Ministry of Environment

Ecology

PART II
Ecoregion Unit Descriptions

 

Polar Ecodomain

This Ecodomain covers the northern latitudes of North America, Asia, Europe and Greenland. In British Columbia, it occupies the northern plains, mountains, and plateaus. Its climate is characterized by generally low temperatures, a severe winter, and only small amounts of precipitation. In British Columbia it has been subdivided into 3 Ecodivisions.

Boreal Ecodivision

This is one of three parts of the Polar Ecodomain in British Columbia. It extends eastward of the Rocky Mountain Foothills across the Alberta Plateau, in British Columbia and Alberta, the northern portion of the Alberta Plain in Alberta and Saskatchewan; the Saskatchewan Plain in northern and central Saskatchewan; and the Manitoba Plain in Saskatchewan and Manitoba as far as to Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba. It includes plateau, uplands, and the Peace River Lowlands. There is typically a cold winter and a moderately warm summer. There is little precipitation except from surface heating of the vast number of lakes, wetlands and streams. In the lowland areas, moist grassland mixed with trembling aspen develop. White and black spruce, and lodgepole pine dominate the uplands. In British Columbia this ecodivision is represented by only one ecoprovince.

 

BOP - Boreal Plains Ecoprovince

Location – The Boreal Plains Ecoprovince lies east of the Rocky Mountains, south of the Fort Nelson Lowlands. It occurs on the Alberta Plateau, and consists of plateaus, plains, prairies, and lowlands, and away from the deeply incised large rivers is generally of low relief. It extends eastward, across northern Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and southern Northwest Territories.

Agriculture is limited to grazing with some cereal and forage crop production in the Peace Lowland Ecosection. Natural gas production and mining occurs throughout the hinterland and many seismic lines crises-cross the area. Logging of white spruce, lodgepole pine and trembling aspen has been occurs where good timber stands permit, but most forest removal is through clearing for agricultural fields.

Climate - The climate in this ecoprovince is typically continental since most of the moist Pacific air has dried crossing successive ranges of mountains before it reaches the area. Air descends from the Rocky Mountains leading to generally dry conditions and sunny skies. In warmer months rain is largely due to surface heating, which leads to convective showers that regularly occur across the area. Winters are cold because there are no barriers to irruptions of Arctic air and because of the low amount of daylight from late November to early February.

Physiography - In British Columbia, the Boreal Plains Ecoprovince occurs on the Alberta Plateau. That area consists of plateaus, plains, prairies, and lowlands and is generally an area of low relief away from the deeply dissected riverbeds. The plateau is dissected by the Peace River and its tributaries. The upland surface lies between 900 m and 1,200 m above sea level rising to 1,500 m on the northern boundary. Drainage over part of the upland surface is poorly organized. There are large areas of muskeg, and streams meander across the surface. Several rivers, such as the Moberly, Pine, Kiskatinaw, Halfway, and Beatton have cut through the upland surface into the soft shale bedrock leaving steep-sided canyons.

The plateau was glaciated during the past ice age. Ice from the centre of the Keewatin Ice Sheet moved southwestward across the Alberta Plateau to the foothills meeting the eastward flowing Cordilleran Ice Sheet, leaving a veneer of glacial till. The two ice sheets met just east of the Rocky Mountain Foothills. As the ice waned, the Peace River Valley was occupied by a temporary lake that left fine silt sediment to a depth of 30m.

Biogeoclimatic Zonation – The vegetation is dominated by the Boreal White and Black Spruce Zone, Aspen Parkland occurs in the Peace River Lowland and muskeg occurs throughout most of the upland surface. East of the Rocky Mountain Foothills, on low ridges, more mountainous vegetation develops, the Engelmann Spruce - Subalpine Fir Zone occurs on the summits of these ridges south of the Peace River, while the Spruce - Willow - Birch Zone occurs on those ridges north of the Halfway River.

Vegetation - Most of the Boreal Plains Ecoprovince is covered in lowland forests. Fires have been common and seral forests predominate. Two vegetation zones occur. The ecoprovince is similar to larger areas in Alberta, where domination by deciduous trees and open shrub-grasslands are commonly referred to as the “aspen parklands”.

The climax vegetation in the lower vegetation zone is white or black spruce, though the latter is more common on coarse textured materials of sand and gravel. Trembling aspen and balsam poplar are dominant seral species on the widespread fine-textured soils of clay and silt (generally lower elevations) whereas lodgepole pine predominates in seral forests on coarser textured soils (generally higher elevations). Other common species are paper birches, high bush cranberry, prickly rose, soopolallie, willows, fireweed, bunchberry, asters, creamy peavine and mosses. Floodplains are composed of balsam poplar and white spruce, with red-osier dogwood and horsetails. The scattered wetlands may be covered with a scrubby forest of black spruce and tamarack, with Labrador tea, horsetails, and sphagnum. Extensive marshes and shallow lakes create habitats important to aquatic birds. A distinctive habitat occurs on steep, south-facing slopes or on dry river breaks, where saskatoon, trembling aspen, roses, wheatgrass, and needlegrass form open shrub-grasslands. A higher area in the northwest portion of this ecoprovince contains several valleys dominated by scrub birch that is similar to valleys in the Boreal Mountains and Plateaus Ecoregion.

A subalpine subzone, very small in area, occurs along the western fringe, from the Peace River south to the BC/Alberta boundary. In this forest type, Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir dominate, with lodgepole pine as a seral species. Understories are composed of white-flowered rhododendron, black huckleberry, bunchberry, and mosses. At upper elevations of the zone, forests are replaced by shrub-dominated vegetation, primarily willows and scrub-birch.

Fauna - The most abundant large mammal is the moose. Both Mule Deer and White-Tailed Deer are common in the Peace Lowland Ecosection and Woodland Caribou occur in the higher areas in the north and in the south. Historically Plains Bison and Rocky Mountain Elk were common, especially in the parkland habitats adjacent to the Peace River. Elk maintained a stronghold in the Moberly River canyon and in recent years have expanded to favourable habitats throughout the ecoprovince. Large carnivores include Grey Wolves, Coyotes, Lynx and American Black Bears. The only small mammal restricted to this region is the Arctic Shrew.

This ecoprovince supports 60% of all bird species known to occur in British Columbia, and 46% of all species known to breed in the province - the fourth lowest total in British Columbia. The many wetlands, ponds, and slow-moving streams on the upland surface provide excellent habitat for breeding and migrating waterbirds. Some of the largest breeding concentrations of Eared Grebe occur in this ecoprovince. Some of the rarest shorebirds in British Columbia regularly migrate through the Peace Lowland Ecosection. They include the Hudsonian Godwit, White‑rumped Sandpiper, and Stilt Sandpiper. The area is the centre of abundance in the province for Broad-winged Hawk, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Upland Sandpiper, Franklin’s Gull, common Grackle, and Eastern Phoebe. It is the only breeding area in the province for Philadelphia Vireo, Chestnut‑sided Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, and Connecticut Warbler. The Boreal Plains Ecoprovince is also the major migratory corridor in British Columbia for Lapland Longspur.

The only reptile to occur in this ecoprovince, the common garter snake, is rare. Only one salamander, the long-toed salamander, and four species of toads and frogs occur here. In British Columbia, one species, the northern chorus frog, has its centre of distribution in this ecoprovince.

This ecoprovince supports only freshwater fish, such as, Arctic grayling, northern pike, walleye, bull trout, slimy sculpin, flathead chub, lake trout, lake whitefish, and pearl dace.

Ecoprovince Subdivisions

In British Columbia, the Boreal Plains Ecoprovince has 3 ecoregions containing 4 ecosections.

CAU - The Central Alberta Uplands Ecoregion
This ecoregion is a rolling plateau that rises slowly to the north of the Peace River. It extends from the Rocky Mountain Foothills eastward into Alberta as far as the north-south Peace River Lowland. Cold Arctic air regularly lies over this area bringing long periods of intense cold. In the summer surface heating of the many lakes, wetlands, muskeg and streams creates convective currents that bring localized rain showers. Oil and gas exploration has been both intensive and extensive here. In British Columbia it consists of two ecosections.

  • CLH Clear Hills Ecosection
    This is a smooth rolling upland that gradually rises in elevation towards the north and east into Alberta where it reaches over 1070 m in elevation in the Clear Hill (945 m in the Milligan Hills of B.C.). It is underlain by flat-lying sedimentary sandstone that have been buried by the Continental Glaciers that moved across this area from the northeast, moving massive amounts of material and rounding the summits and hills. Streams such as: Gutah, Kahntah and Fontas flow northward to join the Sikanni Chief River on the Fort Nelson River; while streams such as: Cache Creek, Blueberry, Beatton and Doig flow southward into the Peace River. Alberta is drained by the Clear, Eureka and Whitemud Rivers that flow into the Peace. Charlie Lake is the only large lake in British Columbia; there are no large lakes in Alberta, numerous wetlands and muskeg bogs occur throughout.
    This area has a continental climate with moist summers and dry cold winters. Surface heating of the many water bodies causes convective currents that bring localized rain showers over the entire ecosection. In the winter cold Arctic air can invade this area bringing long periods of very cold temperatures and clear skies. The forest upland is a mix of White and Black Spruce forests with lodgepole pine on the drier, well drained sites (jack pine occurs in the eastern portion of this ecosection in Alberta), or after fire trembling aspen or willow that is quick to regenerate and may persist for decades.

    Small agriculture based settlements such as Montney, Beatton River, Goodlow, are the only settlements in British Columbia; Clear Prairie, Marina and Clear Hills are the main settlements in Alberta. Agricultural development has been extended upslope from the Peace Lowland to the lower margins of this ecosection in both B.C. and Alberta. Oil and gas exploration and pumping has been extensive throughout this ecosection. In British Columbia, Milligan Hills Park, the only protected area in this ecosection, has been established on the height of land between Milligan and Ring Reid creeks; there are no large parks in Alberta. 

  • HAP - Halfway Plateau Ecosection
    This is a rolling upland with some higher ridges; it has wide valleys with some dissection by the small, southward flowing streams. This ecosection is underlain by flat-lying sandstones that are typical of the entire ecoprovince. Continental Glaciers that moved across the interior of the continent from the northwest overrode this area stalling along the Rocky Mountain Foothills in the west where it met the Cordilleran Ice Sheet that came off the Rocky Mountains. Those glaciers aided erosion of the uplands and deposited deep glacial debris. Elevation reaches to 1200 m along the northwestern boundary the upper Beatton River area, but generally the elevations are only 800 m over much of the higher areas. The lower Halfway River flows southward along the western boundary with the adjacent Peace Foothills Ecosection, Aitken, Blueberry and Stoddart creeks drain to the east into the Beatton River, Cache Creek flows south into the Peace River and Cameron River and it tributaries flow south into the Halfway River. Charlie Lake is the only large lake as well there are many wetlands and smaller lakes.

    This area is well protected from the Pacific air masses, giving rise to a few rain shadows. In the summer months surface heating of the many water bodies causes convective currents that cause localized rainshadows and cumulous clouds. In the winter cold Arctic air and invaded this area bringing long periods of extreme cold but clear skies. Forests are comprised of the cold Boreal White and Black Spruce type; white spruce and trembling aspen, black spruce grows on the wetter, poorly drained sites and lodgepole pine occurs on the drier, well-drained sites. On the higher valleys in the northwest cold-air ponding has allowed dense shrubby stands of birch and willow to become establish, these stands are more indicative of willow/birch stands that grow in the Boreal Mountains to the northwest.

    Small settlements, such as Wonowon and Pink Mountain, have been built up along the Alaska Highway (97) that runs through the middle of this ecosection (along a high ridge); there is a substantial First Nations Village on the Halfway River. Agriculture, in the form of cereal, hay and beef cattle has been practiced in the Halfway River bottoms and in the Farrell/Cache creek benchland. There has only been small-scale logging on the drier uplands. Seismic exploration for oil and natural gas has been extensive and has occurred throughout the ecosection. There are no large protected areas here.

PRB - The Peace River Basin Ecoregion
This is a wide, low elevation plain that lies between rolling uplands to the north and south; it is dissected by the Peace River and its tributaries. It extends eastward from the Rocky Mountain Foothills above the Peace River into Alberta where it turns northward to the base of the Caribou Mountains. In British Columbia this ecoregion consists of only one ecosection.

  • PEL – Peace Lowland Ecosection
    This is a large lowland, of deep sedimentary bedrock, that is deeply dissected by the Peace River and its main tributaries. This ecosection has been heavily glaciated during the past Ice Age, by both the westward flowing Laurentian Ice Sheet and the eastward flowing Cordilleran Ice Sheet, with the boundary being slightly to the east of the Rocky Mountain Foothills; as well, during the waning of the glaciers a large glacial lake formed, covering most of the ecosection with silt. The elevation of the Peace River at the BC/Alberta border is 427 m. while on the immediate benchlands it is 610 m., at its highest it reaches to 975 m north of Moberly Lake and along its southwest boundary with the Kiskatinaw Plateau Ecosection. In addition to the Peace River, this ecosection is drained in B.C. by the Moberly, Pine, Kiskatinaw, Halfway and Beatton rivers; in Alberta it is drained by Pouce Coupe, Clear and Smoky rivers. Moberly Lake is the only large lake in B.C.; Cardinal Lake is the only large lake in Alberta. There are though many smaller lakes, wetlands and muskeg in both provinces.

    This ecosection has the mildest climate with the lowest snowfall in this ecoprovince primarily due to it lower elevation. The climate is continental as the Pacific air masses usually pass over without releasing much precipitation. In the summer surface heating of the many bodies of water that scatter this ecosection give rises to convective currents that bring high humidity, localized showers and cumulus clouds. In the winter cold Arctic air can invade this area from the northeast bring long periods of extreme cold temperatures, but clear skies. The Boreal White and Black Spruce forests are the typical type, but trembling aspen/shrub-grasslands are common along the lowest southerly exposures, while white spruce or lodgepole pine occur of the better drained sites and black spruce occurs only in areas of excessive soil moisture such as around wetland and muskeg bogs.

    Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, the largest communities in northeastern British Columbia occur here, as are Taylor, Hudson Hope, Pouce Coupe and Chetwynd. In Alberta Grande Prairie and Peace River are the two largest communities. There are many smaller agriculture based settlements here in B.C. as well as in Alberta. The Hart (No. 97), Hudson Hope (No. 29) and Alaska (No. 97) highways all converge in this ecosection in B.C. In Alberta there are many highways that connect the communities with Edmonton to the southeast, or to the agriculture settlements to one another, such as: Northern Highway (No. 43), Northern Woods and Water Route (No. 49) and Northern Highway (No. 2). Farming, especially for cereal and hay crops and beef production is the dominant enterprise, but extensive oil and natural gas exploration has occurred throughout the ecosection and logging has occurred on the drier upland sites. Two small riverine adjacent parks, Peace River Corridor and Kiskatinaw River are located on opposite banks of the Peace River, just as it leaves the Province for Alberta, these are the only large protected areas in this ecosection.

SAU - The Southern Alberta Upland Ecoregion
This is a rolling upland that rises from the Peace River Basin to the north and culminates in the Rocky Mountain Foothills to the south. It extends eastward into Alberta as far to the east as the Prairie Ecodivision. British Columbia this ecoregion is consists of only one ecosection.

  • KIP - Kiskatinaw Plateau Ecosection
    This is a rolling upland that is underlain by deep and level sedimentary sandstone rocks. Glaciers moving northward out of the Rocky Mountains coalesced the western flowing Continental Ice Sheet before they both retreated, leaving considerable upland dissection and deep deposits of glacial debris. In B.C. this ecosection is drained by the Murray, and Kiskatinaw rivers, that drain to the north, while the smaller Red Deer, Belcourt and Huguenot creeks flow northward into the eastward flowing Wapiti River that eventually flows north into the Peace River in Alberta. Swan Lake is the only large lake of note in B.C.; there are no large lakes in Alberta, There are many smaller lakes, wetlands and muskeg across the upland surface in both provinces.

    Pacific air passes over this area, but drops little precipitation, most of the precipitation comes from surface heating of the many water bodies on the upland creating convective currents that give rise to localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter cold, Arctic air can stall along the Rocky Mountain Foothills bringing extended periods of extreme cold temperatures and generally clear skies. The forests are dominated by Boreal White and Black Spruce types, of which the higher drier sites are occupied by white spruce and even lodgepole pine while the numerous wetlands and muskeg bogs, which are surrounded by black spruce forests.

    Tumbler Ridge, located on the western boundary is the only town in B.C., but there are small settlements of Kelly Lake, Tupper and Tomslake along the B.C./Alberta border; there are no settlements in Alberta. This ecosection is crossed by The Heritage Highway (No. 52) that connects Tumbler Ridge to the Hart Highway (No. 97) at Arras, Highway 2 from Pouce Coupe to Beaverlodge, Alberta, and an industrial from Tupper to Stony Lake; as well, the area his been crossed by numerous seismic oil and natural gas exploration lines. Bearhole Lake Provincial Park and the adjacent Bearhole Lake protected area have been established on upper Kiskatinaw River, between the Murray and Redwillow rivers and a small portion of the Gwillim Lake Park occurs against the ecoprovince boundary above the Murray River. In recent years a dinosaur trackway was found along the river level of Flatbed Creek, this trackway is composed of two dozen tracks that were the product of a large quadrupedal ichnotaxon dinosaur (Tetrapodosaurus borealis), a species that has been linked to ankylosaurs.

Sub-Arctic Ecodivision

This Ecodivision lies north of the Boreal Ecodivision and is the second part of three in the Polar Ecodomain in the province. It extends from high ridge between the Peace and Liard watersheds north along the Rocky Mountain Foothills into the Northwest Territories along the eastern front of the Mackenzie Mountains into the Yukon Territory in the lower Peel River basin. It stops at the delta of the Mackenzie River on the Beaufort Sea. On the eastern boundary it extends through the very northwestern portion of Alberta across Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories west of the Canadian Shield to Great Bear Lake where it follows the tree line to the Mackenzie Delta. In B.C. it extends from the Fort Nelson River Basin to the border of the Northwest Territories and from the Rocky Mountain Foothills east to Alberta. It is dry and cold. Winters are long and summers brief but plants gain some advantage from longer hours of daylight. There are some discontinuous areas of permafrost. The riparian areas are dominated by balsam poplar. Better drained upland sites have white and black spruce, lodgepole pine (in British Columbia), and tamarack. Extensive wetlands and muskeg occur throughout the area because of poor drainage.

In British Columbia this ecodivision is represented by only one ecoprovince.

TAP - aiga Plains Ecoprovince

Location - This ecoprovince lies to the east of the northern Rocky Mountains in the northeastern portion of British Columbia. It extends into the northwestern portion of Alberta above the Peace Lowland and into the Northwest Territories to Great Slave Lake where it follow the Mackenzie River to the mouth of the Liard River, then south along the eastern flank of the Mackenzie Mountains back into B.C. It is characterized as a large lowland that has been dissected below the Alberta Plateau surface by the Liard River and its tributaries, namely the Fort Nelson and Petitot Rivers.

Climate - The climate is continental. Cold dense Arctic air is unimpeded from the north and may easily blanket the area in winter and spring months. The long sub-Arctic winters are generally dark with little heating by solar radiation. In summer, its location between the Arctic and Pacific air masses give it long periods of cloud cover and unstable weather. In years of colder temperatures or more moisture, some soils remain frozen. Precipitation is light and in warmer months is largely due to surface heating of the wetlands, lakes and streams which leads to convective showers.

Physiography - The British Columbia portion of the ecoprovince is characterized as an extension of the Alberta Plateau, with large lowland areas that have been dissected below the plateau surface by the Liard River and its tributaries, namely the Fort Nelson and Petitot rivers and by higher uplands adjacent to the Rocky Mountain Foothills. The Fort Nelson and Petitot rivers are incised as a much as 150 m below the general level terrain of the lowland, which lies near 450 m elevation with the softer shales being eroded prior to the ice-age glacial advance. Elsewhere streams, extensive muskeg, wetlands and small lakes dominate a surface that has remained unmodified since its emergence from the covering of ice.

Biogeoclimatic Zonation - Vegetation is dominated by the Boreal White and Black Spruce Zone. Black spruce bogs and wetlands are extensive.

Vegetation - The Taiga Plains Ecoprovince has the least floral diversity of any of the ecoprovinces in British Columbia. Extensive fire history has resulted in dominance by deciduous seral forests, with numerous wetland areas.

Except for the higher portions of the Muskwa Plateau Ecosection, there is a single vegetation zone across the ecoprovince in BC. Here the climax forest should be white and black spruce, however, the frequency of wildfires across this landscape means that trembling aspen forests are common, often with balsam poplar and paper birch. Lodgepole pine is an uncommon seral tree; jack pine does occur on dry sites only in the northeastern portion of the area. Understories include: prickly rose, soopolallie, highbush-cranberry, willows, twinflower, asters, and mosses. Floodplains are dominated by white spruce and balsam poplar, with alder, willows, red-osier dogwood, and horsetails. Wetlands are extensive, especially on the lowlands, and are mainly black spruce bogs with understories of Labrador tea, cloudberry, and sphagnum (peat) mosses, and tamarack fens with scrub birch, leatherleaf, sweet gale, buckbean, and fen mosses. Soils are usually fine textured, moist to very wet, and calcareous, with shallow to deep accumulations of organic material. Intermittent areas of permafrost may occur.

At the higher elevations of the Muskwa Plateau, a cold subalpine forest, the Spruce - Willow - Birch Zone, is established. Forests here are open, with white spruce and subalpine fir. At the upper elevations of the zone, forests are replaced by shrub-dominated vegetation, primarily willows and scrub birch.

Fauna - Moose are the most abundant ungulate, and American Black Bear, and Lynx are common carnivores. Scattered herds of Caribou spend the winter months in all the upland, muskeg, and boreal forests. The Muskrat, Meadow Vole, Northern Red-Backed Vole, and Meadow Jumping Mouse are widely distributed small mammals.

The Taiga Plains Ecoprovince supports the lowest diversity of birds of any terrestrial ecoprovince in British Columbia with only 40% of all species known to occur in the province having been reported, the area holds only 35% of all species known to breed. Part of the reason for that low diversity may simply be a reflection of the very low level of observer effort in the region. This ecoprovince is the centre of abundance for breeding Lesser Yellowlegs and Solitary Sandpipers. Spruce Grouse are abundant in the extensive boreal forests. This is the only breeding area in the province for the Bay-breasted Warbler and is the centre of abundance for the Swamp Sparrow. Le Conte’s Sparrow is locally abundant.  Other breeding species of note include Cape May Warbler, Canada Warbler, Black and White Warbler, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

No reptiles are known to occur in the ecoprovince and the only amphibians known to occur include the western toad, northern chorus frog, and wood frog.

This ecoprovince supports only freshwater fish, such as, Arctic grayling, northern pike, walleye, bull trout, inconnu, white sucker and lake whitefish.

Ecoprovince Subdivisions

In British Columbia, the Taiga Plains Ecoprovince has three ecoregions consisting of seven ecosections.

HSL - Hay – Slave Lowland Ecoregion
This is a extremely flat to gently rolling, broad lowland area. It lies below the higher portions of the Alberta Plateau to the west, north and south. In British Columbia it extends from east of the canyon of the Fort Nelson River and the lower Prophet River east to the British Columbia-Alberta border. In Alberta it continues eastward to the Peace Lowland and northeastward between the Cameron and Caribou hills into the Northwest Territories as far as the south shore of Great Slave Lake. There is only one ecosection in British Columbia.

  • FNL - Fort Nelson Lowland Ecosection

    This is a broad lowland area, which at times is gently rolling and in places flat, that has been incised below the level of the adjacent plateau surfaces by the Fort Nelson and Hay rivers. This area has been eroding for a long time prior to the recent ice ages, but the erosion caused by the westerly movement of Keewatin Ice Sheets during the past Ice Age and enhanced by subsequent erosion caused by rivers flowing off the melting ice sheets. Deep flat-lying shales and sandstone underlain this ecosection. The lowland/plateau margin has been pegged at about 610 m elevation along sandstone scarps. The Fort Nelson River which flows northward into the Liard River, is joined by: the Muskwa, Prophet, Sikanni Chief, Klua, Fontas, Kahntah, Snake, Sahtaneh and Kiwigana streams. While the Hay River, which flows eastward into the Peace River in Alberta, is joined by: the Sheklilie, Kotcho, Kyklo, and Ekwan streams in British Columbia. The drainage in this ecosection is not well developed, but in British Columbia it is drained to the north by the Fort Nelson River and to the east by the Hay River. Clarke Lake is the only large named lake in B.C. While hay and Zama lakes are the two largest in Alberta. Extensive wetlands, small lakes, muskeg and small meandering streams dominate this lowland area.

    This area is little affected by Pacific air rather surface heating of the myriad bodies of water creates convective currents that cause localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter cold Arctic air can lay over this area for long periods bringing extensive periods of intense cold which seems to be exasperated by the short day-light. Boreal White and Black Spruce is the only forest type, but much of the area is expressed by wetlands and muskeg that are surrounded by black spruce and tamarack, white spruce goes best on the alluvial soils along the rivers or on drier upland sites.

    In British Columbia Fort Nelson is the largest community, smaller settlements include: Old Fort Nelson and Prophet River; while in Alberta, Rainbow Lake, Habey and Chateh are the main communities. In British Columbia the Alaska Highway (No. 97) passes through the southwestern portion and the Liard Highway (No. 77) connects Fort Nelson north to Fort Liard in the Northwest Territories. Winter roads to access gas and oil fields are extensive especially to the north and east and build over frozen ground and utilized ice-bridges to cross rivers and lakes. Oil and gas exploration is the main industry, with extensive seismic activity and drilling throughout the ecosection. Some logging for popular has occurred, but is restricted to the drier upland portions. There is some hay production near Fort Nelson as well as some cattle and Bison ranching. There are several representative protected areas of note, including: Hay River, Ekwan Lake, Klua Lakes, Sikanni Old Growth and Jackpine Remnant parks.

MPL - Muskwa Plateau Ecoregion
This is a rolling and hilly ecoregion that lies between the Rocky Mountain Foothills in the west and the lower Fort Nelson Lowlands in the east. The upland consists of gently folded sedimentary bedrock, which often has been incised by the larger streams, exposing shales that underlie a harder sandstone cap. The gentle slopes generally face east as a result of the gently east-dipping sandstones. This ecoregion lies mainly in British Columbia, but it does extend northward into the very southeastern area of the Northwest Territories, it consists of two ecosections.

  • MUU - Muskwa Upland Ecosection
    This is a highly dissected upland area that rises above the Fort Nelson Lowland to the east, but is considerably lower than the Rocky Mountain Foothills and Hyland Plateau to the west. The Continental Ice Sheets moved westward across this ecosection to coalesce with the eastward moving Cordilleran Ice Sheet, those glaciers dissected by the Muskwa, Prophet, Dunedin and Liard rivers to form wide, intermountain valleys. It contains the highest upland surface in this ecoprovince that can range from: 250 m along the Liard River to 900 m above Nelson Forks; to 1492 m at Mount Gunnell east of McClennan Creek, north of the Alaska Highway, to 1514 m on the highest ridge east of the mouth of Tuchodi River. In British Columbia this ecosection is drained by the lower segments of many streams such as: the Muskwa, Tenaka, Prophet, Fort Nelson, Tetsa, Dunedin, Toad, Beaver, Crow, La Biche and Liard rivers; while in the Northwest Territories it is drained by the Beaver, La Biche and Kotanellee rivers. There are many small lakes and wetland but no large lakes.

