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Once known as Little Prairie, the community adopted its current name in honour of provincial politician Ralph L. Chetwynd has dozens of chainsaw carvings displayed throughout town as public art. Nearby, there are four provincial parks, two lakes, and several recreational trails.Highways 29 and 97 intersect in town; the east-west Highway 97 connect the town to Prince George and Dawson Creek while the north-south Highway 29 connects Tumbler Ridge and Hudson's Hope.A rail line branches off in three directions: northward to Fort St.
Its economy is dominated by the primary industries of forestry, fossil fuel extraction, and transportation.
A member municipality of the Peace River Regional District, it is represented in provincial politics by Liberal MLA Mike Bernier.
In the 1920s, settlers from the Peace River Country began migrating westwards, across the frozen Kiskatinaw and Pine Rivers, to homestead.
Little Prairie was homesteaded by Alexander and Lillan Windrem in 1930 and cleared the land by 1935 for hay, oats and gardens.
Oil and coal discoveries, west of Little Prairie, near Commotion Creek, led to the construction of area roads. Premier John Hart, was completed in 1952; designated Highway 97S it stretches from Prince George to Dawson Creek, with an intersection at Little Prairie.
As the area's natural resource potential became more apparent, a highway was planned in the late 1940s from the British Columbia Interior to the northern side of the Rocky and Omineca Mountains. This was northeastern BC's first connection with the rest of the province; previously a trip through the neighboring province of Alberta was required. Chetwynd (who also directed the Pacific Great Eastern Railway) headed the rail line project.
Following the opening of the highway, businesses such as restaurants and service stations were opened in Little Prairie to accommodate incoming workers and settlers. Little Prairie was incorporated as a waterworks district on 8 October 1957; within the span of a few year a rail line, natural gas pipeline, and telephone line were built along the highway from Prince George. The rail line continued eastward to Dawson Creek which was the western-most terminus of Northern Alberta Railways.
is a district municipality located on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in northeastern British Columbia, Canada.
Situated on an ancient floodplain, it is the first town eastbound travellers encounter after emerging from the Rockies along Highway 97 and acts as the gateway to the Peace River Country.