"Several days were spent at the fort taking declarations, but, unlike
Vermilion or Dunvegan, there were few large families here, the applicants
being mainly young people. The agricultural resources of this region of
rocks are certainly meager compared with those of Peace River. Potatoes,
where there is any available soil, grow to a good size; barley was nearly
ripe when we were there, and wheat ripens, too. But, of course, it is not
a farming region, nor are fish plentiful at the west end of the lake, the
Athabasca River, which enters there, giving for over twenty miles eastward
a muddy hue to the water. The rest of the lake is crystal clear, and
whitefish are plentiful, also lake trout, which are caught up to thirty,
and even forty, pounds' weight.
The distance from Fort Chipewyan to Fond du Lac is about 185 miles, but
the lake extends over 75 miles farther eastward in a narrow arm, giving a
total length of about 300 miles, the greatest width being about 50 miles.
The whole eastern portion of the lake is a desolate scene of primitive
rock and scrub pine, with many quartz exposures, which are probably
mineralized, but with no land, not even for a garden."
Reprinted from Through the Mackenzie Basin: An Account of
the Signing of Treaty No. 8 and the Scrip Commission, 1899 by Charles Mair.