    This area is little affected by Pacific air, but surface heating of the many wetlands and streams cause convective currents that result in localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. This ecosection is also affected by low pressure systems centered over northern Alberta with force moist air against the mountains bringing extreme rain events. In the winter cols Arctic air can lie over the entire ecosection bringing extended period of extreme cold, but with clear skies. The dominate forest type is the Boreal White and Black Spruce except for the high ridge between the Muskwa and Prophet rivers where the cold Spruce – Willow- Birch forest can get established.

    There are no communities in British Columbia within this ecosection; Fort Liard is located in the Northwest Territories at the mouth of the Petitot River. The Alaska Highway (No. 97) passes through the middle from east to west and the Liard Highway (No. 77) connects Fort Nelson to Fort Liard through the northeastern potion of this ecosection. Guiding and trapping are the most important renewable resource industries; oil and gas exploration, in the form of seismic lines and activity has occurred throughout the area. In British Columbia, the Liard River Corridor Park extends downstream from the Liard River Canyon into this ecosection and the Northern Rocky Mountain Park extends eastward in the Muskwa River valley into the southwestern portion of the ecosection.

  • SCU - Sikanni Chief Upland Ecosection
    This is an extensive upland or plateau area that lies eastward of the Rocky Mountain Foothills, north of the Halfway Plateau and south of the Fort Nelson Lowland. It is similar to the more northerly Muskwa Upland Ecosection only here the upland surface is more gently rounded. The Continental Ice Sheets moved westward across this upland to coalesce with the eastward Cordilleran Ice Sheets coming off the Rocky Mountains, the left behind large amounts of drifted and deeply incised the river beds that have cut through the hard sandstone cap into the underlying shales. This ecosection is deeply dissected by the Sikanni Chief, Buckinghorse and Prophet rivers. In this ecosection is also drained by: the Beatton, La Prise, Conroy, Trutch, Klua, Minaker, and Wenger streams. Klua and Lily are the only two large lakes, but there are myriad small lakes, wetland and muskeg.

    This area is little affected by Pacific air, but surface heating of the many wetlands and streams cause convective currents that result in localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. This ecosection is also affected by low pressure systems centered over northern Alberta with force moist air against the mountains bringing extreme rain events. In the winter cols Arctic air can lie over the entire ecosection bringing extended period of extreme cold, but with clear skies. The dominate forest type is the cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forest types that have predominantly, cold, moist black spruce with extensive areas of scrub birch in frost pockets and areas with extensive cold air drainage.

    There are only a few service establishments such as: Sikanni Chief, Buckinghorse River and Trutch here along the Alaska Highway (No. 97) that passes through from south to north, mainly along a dry ridge that rises east above the Minaker River. Extensive Oil and Gas exploration, mainly seismic activity, has occurred throughout the ecosection. The southern four-fifths of Klua Lakes and the Sikanni Chief Canyon parks are the two larger representative protected areas here but the southeastern boundary of the Northern Rocky Mountain Park extends into the northwestern portion of this ecosection. 

NUP - Northern Alberta Upland Ecoregion
This is an area of low rolling plateaus that overlay flat-lying sedimentary bedrock it includes several very large meltwater channels, from melting the Laurentian Ice Sheet. It lies in the far northeastern portion of the province and it extends north and east into the Northwest Territories and Alberta. Muskeg and meandering streams predominate but white spruce and balsam popular stands occur in well-drained riparian areas. Oil and gas exploration is the main industry. In British Columbia it consists of four ecosections.

  • ETP - Etsho Plateau Ecosection

    This is a rolling upland of gentle eastward dipping sandstones that rises steeply, in an escarpment, above the Fort Nelson Lowland to the south and east; it lies entirely within British Columbia. The Laurentide Ice Sheets moved across this area rounding the features and depositing deep layers of glacial debris with they stagnated and waned. It reaches to 751 m northwest Kotcho Lake, but most importantly the escarpment forms a wall that rises nearly 200 m above the adjacent lowland. Like the Cameron and Hills and Caribou Mountains in Alberta, this area can be considered as an outlier of the Alberta Plateau. On the northern slopes this ecosection grades into the adjacent upland unit. This ecosection is drained by the upper Kotcho and Tonga streams that flow eastward into the Hay River; by the Komie, Courvoisier, Lichen and Klenteh streams that flow westward into the Fort Nelson River; and by the Thetlaandod, Tsea, Sahdoanah, and Yeshhadle streams that flow north into the Petitot River. There are two large lakes: Kotcho and Kwokullie and many smaller ones and much wetland and muskeg.

    Surface heating of the water bodies in the summer creates convective currents that lead to localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter cold Arctic air can dominate this area, bringing extensive periods of intense cold, but often accompanied by clear skies. Cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forest types is the only one here, but it usually expressed as muskeg and wetlands surrounded by black spruce and tamarack, white spruce is commonly found only on the deep river gravels and on higher and drier ground.

    There are no permanent settlements here, nor are there any all-weather roads here. Oil and Gas exploration, by seismic activity has occurred throughout and an industrial road has been built, from Fort Nelson on to this ecosection, and east past Kotcho and Kwokullie lakes. There are no large protected areas in this ecosection.

  • MAU - Maxhamish Upland Ecosection
    This is a rolling upland that rises above the Forth Nelson Lowland to the southeast; it is slightly below both the Etsho Plateau to the east and the Muskwa Plateau to the west. It lies mainly in British Columbia but it does extend northward into the Northwest Territories to the constriction between the Liard Range and the Interior Plateau at the mouth of the Muskeg River it is much wider in the Petitot/Muskeg river basin, before it narrows to a plain on the east side of the Liard River. It rises above the Fort Nelson and Liard rivers to the west. This area has deep, flat-lying sedimentary sandstone rocks that has been eroded by the western moving Laurentide Ice Sheets. Much of the upland is between 400 and 550 m elevation, but rounded hills can rise to above 600 m to 700 m elevation. In British Columbia this is ecosection is drained by: Kiwigana, Delkpay, Capot-Blanc, d’Easum, and Sandy streams; in the Northwest Territories it is drained by: the Big Island, lower Petitot and Muskeg streams. Maxhamish Lake is the largest lake, but here are many small lakes, wetlands, muskeg and small streams.

    Surface heating of the water bodies in the summer creates convective currents that lead to localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter cold Arctic air can dominate this area, bringing extensive periods of intense cold, but often accompanied by clear skies. Cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forest types is the only one here, but it usually expressed as muskeg and wetlands surrounded by black spruce and tamarack, white spruce is commonly found only on the deep river gravels and on higher and drier ground.

    In British Columbia, there are no settlements in this ecosection.  The Liard Highway (No. 77) an all weather road, connects the Alaska Highway (No. 97) west of Fort Nelson to Fort Liard, and Fort Simpson in the Northwest Territories, it crosses this upland area to the east of Maxhamish Lake. Extensive oil and gas exploration by seismic activity has occurred throughout this ecosection in both British Columbia and the Northwest Territories. Maxhamish Lake Park and Protected Area are the only representative protected areas here.

  • PEP - Petitot Plain Ecosection
    This is a wide meltwater plain that curves, in crescent-shape from the Northwest Territories-Alberta-British Columbia boundary area, southwest then northwesterly across northeastern B.C. and back into the Northwest Territories. Because of its size it presents an unique landform feature in British Columbia, it was undoubtedly formed by the rivers of water running off the melting Laurentian Ice Sheet at the waning of past Ice Ages. In addition to the Petitot River which flows through the centre of the area, this ecosection is also drained by: the upper Muskeg, Fortune, Stanisles, Sahdoanah, Kimes, Hassitl and Thinahtea streams in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories, as well it is drained by the Kakisa and Redknife rivers in Alberta. Its surface is riddled with many small lakes (the four largest are: July, Midwinter, Thinahtea and August) wetlands, muskeg and slow-moving streams.

    Surface heating of the water bodies in the summer creates convective currents that lead to localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter cold Arctic air can dominate this area, bringing extensive periods of intense cold, but often accompanied by clear skies. Cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forest types is the only one here, but it usually expressed as muskeg and wetlands surrounded by black spruce and tamarack, white spruce is commonly found only on the deep river gravels and on higher and drier ground.

    There are no settlements or permanent roads, only the winter road that cuts across the western portion from the southwest to the northeast, which connects Fort Nelson with Fort Simpson on the Mackenzie River. Oil and gas exploration by seismic activity has occurred extensively throughout the upland surface. The North and South Thinahtea parks are the only two representative protected areas in this ecosection.

