From its origin in Charlotte Lake to its junction with the Telchako River
where the Bella Coola River begins, the Atnarko is approximately 100
kilometres long. For much of its length, the Atnarko River flows through
the southern end of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. The river has cut a fairly
valley through a landscape characterized by a complex geology of volcanic
activity, sedimentary folding and granite intrusions. Tributaries tend
to be in hanging valleys.
Wildlife populations thrive in this environment. Native species found
in the area include grizzly and black bear, moose, mule deer, mountain
goat, cougar, wolf, coyote, red fox, and river otter.
In addition to its wildlife habitats, the Atnarko River supports
many human activities. The river's fish stocks are among the
most important of its economic qualities, as they support a Native
food fishery, and a large sport fishery. The Atnarko River also
supports recreational uses, such as camping, canoeing, wildlife
viewing, hunting, and mountain biking. The wide variety of recreational
interests supported by the Atnarko system make it a popular area
for tourists and recreationists of all types. In the river's
upper reaches beyond Tweedsmuir Park, logging is the dominant industrial
interest although little activity has taken place to date.
A wide variety of interest groups are active on behalf of the Atnarko
River including conservationists, commercial guides, anglers, and boaters.
The local First Nations, the Nuxalk and Ulkatcho Bands, also have a
continuing interest in the Atnarko. These groups have focused their attention
on initiatives such as salmon enhancement programs, protection of grizzly
bear habitat, and maintenance of the river as a high-quality recreational
and tourism corridor. The Atnarko River is within a provincial land use
planning area referred to as the Central Coast Land and Resource Management
Proclaimed B.C. Rivers: