“A Business Proposition:” Naturalists, Guides, and Sportsmen in the Formation of the Bowron Lakes Game Reserve
Keywords:Environmental history, British Columbian History, game law, big game, sport hunting, Provincial Parks, Game Reserves, Bowron Lake, conservation, economy, environment
Despite the recent interest in the environmental history of British Columbia, many parks and reserves, including the Bowron Lakes in the Cariboo Mountain region, remain unexamined by historians. The Bowron Lakes Game Reserve was created in 1925, due primarily to considerable pressure from guides, naturalists, and sport hunters living in the surrounding communities of Bowron, Wells, and Barkerville. This paper will argue that the Bowron Reserve was not driven by preservationist values, but out of a belief in the necessity of government intervention in the propagation of game for the purposes of profit. Through an examination of the Bowron Game Reserve, this paper will demonstrate that utilitarian conservation was an important guiding principle for British Columbia’s environmental policy from the consolidation of the Game Act in 1898 until at least 1939.