  • TLP - Trout Lake Plain Ecosection
    This is a rolling upland plain that extends southward from the Northwest Territories into northeastern British Columbia it is much smaller in British Columbia than in the Northwest Territories. Much of the ecosection in British Columbia rises above 600 m; while in the Northwest Territories it can rise above 694 m of the south side of Trout Lake to 725 m on the west side. In BC this ecosection is drained by only by the upper Hassitl Creek, which flows southward into the Petitot River. In the NWT it is drained by: the upper Muskeg, Arrowhead, Island, Trout, Poplar and many unnamed streams. It is dominated by the large Trout Lake, (many smaller named lakes such as: Trainor, Tetcho and Cormack), a myriad of small lakes, wetlands and black spruce and tamarack muskeg and meandering streams.

    Surface heating of the water bodies in the summer creates convective currents that lead to localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter cold Arctic air can dominate this area, bringing extensive periods of intense cold, but often accompanied by clear skies. Cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forest types is the only one here, but it usually expressed as muskeg and wetlands surrounded by black spruce and tamarack, white spruce is commonly found only on the deep river gravels and on higher and drier ground.

    There are no settlements in this ecosection. A winter road form Fort Nelson to Fort Simpson, cuts through the western potion of this ecosection in the Northwest Territories. Like elsewhere in this ecoprovince oil and gas exploration by seismic activity has occurred here. There no protected areas in either British Columbia or the Northwest Territories.

Sub-Arctic Highlands Ecodivision

This Ecodivision is the third part of the Polar Ecodomain in British Columbia. It includes the mountains, high plateaus, and intermontane lowlands that extend from the northern part of the province into the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Alaska. The area has severe and long winters with short summers. Precipitation does not vary greatly through the year but mountains in the east are generally drier than those in the west. Vegetation is characterized by muskeg and black spruce in low-lying areas with poor drainage. Low valleys often have willow-birch shrublands. White spruce and sub-alpine fir, and occasionally aspen, occur on the middle slope. Alpine grasslands dominate most rounded summits, while barren rock, and mat-vegetation occurs on the highest peaks. In British Columbia this Ecodivision is represented by only one Ecoprovince.

NMB - Northern Boreal Mountains Ecoprovince

Location - This ecoprovince lies east of the northern Boundary Ranges of the Coast Mountains, west of the Alberta Plateau, and south of the Taiga Cordillera of the Mackenzie Mountains. The general character of this ecoprovince is one of mountains and plateaus separated by wide valleys and lowlands that are strongly influenced by Arctic air. The Northern Boreal Mountains Ecoprovince extends from north-central British Columbia northward across the southern Yukon into east-central Alaska.

There has been little obvious effect of human activity in the area. Mineral exploration, open-pit mining and placer mining, have had the most serious habitat impacts, starting with the rush in the late 1890’s to the Klondike gold fields, many prospectors staked claims within this ecoprovince, or supported developments along the lower Stikine River and Dease Lake, but continuing to present with placer mining, jade exploration and base metal exploration, one of the largest mines, now closed was the Asbestos mine at Cassiar, which necessitated building an industrial road to tidewater at Stewart. Logging is restricted to small, local operations. Guiding and trapping remain the most important industries based on renewable resources.

Climate - Prevailing westerly winds bring Pacific air to the area over the high St. Elias Mountains and Boundary Ranges. Coastal air is greatly reduced in moisture when it reaches the area; this ecoprovince is characterized by rainshadow effects that can cause some areas to be very dry. Summertime surface heating leads to convective showers which, together with winter frontal systems, result in precipitation amounts that are evenly distributed throughout the year. Winter climates are long and persistent, while the growing season is relatively short; outbreaks of Arctic air are frequent during the winter and spring. The rugged relief leads to a complex pattern of surface heating and cold air drainage in the valleys.

Physiography - This ecoprovince encompasses several mountain ranges, wide valleys and lowlands, in British Columbia there are physiographic units: the Alsek Ranges, the Teslin, Taku, Tanzilla and Stikine plateaus, the Cassiar Mountains, the Liard Plain, Liard Ranges, the north portion of the Skeena and Omineca Mountains, the Northern Rocky Mountain Trench, and the Muskwa Ranges and associated foothills; the Teslin Plateau, Teslin Basin and Pelly Mountains. There are many additional units in the Yukon Territory, including: the Kluane, Lewes, Klondike Nisutlin and Stewart plateaus and Dawson and Ruby ranges, and into east-central Alaska in the Alaska Range.

The general character of the ecoprovince is one of mountains and plateaus separated by wide valleys and lowlands. Each has a different geological origin or structure. Glaciation was uneven in intensity. The high coastal mountains to the west (in British Columbia) and south (in the Yukon and Alaska) and the Rocky and Mackenzie mountains in the east were centres of accumulation from which valley glaciers moved outward across major lowlands. Late glaciation eroded the mountains further. However, some areas, in the northwestern portion of this ecoprovince, such as northern South Ogilvie Mountains received no glacial ice, this unglaciated area reaches from the Yukon into Alaska. Late glaciation eroded the mountains further. Some areas, such as the foothills, show little or no evidence of glacial erosion and there may have been an ice-free corridor between the continental ice-sheets.

Drainage of this area radiates outward in all directions; through the coastal mountains by the Stikine, Taku, and Alsek rivers; north across the Yukon and Alaska by the Yukon river; through the gorge between the Mackenzie and Rocky mountains by the Liard River; and southward to the Peace Via by the Finlay, Ingenika, Fox and Kwadicha rivers. The mountains show a variety of alpine conditions from rugged, serrated rock to rounded, rolling alpine, which extends a considerable way down the mountains. Valley bottoms and lower slopes contain dense forests of mainly White spruce, Subalpine Fir and Trembling aspen, with Black spruce in the moist sites, while Lodgepole pine although common in British Columbia and the Yukon – Southern Lakes Ecoregion in the Yukon is rare or non-existent in the northern portion this ecoprovince in the Yukon. Lowland areas are often occupied with wetlands, small lakes, and meandering streams, while valley bottoms in the mountains are often filled with glacial debris, in the form of kame deposits, till plains and moraines.

Biogeoclimatic Zonation - Vegetation is dominated by three Biogeoclimatic Zones: the Boreal White and Black spruce Zone occurs throughout the valley bottoms and extensive plains, the Spruce - Willow - Birch Zone occurs throughout the high valleys and middle slopes of the mountains, while the Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine Zone occurs throughout the middle to upper slopes of most mountains. Sporadic occurrence of two additional zones occurs adjacent to the large coastal valleys; the Sub-Boreal Spruce Zone occurs in the lower slopes of the lower Stikine and lower Taku River valleys, and the Engelmann Spruce - Subalpine Fir Zone occurs on the middle slopes of those valleys.

Vegetation - The Northern Boreal Mountains Ecoprovince is very large but, except for some transitional vegetation from coastal to boreal, it is not very diverse. There are five vegetation zones. The distinctive feature of the ecoprovince is the extensive subalpine and the relatively low elevation alpine habitats.

In the northeastern portion, the in the Liard Basin, extensive fire history and fine-textured soil (silts and clays) have resulted in domination by trembling aspen. The lowest vegetation zone has a climax of white and black spruce. Other common tree species are paper birches and balsam poplar. Understories are dominated, with green alder, highbush-cranberry, soopolallie, prickly rose, twinflower, Altai fescue, wild sarsaparilla, and mosses. On floodplains, young balsam poplar stands give way to white spruce, with alder, red-osier dogwood, and horsetails. Low nutrient black spruce bogs have Labrador tea, cloudberry, leatherleaf, lingonberry, and sphagnum. Organic rich tamarack fens have understories of sweet gale, willows, buckbean, sedges and fen mosses.

The lowest vegetation zone has a climax of white spruce forests, with little black spruce. Lodgepole pine can occur on coarser soils and after fire, and while slowly expanding northwestward it currently occurs only in British Columbia and the southern Yukon Territory. Trembling aspen occurs on finer soils, especially after fire, and Subalpine Fir is commonly encountered throughout this zone. This boreal zone is mainly encountered in lower, broad valley bottoms. Other common tree species are Paper Birch and Balsam Poplar. Understories are dominated, with Green Alder, Highbush-Cranberry, Soopolallie, Prickly Rose, Twinflower, Altai Fescue, Wild Sarsaparilla, and mosses. On floodplains, young Balsam Poplar stands give way to White spruce, with alder, Red-osier Dogwood, and horsetails. Low nutrient Black spruce bogs have Labrador Tea, Cloudberry, Leatherleaf, Lingonberry, and Sphagnum. Rich Tamarack fens have understories of Sweet Gale, willows, Buckbean, sedges and fen mosses. In this low elevation, vegetation zone understories are moss dominated. Wetlands tend to be rich in minerals, or organic matter, with both Black and White spruce cover.
The subalpine vegetation zone is extensive except in the Liard Basin. Wildfires are less frequent than in lower areas. Trembling aspen and lodgepole pine are common on drier sites. The lower elevations are usually forested with white spruce and subalpine fir, which dominates on higher slopes. Understories include willow, soopollallie, crowberry, twinflower, Altai fescue, fireweed, and a well-developed moss layer. Permafrost may be found in some valleys, and massive cold air pooling leads to a mosaic of shrubfields, fens and open grassland complexes. The upper elevations of this zone are essentially a scrub/parkland, dominated by scrub birch and several willow species. Wetlands are usually rich, with white spruce, tall willows, scrub birch, sedges and cottongrass. Subalpine grasslands are frequent, on either steep south-facing slopes, or on flat to gently rolling uplands. Altai fescue is the common grass.

The Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine vegetation zone (alpine tundra vegetation zone) is widespread, and dominated by shrubs such as Dwarf arctic-alpine willows, mountain-heathers, Moss Campion, Mountain-Avens, Altai Fescue, Blackish Locoweed, mosses, and lichens. Habitats range from extensive, upper elevation, sparsely vegetated or lichen-covered rocks to dwarf scrub of prostrate woody plants to alpine grasslands to wet herb meadows.

Fauna - Moose are the most numerous and widely distributed ungulate, but the Thinhorn Sheep (both the pure white Dall’s and Stone’s) and Caribou best characterize the fauna. Mountain Goats are an abundant species in rugged alpine areas. Grizzly Bears, American Black Bears, and Grey Wolves are common throughout the valleys.

Characteristic small mammals include the Collared Pika, Arctic Ground Squirrel, Tundra Vole, and Brown Lemming. Wolverines and Lynx are common.

This ecoprovince supports only 50% of all bird species known to occur in the province and 40% of all species known to breed. However, many species breed nowhere else in British Columbia including the Pacific Loon, Gyrfalcon, Lesser Golden-Plover, Wandering Tattler, Hudsonian Godwit, Red-necked Phalarope, Arctic Tern, Northern Shrike, Smith’s Longspur, Snow Bunting, Common Redpoll, and “Timberline” Sparrow. This area is the centre of abundance for Willow and Rock ptarmigan, Bohemian Waxwing, and American Tree Sparrow, and it supports the only breeding population of the dark race (harlani) of the Red-tailed Hawk.

This ecoprovince supports both anadromous and freshwater fish. The fish species vary because of the sea that the watersheds drain into. For example, the Stikine, Taku and Tatshenshini drain into the Pacific Ocean; the Yukon River drains into the Bering Sea; and the Liard and Peace rivers drain into the Arctic Ocean. Anadromous fish are restricted to the Stikine, Taku and Tatshenshini watersheds, and include, Chinook and chum salmon. Freshwater fish include, Arctic grayling, lake trout, lake whitefish, bull trout are common throughout, except in the Yukon River watershed and Dolly Varden char occur in the Stikine and Taku watersheds; in the Liard and Peace river watersheds - northern pike and white sucker; in Teslin Lake and the Liard River - inconnu; in the Pacific watersheds -coastal cutthroat trout and Coast Range sculpin.

Ecoprovince Subdivisions

The Northern Boreal Mountains Ecoprovince in British Columbia consists of eight ecoregions with 23 ecosections.

BMP – Boreal Mountains and Plateaus Ecoregion
This ecoregion is a large area with a complex of rugged mountains and intervening lowlands, and rolling, high plateaus. This ecoregion occurs entirely in British Columbia, it extends from the warmer and wetter mountains of Sub-Boreal Interior Ecoprovince in the south, north along the eastern front of the eastern front of the Stikine Highlands north to the low basin of the upper Yukon River watershed, east skirting the Tuya Ranges and Liard Basin, then south along the western front of the Rocky Mountains. It has a cold, dry boreal mountain climate. The Boreal White and Black spruce zone occurs in the lower, wider valleys and lowlands; while the Spruce – Willow – Birch zone occupies most of this area on the mid-slopes. The extensive Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine occurs on the upper slopes, but at the higher elevations barren rock is abundant. In British Columbia this ecoregion contains seven ecosections.

  • CAR - Cassiar Ranges Ecosection
    This is the area with the highest and most rugged mountains in the ecoregion. It is a broad band of mountains extending from a line of the Upper Frog – Denetiah – Kotcho creeks and rivers northwestward to the Dease River – McNab Creek mountain area. It includes the entire Cassiar Ranges physiographic unit from the Cottonwood-Blue River southeastward to above the Finlay River. These ranges have a core of granitic rocks that have intruded into folded sedimentary and volcanic rocks. Glaciers flowed off these ranges in three basic directions: to the northeast into the Northern Rocky Mountain Trench; to the southeast into the Trench south of the Finlay River; and to the west over the lower plateaus and uplands. Although glaciers covered this area the obvious glacial effects are largely those of late-stage cirque basin carving. This ecosection is drained by the Rainbow, Frog, Denetiah, Moodie, Turnagain-Cassiar-Dall, and Major Hart streams that flow northeastward into the Kechika River; the Chuckachida, Pitman, Tucho streams that flow westward into the Stikine River; in the north the area is drained by the Eagle, Four Mile, Rapid streams that flow northward into the Dease River; while the McDame Creek drains the northern portion and drains eastward into the Dease River. Meek, Cry, Tucho, Hottah and Spinel are six of the largest lakes, but many smaller ones occur here.

    This area is affected by moist Pacific air to the west that brings heavy rain throughout the summer and into the fall there are some local rainshadow areas. In the winter cold Arctic air can invade this area from the north or from over the Rocky Mountains to the east and coupled with the short daylight hours these ranges can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover. Snow in this ecosection is high. Cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forests occur in only the lowest valleys of the Dease River, otherwise the valleys and lower to mid-slopes are dominated by scrubby, cold Spruce-Willow-Birch forests. Alpine vegetation is lush and grass rich above tree line, but at higher elevations barren rock fields are the most common.

    The town of Cassiar has been closed and only a few people now live in the area year round. The Kitimat - Cassiar Highway (No. 37) passes through the northwestern portion of the ecosection, following the Dease and McDame rivers. Except for the one highway and areas associated with Cassiar Asbestos, there are no roads in this ecosection. Mineral exploration has been extensive since the early 20th Century, but with few developed mines, the largest, Cassiar Asbestos, is now closed, was located on Mount McDame. Chuckachida Protected Area is the only one entirely in this ecosection; large portions of Dune Za Keyih, Denetiah and Finlay-Russel parks have been established along various boundaries with other ecosections.

  • FRT - Finlay River Trench Ecosection
    This Ecosection forms the middle of the Northern Rocky Mountain Trench physiographic unit this is a stick-slip displacement fault. It extends from the north end of Williston Lake reservoir northwestward to Sifton Pass the narrowest section of the entire Northern Rocky Mountain Trench. Glaciers coming down mountains on either side coalesced and moved southward to the Peace River/ The result is a glaciated plain of varying width, from its narrowest south of Sifton Pass to its widest at Ware, It is drained in the northern portion by the southeastward flowing Fox River and in the southern portion by the Finlay River after it has merged with both the Fox and Kwadacha rivers. There are many small lakes, wetlands and streams here the only large lake is the extreme northern end of Williston Lake reservoir.

    This area has some large rainshadows as it is protected from moist Pacific air moving over the mountains to the west and from low-pressure storms in Alberta pushing moisture eastward over the Muskwa Ranges. In the summer surface heating of the many water bodies creates convective currents bringing localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invade this area by sliding down the Rocky Mountain Trench to the north and coupled with the short daylight hours this trench can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. The only forest type is Boreal White and Black Spruce, black spruce grows commonly around the wetlands and muskeg and white spruce grows on the deeper alluvial soils.

    Ware, is the only community here. Roads built for logging extend from the Parsnip Trench Ecosection into the southern portion of this ecosection as far north as Ware. The northern end of the Williston Lake reservoir occurs in the southern end of this ecosection. Ed Bird-Estella Lakes Park is the only protected area established in this ecosection.

  • KEM - Kechika Mountains Ecosection
    This is an area with high, rounded mountains, lying east of the Cassiar Mountains that is dissected by low, wide valleys. These mountains are built up of folded sedimentary quartzite, limestone and slate. Glaciers built up on these mountains and moved northward joining glaciers from the Cassiar Ranges and Rocky Mountain Trench to move into the Liard Basin. The valley profiles have been modified by the valley glaciers, while the high peaks and ridges have been sharply sculpted by cirque glaciers at the waning of the ice age. These mountains diminish somewhat towards the north, with the Horseranch ridge being the last major summit before the Liard Basin. This ecosection is drained by the Turnagain River that winds its way northeastward through the middle of the ecosection, it is joined by the north flowing Dall River and the east flowing Major Hart River; Denetiah and Moodie creeks flow eastward into the Kechika River Trench; while the Deadwood and Red rivers flow northward before turning east to join the Kechika River in the trench. The three largest lakes are Looncry, Deadwood and Dall; there are many smaller ones and wetlands.

    This area has some large rainshadows as it is protected from moist Pacific air moving over the Cassiar Ranges to the west and from low-pressure storms in Alberta pushing moisture eastward over the Muskwa Ranges. In the summer surface heating of the many water bodies creates convective currents bringing localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invade this area by coming over the low Hyland Highland and Liard Plain to the north and coupled with the short daylight hours these mountains can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. The cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forests grow in the wider valley bottoms, black spruce grows commonly around wetlands and muskeg and white spruce grows on the deeper alluvial soils. The lower to mid-slopes are dominated by scrubby, cold Spruce-Willow-Birch forests. Alpine vegetation is lush and grass rich above tree line, but at higher elevations barren rock fields are the most common.

    There are no roads or settlements here. Most of Denetiah Park has been establish in the southern end of this ecosection, in addition, this area is part of the Muskwa-Kechika Wilderness Management Area to protect and manage the high value wildlife and wilderness values that occur here.

