In fur trade days the term Athabasca Country was used for the fur-producing region around Lake Athabasca. The area was important for two reasons. The cold climate produced some of the densest and thickest beaver fur in North America. The number of furs produced was somewhat greater than its only rival, the Saskatchewan River fur trade. Secondly, the great distance from Montreal and Hudson Bay required the highly developed and efficient transportation system that characterized the Hudson's Bay Company in the nineteenth century.