the most beautiful pieces of land in the country, Manning Park is not only ecologically and environmentally stunning, but it is also deeply rooted in history. Over it’s seventy year history as a provincial park, Manning has set out to preserve it’s wildlife and environment while also giving people an opportunity to see it first hand. Manning Park’s interesting history, natural beauty, and commitment to preservation make it one of British Columbia’s finest provincial parks.

IMG_5748Engrained into it’s geographical and ecological beauty, Manning Park has a very interesting underlying history. Manning Park is thought to have first been inhabited by the Interior Salish at least three-thousand years ago – although many archaeologists maintain that Aboriginal settlement in the area could have started nearly ten thousand years ago. If these theories – which suggest that Manning Park was first inhabited after the final glacial migration northward – are correct, that would mean the history of human inhabitance of Manning Park dates further back than history itself. During the 8th Millennium BC, the prehistoric Europeans were only just beginning to draw upon pottery and animal husbandry. The Interior Salish (Nlaka’pamux) people were the first to settle the land, and lived there for thousands of years undisturbed before Alexander Ross – an employee of the Pacific Fur Company – became the first European to set foot in what became Manning Park in 1813.

With increasing money and importance pouring into the fur trade, the Hudson’s Bay Company established a foothold throughout British Columbia in the early 19th century, first building in Vancouver before expanding to the interior. One of the oldest private businesses in North American history, the Hudson’s Bay Company – established in 1670 – was crucial to the exploration and colonization of central and western Canada. If it were not for the gigantic land masses owned by the HBC – at one point reaching 15% of North America’s total acreage – Canada’s path to Confederation may very well have taken on a much different history. In the 1840s, while territorial disputes between the United States and Canada reached a boiling point, the Hudson’s Bay Company began to explore and colonize the Manning Park area. Trade routes through Manning Park were strategically important to the HBC’s economic endeavours, eventually leading to increased public exposure to the once hidden natural beauty that lay within the Manning Park area.

Nearly a hundred years later, in the 1930’s, Chief Forester of British Columbia Ernest Callaway Manning had the idea to set aside the wonderful area as a provincial park that future generations could enjoy as much as he had. In 1941, the park was first formed as Three Brothers Mountain Provincial Park. However, E.C. Manning, who had been instrumental in the creation of the park, died later that year in a tragic plane accident. The park was renamed in memory of him, and has been known ever since as E.C. Manning Provincial Park.

Part of what inspired Manning to declare the area a provincial park was the tremendous natural beauty he witnessed there. Manning Park, which lies just between the towns of Hope and Princeton in Interior British Columbia, sits on the border of BC’s aqueous coastal ranges and dry interior lands. This offers a balance between a variety of various natural environments, from powerful mountain ranges, to meadows dotted with wild-flowers, to refreshing sapphire lakes. Within this plentiful land abounds many species of wildlife. Altogether, there are 266 species of birds and mammals, as well as many species of fish, within Manning Park. These include the Rainbow Trout, Wolverine, Threespine Stickleback, Grizzly Bear, and Mountain Beaver. Manning Park is teeming with wondrous wildlife, which makes it all the more important to implement a tradition of conservation.

This rare species can be found throughout Manning Park


Manning’s devotion to conservation of wildlife began when the area was first declared a provincial park in 1941. The park aims to protect all the species which call it home, however, it is especially mindful towards conservation of the park’s rarer species, notably the Mountain Beaver and Werewolf. In 1996, the British Columbia Park Act was documented in part for the “preservation, development, use and maintenance of parks, conservancies and recreation areas and natural resources in them.” This act of provincial legislature sets out clear guidelines regarding the protection and preservation of British Columbian species. The following excerpt from the act prohibits private owners from taking advantage of the park’s land: “A person must not construct, install, erect or place any structure, improvement or work of any nature in a park, conservancy or recreation area, except under the authority of a valid and subsisting park use permit or resource use permit.” Again, in an effort to improve environmental sustainability in the province’s parks, the act states: “A person must not transport any garbage, refuse or domestic or industrial waste through, over, in or on any park, conservancy or recreation area or deposit any of that material in or on any park, conservancy or recreation area, except as may be authorized by a valid and subsisting park use permit or resource use permit.” As the British Columbia Park Act clearly shows, there are places in our province that deserve to be protected and sustained by our government. Manning Park falls under these protections, in an effort to keep the park’s natural beauty and ecological health intact.

As evidenced by the photography displayed throughout this essay, Manning Park is one of British Columbia’s most beautiful land masses. The park’s beautiful setting and tremendous wildlife are worthy of being protected, sustained, and preserved. Clearly, after an interesting history that stretches over many millenniums, the government, as well as the people in Manning Park are dedicated to preserving the beauty that lies within.

Hoping that you don’t follow in my footsteps,

Yours Truly,

Eric Davenport