  • KRT - Kechika River Trench Ecosection
    This ecosection is an intermountain plain that is oriented north-northwest to south-southeast; it is the northern segment of the Northern Rocky Mountain Trench, a strike-slip displacement fault. It is widest in the north adjacent to the Liard Plain and becomes constricted by the Rabbit Plateau and western Muskwa Ranges to the east and the Kechika Mountains and Cassiar Ranges to the west it is narrowest in the south nearest Sifton Pass. The Kechika River flows northward through the entire ecosection, while the Gataga River, the second largest river here, joins the Kechika near the middle of the ecosection. There are many small lakes, wetlands and streams here and the only large lake is Scoop Lake.

    This area has some large rainshadows as it is protected from moist Pacific air moving over the mountains to the west and from low-pressure storms in Alberta pushing moisture eastward over the Muskwa Ranges. In the summer surface heating of the many water bodies creates convective currents bringing localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invade this area by coming over the low Hyland Highland and Liard Plain to the north and coupled with the short daylight hours these mountains can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. The cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forests grow in the wider valley bottoms, black spruce grows commonly around wetlands and muskeg and white spruce grows on the deeper alluvial soils. The only forest type is Boreal White and Black Spruce, black spruce grows commonly around the wetlands and muskeg and white spruce grows on the deeper alluvial soils.

    There are no roads or settlements here. Denetiah, Denetiah Corridor and Dune Za Keyih parks, three representative protected areas of note in this ecosection straddle the ecosection between the mouth of Rainbow River and that of Matulka Creek to the north.

  • NOM - Northern Omineca Mountains Ecosection
    This is an area of rounded mountains and wide valleys. These mountains have a core of granitic rocks that have intruded into sedimentary, volcanic and metamorphic rocks. Glaciers covered this are, but with an intensity that varied with elevation and specific location. The lower mountains are well rounded but the higher ones are more serrate and show the effects of cirque sculpting. In the ranges nearest to the Finlay River the valley profiles are U-shaped and hanging valleys are common. Glaciers left deep drift in the valleys bottoms and many low-level lakes, streams and wetlands occur. This ecosection includes: portions of the Sifton and Finlay ranges in the east, adjacent to the Finlay River Trench; and the northern portion of the Swannell Ranges of the Omineca Mountains physiographic unit. Toodoggone, Firesteel, Finlay and Ingenika rivers to the east; and the Chuckachida River to the west; and the Pelly River to the south drain the ecosection.

    This area is affected by moist Pacific air to the west that brings heavy rain throughout the summer and into the fall there are some local rainshadow areas. In the winter cold Arctic air can invade this area from the north or from over the Rocky Mountains to the east and coupled with the short daylight hours these ranges can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover. Snow in this ecosection is high. Cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forests occur in only the lowest facing the main stem of the Finlay River, otherwise the valleys and lower to mid-slopes are dominated by scrubby, cold Spruce-Willow-Birch forests. Cold Engelmann Spruce - Subalpine Fir forests occur on the mid-slopes in the Ingenika Basin. Alpine vegetation is lush and grass rich above tree line, but at higher elevations barren rock fields are the most common.

    There are no settlements here. Logging is carried out from Ingenika Arm to Ware and a resource road for mineral exploration was built in the 1970’s into the upper Finlay, Sturdee and Toodoggone watersheds. This ecosection contains most of the Finlay - Russel Park, the eastern three quarters of Tatlatui Park and the northern half of Chase Park.

  • SBP- Southern Boreal Plateau Ecosection
    This ecosection consists of several deeply incised plateaus, wide river valleys and upland summits. Mount Edziza, in the west, is a large compositionally diverse shield volcano; while to the southeast shale and sandstone dominate the southern portion of the Spatsizi and Klappan uplands; north across the Stikine River, the Three Sisters Mountain is a batholith, while other mountains here are volcanic. Glaciers pushed over this ecosection coming from the Skeena Mountains to the south, filling the valleys, in the west the glaciers moved down the Stikine Valley to the coast, and in the east and central portions the glaciers moved north across the plateaus and lowlands. This ecosection is drained by the west and southward flowing Stikine River and its major tributaries: Spatsizi, Klappan and Little Klappan, Klastline Rivers and Mess creek all of which flow northward; and the Iskut River flowing southwestward; while the Turnagain River drains northward to the Liard River. Kinaskan and Eddontenajon lakes are the largest, other large lakes include: Kakiddi, Nuttlude, Cold Fish, Laslui, Tuaton and Eaglehead; there are many small lakes, streams, wetland and muskeg.

     This area has some large rainshadows as some of the large north-facing valleys are protected from moist Pacific air moving over the Coast Mountains in the west by the surrounding uplands and mountains. In the summer surface heating of the many water bodies creates convective currents bringing localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invade this area by coming south over lowland and rolling upland from the Yukon Territory to the north and coupled with the short daylight hours these mountains can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. The cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forests grow in the large wide valley bottoms; black spruce grows commonly around wetlands and muskeg and white spruce grows on the deeper alluvial soils. The lower to mid-slopes are dominated by scrubby, cold Spruce-Willow-Birch forests. Alpine vegetation is extensive and is lush and grass rich above tree line, but at higher elevations barren rock fields are the most common; remnant glaciers remain on Mount Edziza and along the southern boundary on the Skeena Mountains.

    Several small communities and Indian Reserves occur in the Kinaskan-Eddontenajon lakes area. The Cassiar-Kitimat Highway (No. 37) passes by Kinaskan and Eddontenajon lakes and connects this area with the Yellowhead Highway (No. 16) in the south and the Alaska Highway (No. 97) in the north; the BCR rail line was pushing up the Klappan River from Fort St James before construction was stopped in the early 1970’s; placer mining in the upper Turnagain have created road access from Dease Lake. Several large protected areas occur here: Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park, Stikine River Park, Mount Edziza Park, Gladys Lake Ecological Reserve and the northwestern quarter of Tatlatui Park are the largest protected areas representing this ecosection.

  • STP - Stikine Plateau Ecosection
    This ecosection is a plateau area with variable relief, from lowland to rolling alpine. It is a partly dissected upland formed on folded sedimentary and volcanic rocks. It is an area of wide flaring valleys and rounded ridges; the Level Mountain shield volcano is the most impressive feature in this ecosection. Cirque glaciers have sculpted the summit and the surrounding rim. Glaciers moved eastward from the Boundary Ranges and coalesced with ice moving north from the plateaus to the south. Moving great quantities of material there were eventually dropped here when the ice sheets waned. The upland surface is dominated by a myriad of small lakes, streams, muskeg and marshes. Drainage streams flow to the west via the Stikine River: Tanzilla, Tuya, and Tahltan rivers; to the west via the Taku River: Sheslay- Nahlin, and Inklin rivers; and to the northeast via the Liard River, the Dease River. Dease Lake is the largest lake and Tuya, Tachilta, Hluey and Buckley are four other large ones.

    This area has some large rainshadows the low elevations along the Stikine, Nahlin and Klastline river valleys are the driest in the ecoregion, but most of the upland is not protected from moist Pacific air moving up the wide Stikine Gap in the Coast Mountains or over the Coast Mountains in the west across the surrounding uplands and mountains. In the summer surface heating of the many water bodies creates convective currents bringing localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invade this area by coming south over lowland and rolling upland from the Yukon Territory to the north and coupled with the short daylight hours these mountains can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. The cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forests grow in the large wide valley bottoms; black spruce grows commonly around wetlands and muskeg and white spruce grows on the deeper alluvial soils. The lower to mid-slopes are dominated by scrubby, cold Spruce-Willow-Birch forests. Alpine vegetation is limited to Level Mountain and a few of the higher ridges, it can be lush and grass rich above tree line, but on Level Mountain wetlands and muskeg predominate.

    Dease Lake and Telegraph Creek are the only two communities here. The Cassiar-Kitimat Highway (No. 37) goes through here, past the community of Dease Lake, and connects this community with the Yellowhead Highway (No. 16) to the south and the Alaska Highway (No. 97) to the north; a service road extends west to Telegraph Creek; and a mining road has been put in east of Dease Lake to the Turnagain Lakes. The Telegraph Trail passes through the western portion, this trail was one of the routes used for miners traveling to the Klondike in the late 1890’s. Placer mining was extensive in the early 20th Century, especially along Dease Lake. The lower Stikine River Park; the northern third of the Mount Edziza Park; and the southern portion of the smaller Tuya Mountains Park, occur here.

HHI - Hyland Highland Ecoregion
This is a rolling plateau that is transitional between the higher Rocky Mountains to the south and the higher Mackenzie Mountains to the north in the Yukon and Northwest Territories. It also is located between two lowlands to the east is the extensive Alberta Plateau, while to the west is the smaller Liard Basin. It is the southern-most area of the Mackenzie Mountains. Vegetation is mainly Spruce –willow Birch zone in the upland and Boreal White and Black spruce in the Liard River Canyon. In British Columbia this ecoregion consists of only one ecosection.

