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Bella Coola River

From its beginning at the junction of the Atnarko and the Talchako, to its mouth on North Bentinck Arm, the Bella Coola River runs for about 70 kilometres, draining an area of approximately 1,600 square kilometres.

The Bella Coola River represents a typical coastal watershed with a predominantly natural vegetation cover. The watershed is also home to a rich variety of wildlife, such as grizzly and black bear, moose, black tail deer, mule deer, mountain goat, cougar, wolf, coyote, red fox, and river otter. The river supports fish populations of various types, including salmonids such as sockeye, pink, chum, chinook, and coho, as well as steelhead, cutthroat, Dolly Varden, and rainbow trout.

Land use along the Bella Coola River is primarily agricultural, particularly in the lower reaches of the river. Logging is also important in the region and along many of the river's tributaries. The river itself supports both a commercial fishery and Native food fishery.

Central to the character of the river are its historical values as it is part of the Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail used by Alexander Mackenzie on his journey to the west coast in 1793. Also found along the course of the river are petroglyphs carved by early First Nations inhabitants of the area, descendants of whom continue to have a dominant presence in the valley. In addition to its cultural heritage values, the Bella Coola River is a popular recreational destination, enjoyed by anglers for its salmon and steelhead populations and popular for boating. Other recreational interests supported by the Bella Coola River include camping, canoeing, wildlife viewing, hiking, hunting and mountain biking.

Proclaimed B.C. Rivers: