Fort Babine is located at the northern tip of Babine Lake accessible by 100 kilometers of gravel logging road from Smithers. This community has about 60 year round residents, but this population swells significantly in the summer when many families return to Fort Babine to procure their annual supply of salmon.
Known to LBN as Wit’at, Fort Babine has a long history of use and occupation. Oral histories indicate that there was community here long before Europeans, or European influences entered the area. When fur traders arrived in the region in 1822, they recorded a village in this area. Whether it was permanent or seasonal is unclear, but it was significant enough that the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) moved their post from Old Fort to Fort Babine in the 1830s. Interestingly, one of the early proposals for this move came in 1826 and was explicitly centered on the fact that the Fort Babine area was a major fishing site. Moving the HBC post there would provide easier access to fish, which was also the central food source for the fur traders at this time, and place them in a better position to trade with the Babine people when they gathered to fish in the summer and fall.