The Blackwater River originates in the Ilgachuz Range northwest of Quesnel
in central British Columbia. It drains an area of approximately 12,000
square kilometres of varied topography, cutting a deep valley above Tsacha
Lake. Below the lake, the Blackwater carves through black volcanic rock,
creating a series of spectacular rapids and canyons. The river drops over
900 metres during
the 280 km course to its confluence with
the Fraser River.
The basin is a mixture of grassland and light forest consisting mostly
of lodgepole pine, aspen, willow and Douglas-fir. Although little settlement
is present, much of the river course is accessible due to forestry and,
to a lesser extent, mineral exploration and development. Recreational use
is widespread, including a wide variety of summer and winter activities: fishing,
hunting, canoeing, snowmobiling, camping, and boating.
particular significance is the long history of use by the Southern
Carrier First Nations. Their "Grease Trail" mostly parallels
the north side of the river and has been used as a trade route
with coastal natives for centuries. The European explorer Alexander
Mackenzie was guided on this trail on his journey west to
the Pacific Ocean in 1793.
A significant level of local planning has been carried out in the
river corridor. Local Resource Use Plans have been prepared in
both the upper and lower regions and a management plan is in place
for the Grease Trail. These land use directions have been incorporated
into the approved Cariboo/Chilcotin
Land Use Plan.
Proclaimed B.C. Rivers: