The Fraser River travels 1,325 km from its headwaters in eastern British Columbia to its mouth in the Strait of Georgia. The landscape it drains (Fraser River Basin) encompasses 25% of the province, accounts for 80% of the gross provincial product and is home to two thirds of the people in the province. The Fraser River valley forms a major provincial transportation corridor between the West Coast and the rest of Canada, contributing significantly to Asia Pacific trade through the Vancouver Gateway.
As a major transportation corridor, it is historically significant in early exploration and development of the province. It remains culturally significant, providing a focus for a range of transportation, industrial, manufacturing, commercial fishing and service uses. From a natural history perspective, the river is perhaps most significant for the salmon populations it supports. Many stretches of the Fraser River are also undeveloped and noted for their natural beauty. The river also provides a focus for many recreational opportunities including rafting, boating and sports fishing.
Recognizing the significance of the Fraser River, the federal, provincial and local governments established the Fraser Basin Council to develop a strategy for sustainability for the entire basin. The Program has created greater awareness of the Fraser River, assessed the state of the river basin, provided suggestions for many improvements, and has developed an overall strategy for the watershed.
In recognition of the Fraser's importance to British Columbia and Canada, the river has also been proclaimed nationally as a Canadian Heritage River.
Proclaimed B.C. Rivers: