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Dease Lake

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Dec 16, 2021

Dease Lake is a small community in the North Coast-Nechako region of British Columbia. Located on the Stewart-Cassiar Highway (Highway 37), Dease Lake in is a popular place for travelers to stop and stock up on basic supplies travelling to and from the Alaska Highway.

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Dease Lake (pop. 300) is a government service and supply centre for the region, located a few hours south of the Yukon border, and is located on Stewart–Cassiar Highway (Highway 37) at the south end of the lake of the same name. Dease Lake is the last major centre before the Alaska Highway while driving north bound, and also the junction Telegraph Creek Road (also referred to as unsigned Highway 51) that leads to Telegraph Creek and the Grand Canyon of the Stikine.

The town sits astride a pass separating the basins of the Dease River (N) from that of the Tanzilla (S), a tributary of the Stikine. The pass is part of Continental Divide and is a division point between drainage to the Pacific Ocean, via the Stikine, and the Arctic Ocean, via the Liard and Mackenzie Rivers.

Dease Lake is midway between either Smithers or Terrace and Whitehorse.

In 1837 a Hudson’s Bay Company post, known as Lake House, was created by Robert Campbell on the shore of Dease Lake about 50 km (31 mi) north of the Stikine River and 150 km (93 mi) south of where the present day Alaska Highway passes. The Lake had been named in 1834 for Chief Factor Peter Warren Dease, and would become a major junction for miners travelling to the gold rush in Cassiar (later an asbestos mine). Although the fort was abandoned soon after, the town based around the fort lived on, and was renamed Dease Lake in 1934 by then-Chief Trader John McLeod.

During the 1960s and 1970s, BC Rail started to build an extension of their line towards Dease Lake, but construction was halted. Grading was completed all the way, and can still be seen from the air.

Dease Lake is located along the remote Stewart–Cassiar Highway (Highway 37); 490 km (300 mi) north of the Yellowhead Highway at Kitwanga and 235 km (146 mi) south of the Alaska Highway near Watson Lake.

  • 58.4222-130.0311 Dease Lake Airport (YDL  IATA). Central Mountain Air offers flights to Smithers and Prince George.  

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