The earliest settlers in the Valemount area traveled along the Columbia River and up the Canoe River, until they reached the Robson Valley. During the Omenica Gold Rush of 1898, near Mackenzie, this was thought to be the best route to the goldfields from Golden, B.C. Some of the prospectors returned to settle in the valley to begin trapping the abundant fur bearing animals.
During construction of the railway from 1910 to 1914, the camps grew into small towns which attracted settlers to the Robson Valley. A few of these towns remain, but most have disappeared into history as a result of the railways consolidating their operations.
With the railways came opportunities for other industries to develop. Hunting and guiding in the high country of the Rocky Mountains attracted people from all over the world. The forest industry began with the cutting of ties for the railway, and later sawmills made hydro poles and cedar lumber.
Key events in the area’s history are:
- Early settlers begin trapping furs
- Construction of the Canadian Northern and Grand Trunk Pacific Railways
- Railway camps become towns
- Development of the forest industry
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