Europeans didn’t arrive in this area until lured by the fur trade in the early 1800’s. The gold rush brought the next influx of treasure-hunters to the valley, and in an attempt to connect the northern gold fields with Seattle and San Francisco, a telegraph was constructed through the region in mid-century.
Although construction was abandoned in Hazelton in 1866, the telegraph remained in use here until the 1930’s. The Bulkley Valley takes its name from the superintendent of the construction project, Charles S. Bulkley.
The city of Smithers was created by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad in an attempt to thwart land speculators. Realizing the company needed to build a stop midway between Prince George and Prince Rupert, speculators purchased property around Telkwa and Hazelton, and the railway retaliated by building the city of Smithers in the meadows below Hudson Bay Mountain.
It wasn’t until the arrival of the railroad that the farming, ranching, and logging potential of the valley could be realized.