Stuart Lake

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This article is about the U.S. writer. For Stuart N. Lake, see baseball coach. For Stuart Lake (baseball), see Stuart Lake (disambiguation).
Stuart Lake
Stuart Lake, British Columbia - 01.jpg
Location British Columbia
Group Nechako Lakes
Coordinates 54°33′N 124°35′W / 54.550°N 124.583°W / 54.550; -124.583Coordinates: 54°33′N 124°35′W / 54.550°N 124.583°W / 54.550; -124.583
Catchment area 14600 km2
Basin countries Canada
Max. length 66 km
Max. width 10 km
Surface area 358 km2
Average depth 26 m
Max. depth 95 m
Water volume 9.3 km3
Shore length1 170 km
Surface elevation 680 m
Settlements Fort St. James
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.
Lakes of British Columbia.

Stuart Lake, or Nak'albun (IPA: [nakʼalpʌn]) in the Carrier (Dakelh) language is a lake situated in the Northern Interior of British Columbia, Canada. The town of Fort St. James is situated by the lake near the outlet (Stuart River). Stuart Lake is 66 km long, 10 km wide and relatively shallow, with an average depth of 26 m.

Stuart Lake offers boating, swimming and sunbathing at sandy beaches, fishing, water skiing, viewing ancient aboriginal pictographs, camping, snowmobiling, ice fishing, ice sailing, and dog sledding Two provincial park campgrounds, Paarens Beach and Sowchea Bay, are located on the southern shore of the lake, and there are several motels, lodges and private campgrounds in the area. Moorage is available at several marinas.

Fort St. James has several lumber mills as do several smaller aboriginal communities in the basin. The lake is usually ice-covered from mid-December to mid-April. Stuart Lake contains rainbow trout, char or lake trout, and burbot fish.

Hydrographical characteristics of the lake[edit]

  • Discharge 4.1 km3/yr

History[edit]

Villages on Stuart Lake (Nak'albun),[1] were connected to Dakelh villages on Fraser Lake (Nadlehbunk'ut) on an ancient land route called Nyan Wheti[1] Nyan Wheti in Carrier means "The Way Across."[2] The trail was part of the network of trails called the Grease Trail used by the Dakelh people for as a major trade, travel and communication line.[3] the Cheslatta Trail continues south to Cheslatta Lake.

Stuart Lake is important to British Columbia history, being the location of one of the oldest non-native settlements in the province, Fort St. James. The first non-native to visit the lake was James McDougall in 1806. McDougall's explorations were undertaken as an assistant to Simon Fraser. Fraser and other members of his expedition soon established a North West Company trading post, leaving behind for the winter a garrison led by clerk John Stuart, in whose honor the English name of the lake was given.

The original name, in the Dakelh language, is Nak'albun (IPA: [nakʼalpʌn]), literally Mt. Pope Lake, after the mountain that overlooks it, Nak'al (IPA: [nakʼal]), known in English as Mt. Pope.

The "Mayor and Council of the District of Fort St. James unanimously voted to adopt a resolution declaring their opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project." Their decision was based on concerns for "the land base and our fresh water sources. Of particular concern locally is the crossing of the Stuart River, which accommodates one of the largest sockeye salmon runs in the world, and Pitka Creek which flows into Stuart Lake."[4]

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