The Forgotten Explorer

Samuel Prescott Fay's 1914 Expedition to the Northern Rockies

By (author): Samuel Fay
ISBN 9781897522554
Softcover | Publication Date: October 23, 2009
Book Dimensions: 6 in x 9 in
320 Pages

About the Book

North of Jasper, in the Canadian Rockies, is a large, roadless and spectacular wilderness of alpine flower meadows, glaciated peaks, canyons, waterfalls and abundant wildlife. Compared to the millions each year who visit Banff and Jasper national parks immediately to the south, this northern area sees few visitors. Fewer still have ever attempted to travel through this wilderness in one continuous trip. The first to do so was Samuel Prescott Fay in 1914. To this day, his exact route has never been duplicated.

Fay and his party set out from Jasper on June 26, 1914, with five saddle horses and 16 pack horses. After a treacherous, slogging journey of 1,200 kilometres through wild, uncharted country they reached their destination on October 15, 1914, with the outfit completely intact.

During his expedition, Fay kept a detailed journal (currently held at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC), which he provided to the US Biological Survey (now known as the US Fish & Wildlife Service) and to various Canadian government authorities. He also published several magazine articles about his discoveries. However, the journal in its entirety, with all his day-to-day observations, struggles and concerns, has never been published. Similarly, his maps, photographs and wildlife records have been preserved in various Canadian and US archives but never exhibited to a wider audience. Brought together for the first time in book form, they provide an early and dynamic record of an area that remains little known to this day.

Complete with a large selection of never-before published photos and maps, The Forgotten Explorer is destined to become a classic of North American exploration history.

Also available in hardcover.

About the Author(s)

Charles Helm is a medical doctor originally from South Africa and is the author of four books on the Tumbler Ridge area.

Mike Murtha has worked for both Parks Canada and BC Parks and was the planner for Banff National Park until his retirement in 2012.

Robert William Sandford is the EPCOR Chair for Water and Climate Security at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health. He is the co-author of the UN Water in the World We Want report on post-2015 global sustainable development goals relating to water. He is also the author of some 30 books on the history, heritage and landscape of the Canadian Rockies, including Water, Weather and the Mountain West, The Weekender Effect: Hyperdevelopment in Mountain Towns, Restoring the Flow: Confronting the World's Water Woes, Ethical Water: Learning to Value What Matters Most, Cold Matters: The State and Fate of Canada’s Fresh Water, Saving Lake Winnipeg, Flood Forecast: Climate Risk and Resiliency in Canada, Storm Warning: Water and Climate Security in a Changing World and North America in the Anthropocene. He is also a co-author of The Columbia River Treaty: A Primer, The Climate Nexus: Water, Food, Energy and Biodiversity in a Changing World and The Hard Work of Hope: Climate Change in the Age of Trump. Robert lives in Canmore, Alberta.

Samuel Prescott Fay was born in Boston on May 27, 1884. Fay was an early member of the American Alpine Club and visited the Rockies to climb in the Lake Louise and Lake O’Hara areas starting in 1906, making numerous trips with outfitter Fred Brewster. Fay died on August 11, 1971, at his home in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.