Bistcho is a remote and serene wilderness region in the far northwestern corner of Alberta. The area is a diverse subarctic wetland composed of sphagnum peat plateau bogs with collapse scars and channel fens. Within the subarctic ecosystem, soil, vegetation, and wildlife are known to be extremely sensitive to human activities.
Bistcho means “Big Sleep” in the language of the local First Nation, the Dene Tha’. At 426 km2, Bistcho Lake is one of the largest lakes in the province. It is unusually shallow, with an average depth of less than two metres, and is popular with anglers, who report catches of 40-lb pike, 14-lb walleye, and 12-lb whitefish.
Bistcho Lake is known locally as Tapawingo, or “Place of Joy.” In local legend, the lake is the Creator’s bed. The lake’s islands are said to have been created when the Creator pushed his spruce bough bed up through the water. Legend has it that the Petitot River was created by the dragging of the Creator’s walking stick.
- AWA would like to see Bistcho designated as a Wildland Provincial Park based on the model used to establish Hay-Zama Lakes Wildland Provincial Park.
- Although designated as a Provincial Environmentally Significant Area, Bistcho does not currently have protected status.