The confluence of the Skeena and Bulkley River systems has been a very productive region for harvesting salmon and other fish species. Through time, the river connections were amplified with the addition of trails cutting between the drainage network. Eventually, five overland trails converged at the peninsula where the village of Gitanmaax was established. The complex history of Gitanmaax and Hazelton began centuries ago when it became the centre of fur trade fares between the villages further up the Skeena and Bulkley Rivers who were trading for sea products with the Tsimshian villages of the coast. A permanent village site of Gitanmaax was established in the area marked by Old Gitanmaax (purple) on the map, which was located at the junction of the Skeena and the Bulkley Rivers.
In 1866, the Collins Overland Telegraph was established in Hazelton as part of the supply chain for telegraphs. Subsequently, the Hudson’s Bay Company built a stockaded warehouse and docks at the town of Hazelton (green) along the Bulkley River side. At the same time, the Native community relocated their houses to New Gitanmaax (red), located on the bluff overlooking the town. A cemetery (orange) with elaborate grave houses was created on the hill that overlooked both Gitanmaax and Hazelton. In 1913, the railway was brought to Hazelton, and the sternwheelers were no longer necessary.
With the realization that the poles were falling into neglect, Bill Sargent undertook negotiating the move of the poles to the Hazelton Ball Park in the late 1940’s in hopes to preserve them and have them as tourist attractions. This project encouraged further restoration projects in other villages led by Polly Sargent under the banner of the Skeena River Restoration Society. In the late 1960s the momentum of preservation of both poles and heritage skills led to the establishment of 'Ksan Historic Village and Museum (yellow) on the site at the south end of the town adjacent to the original settlement of Old Gitanmaax.