The South Carrier and Chilcotin First Nations made homes across the Chilcotin Plateau centuries prior to the arrival of Alexander Mackenzie.
The South Carrier and Chilcotin peoples established routes known as the "Grease Trails," which stretched north from Anahim Lake to the Quesnel River, south to 100 Mile House, and west to Bella Coola. Today, First Nations' trails are used for hiking and cross-country skiing.
Ulkatcho First Nation
The Ulkatcho (pronounced ul-gat-cho) First Nation, a subgroup of the South Carrier people, lived nomadically, summering in the Itcha and Ilgachuz mountain area. The lifestyle of "seasonal rounds" is still practised to a certain degree today. The Ulkatcho traded furs, hides, and obsidian with the Nuxalk, in exchange for salmon and the oil (grease) of the eulachon.
Today, the Ulkatcho territory in the remote reaches of the Itcha and Ilgachuz Mountains remain largely unexplored. A single archaeological site has been found near an ancient obsidian quarry in the Itcha Ilgachuz area, where large pit houses are visible. Local guides are available for backcountry hiking, trail riding, and exploration of this area.
In the summer of 1793, Alexander Mackenzie, then just 29 years of age, trekked overland along the Grease Trails to the Pacific Ocean lead by First Nations guides. Mackenzie is considered the first European to extensively explore western Canada by land.
In the 1900s, settlers moved into the area through the Bella Coola Valley and began ranching. Rich Hobson and Pan Phillips are two of the area's early ranchers. Hobson documented their lives in his books Grass Beyond the Mountains, Nothing too Good for a Cowboy, and The Rancher Takes a Wife. Today, Phillips' son, Robbie, and his wife Linda, operate the resort on the Home Ranch.