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: