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Valemount Community Album

Hunting, Trapping and Guide Outfitters

The Yellowhead Pass country is still rugged and beautiful and it still provides habitat for a vast array of birds, animals and fish. At the turn of the twentieth century it was remote and even more bountiful in its natural yield. Many of the people who settled the area used the natural resources to eke out a living while they established ranches, farms and mills.

Ernest Cox’s diary for 1911 indicates that he bought a rifle, got his shotgun fixed and bought fishing supplies. Then he bought plow rivets and farming supplies. Two months out of Vernon he has successfully caught fish, shot ducks and grouse and planted a garden near Tete Jaune Cache. Then he started looking at Swift Creek and at the plentiful timber By August he is at Swift Creek (later Valemount) and has “picked blueberries, pinchberries and shot grouse. Worked on fishing nets.” Then he picked cranberries and made jam, then he made more jam and sold root crops. The land was bountiful according to his diary. Mr. Cox then opened a store on his homestead.

Fulton McKirdy was into the Canoe River country very early. He trapped and worked at developing a ranch on the Canoe River. The trapping was fine. His diary entry for March 20, 1911 reads: “Squaw Creek – up to date I have 40 martin, 5 mink, 2 fisher, 2 cyotes, 2 wolverines, 17 weasels, 12 rats. Expected Value = $428.33”. His ranch grew and Fulton McKirdy was appoinrted Swift Creek’s first fire warden.

The stories are legion. There is Ella Frye, forty-five years on a trapline. Stories about berry picking, every family has one or two. There was the ‘Huckleberry Train’ with people coming from far away to pick huckleberries. There were numerous families such as the Hargreaves who used guiding as a way of sustaining a ranching life. The area has always provided meat for the table, trophies for the clients and natural beauty for all the tourists.

McKirdy Trapping Cabin
McKirdy trapping cabin built by Phil Ewing in 1911 at Ptarmingan Creek.
Dave Henry 1910 Canoe River
Dave Henry standing with a large bear hide stretched on a cabin wall at Canoe River.
1930's Hunt at Mt. Robson ranch
A very successful hunt by the Hargreaves, Mount Robson Ranch in the 1930s.
Smith family outing - Cranberrying near Valemount
The Mr and Mrs Dick Smith and son with dog picnicing while out getting cranberries near Valemount.
Trapper Fulton A McKirdy
Fulton A McKirdy with a pelt