  • HYP - Hyland Plateau Ecosection
    This is an area of rolling upland that extends from the Liard River canyon in northern British Columbia into the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Sedimentary rocks underlie this highland that for the most part this area consists of rounded and flat-topped mountains. Ice moved east from the western mountains and lowlands to meet the western moving Continental Ice Sheet. This ecosection provides a low barrier between the Interior Plains to the east and the valleys of the Canadian Cordillera to the west. The south floodplain of the Grand Canyon of the Liard forms its southern boundary, and it is also drained by the Smith River in the west and the Grayling, Crow, Scatter and Beaver rivers in the east. There are now large lakes in British Columbia, but there are many small ones, wetland and streams.

    This area is protected from moist Pacific air moving over the mountains to the west and from low-pressure storms in Alberta pushing moisture eastward over the Alberta Plateaus to the east. In the summer surface heating of the many water bodies creates convective currents bringing localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invades this area by coming down the Interior Plains to the north and coupled with the short daylight hours these mountains can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. The cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forests grow in the wide Liard River valley, black spruce grows commonly around wetlands and muskeg and white spruce grows on the deeper alluvial soils. Spruce-Willow-Birch forests and shrublands dominate the uplands. Alpine areas are small and isolated in B.C. but become more common further north in the Yukon nearer the higher Mackenzie Mountains.

    There are no settlements in this ecosection. A short portion of the Alaska Highway (No. 97) cuts across the southwestern boundary along the Liard River. The Liard River Corridor Park and the Liard River Corridor Protected Area, the two main protected areas in this ecosection, have been established in part in the southern portion of this ecosection.

LIB - Liard Basin Ecoregion
This is an extensive area of lowland to rolling upland that extends from northern British Columbia into the Yukon. It extends from the Kechika and Rocky Mountains in the south north to the Mackenzie Mountains in the north, the Pelly Mountains on the west and the Hyland Highland on the east. It is dominated by the Boreal White and Black spruce zone. The Alaska Highway (No. 97 in B.C.) passes through from the Liard River Hot Springs Park in the east to Watson Lake, Yukon Territory in the northwest; the Cassiar Highway passes through from Boya Lake Park in the south to connect with the Alaska Highway in the Yukon. In British Columbia this ecoregion consists of two ecosections.

  • LIP - Liard Plain Ecosection
    This is a broad, rolling low elevation, inter-mountain glacial plain with a cold, sub-Arctic climate. This ecosection is surrounded on all sides, except the Kechika River Trench, by a ring of plateaus and mountains. Glaciers from the surrounding mountains in B.C. and the Yukon coalesced and moved across the low Hyland Highland to the east. This area clearly shows the affect of that glaciation with extensive drumlins, eskers, and lake-filled kettles. This ecosection is drained chiefly by the Liard River, which flows through the middle of the ecosection, but the Liard is joined by the Dease, Kechika, Rabbit and Trout rivers in the south and the Smith, Coal and Hyland rivers in the north, while the Blue and Rancheria rivers flow from the west. Boya, Horseranch, Aeroplane, Birches and Fishing are the largest lakes in British Columbia; Watson and Simpson lakes are the largest in the Yukon.

    This area is protected from moist Pacific air moving over the mountains to the west and from low-pressure storms in Alberta pushing moisture eastward over the Alberta Plateaus to the east. In the summer surface heating of the many water bodies creates convective currents bringing localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invades this area by coming over the Hyland Highland from the Interior Plains to the north and coupled with the short daylight hours these mountains can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. The cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forests dominate this lowland black spruce grows commonly around wetlands and muskeg and white spruce grows on the deeper alluvial soils; Lodgepole pine forests are common as the result of frequent wildfires. Spruce-Willow-Birch forests and shrublands occur on the few higher uplands.

    There are no large settlements in British Columbia, Lower Post being the largest community; Watson Lake in southern Yukon is a large service centre. The Kitimat – Cassiar Highway (No. 37) passes from Boya Lake Park north to the Alaska Highway in the Yukon. The Alaska Highway (No. 97 in BC and No. 1 in the Yukon) passes from Smith River in the east to the Ranchero River in the west. Six protected areas have been established, in part, in this ecosection, with Boya Lake Park and Smith River and Blue/Dease Rivers ecological reserves being three of the larger ones.

  • SIU - Simpson Upland Ecosection
    This is a transition upland area that rises in elevation between the Liard Basin to the south and west and the higher Selwyn Mountains to the north. This area clearly shows the affect of that glaciation with extensive drumlins, eskers. Small streams flowing into the Thorpe and Grayling rivers drain it. Most of this ecosection occurs in the Yukon Territory, only one small portion of one ridge extends south into British Columbia.

    This area is protected from moist Pacific air moving over the mountains to the west and from low-pressure storms in Alberta pushing moisture eastward over the Alberta Plateaus to the east. In the summer surface heating of the many water bodies creates convective currents bringing localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invades this area by coming over the Hyland Highland from the Interior Plains to the north and coupled with the short daylight hours these mountains can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. The Spruce – Willow – Birch zone dominates the landscape, with only small areas of Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine on the higher ridges.

    There are no settlements or roads in either British Columbia or in the Yukon Territory in this ecosection nor are there any protected areas.

NRM - Northern Canadian Rocky Mountains Ecoregion
This ecoregion is an area of high, rugged mountains, several of which have large glaciers and rounded isolated foothills separated by wide valleys. The Spruce – Willow Birch zone dominates the valleys and lower to mid slopes, while the Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine zone is extensive. The Alaska Highway west from Fort Nelson passes through here past Summit Lake and Muncho Lake parks. Most of this ecoregion is managed under the Muskwa – Kechika Wilderness Management Area. This ecoregion consists of four ecosections.

  • EMR - Eastern Muskwa Ranges Ecosection
    This ecosection is has the highest, most rugged mountains in the ecoprovince. These are bold castellated ranges of considerable relief that have not undergone much late-stage alpine and cirque glaciation. These are composed of primarily limestone rocks that have been trust up during the first major mountain building episode on western North America 200 million years ago. Glaciers moved down these mountains over the adjacent foothills to the east to meet the Continental Ice Sheet moving west from the Interior Plains. This ecosection is drained by rivers flowing to the south, by: the Kwadacha and Akie rivers in the west and the Halfway River in the east; to the east by: the Sikanni Chief, Prophet and Muskwa; and to the north by: the Gataga, Trout, Toad and Dunedin. Muncho, Moose, Wokkpash, Tuchodi and Redfern are the largest lakes, but there are many smaller ones.

    This area is protected from moist Pacific air moving over the mountains to the west however, low-pressure storms in Alberta pushing moisture eastward over the Alberta Plateaus to the east can result in extreme rain events. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invades this area by coming down the Interior Plains to the north can lay against the eastern margin and in the lower east-facing valleys and coupled with the short daylight hours these mountains can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. The cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forests grow only in the lower slopes of the Liard River canyon. Spruce-Willow-Birch forests and shrublands grow in the interior valleys and lower slopes. Alpine areas are extensive and consist of rugged Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine but vegetation is generally sparse and barren rock is common with elevation. Several large glaciers remain on the highest summits especially in the upper Tuchodi-Muskwa valleys.

    The only settlement here is at Mucho Lake. The Alaska Highway (No. 97) passes through from Summit Lake northwest to the Racing River and through Muncho Lake Park and the abandoned resource road up the Racing River are the only two vehicle access roads into this ecosection. This area came under intense scrutiny in the 1990’s and as a result, three large protected areas - Northern Rocky Mountains Park, Dune Za Keyih Protected Area, and Redfern-Kelly Park were established to add to the three existing large parks: Muncho Lake, Stone Mountain and Kwadacha Wilderness parks. In addition most of this area has been placed in the Muskwa – Kechika Wilderness Management Reserve that is under the control of a joint land use stewardship process.

  • MUF - Muskwa Foothills Ecosection
    This is an area of rounded, subdued mountains, which are isolated by wide valleys. However it is possible to divide this ecosection into an eastern subdued belt western and an inner belt that is higher and more rugged. These foothills are comprised of limestone, siltstones and sandstones that are folded and cut by southwesterly thrust faults. Glaciers moving down for the higher Muskwa Ranges to the east met with the Continental Ice Sheets from over the Alberta Plateau, when these ice sheets waned they provided and ice-free corridor along their western margin. The ecosection is opened to the east and is drained by the Halfway River in the south and the Sikanni Chief River north of that; then there are a series of rivers, the Nevis, Besa, Prophet rivers coalesce into the larger Prophet River; the Muskwa, Kluachesi, Gathto, Tuchodi and Chlotapecta, Chischa and Testa rivers and creeks that coalesce into the Muskwa River; while in the north the Dunedin flows into the Liard River. Kluachesi and Trimble are the only two large lakes, but there are some smaller ones and many streams and wetlands.

    This area is protected from moist Pacific air moving over the mountains to the west and can produce many rainshadows however, low-pressure storms in Alberta pushing moisture eastward over the Alberta Plateaus to the east can result in extreme rain events. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invades this area by coming down the Interior Plains to the north can lay against the eastern margin and in the lower east-facing valleys and coupled with the short daylight hours these mountains can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. The cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forests grow only in the lower east-facing valleys and lower slopes of the Liard River canyon. Spruce-Willow-Birch forests and shrublands are abundant in the valleys and lower to mid-elevation slopes. Alpine areas are small and scattered and consist of rugged Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine and the vegetation is lush and grass-rich; barren rock is common with elevation.

    The small community of Toad River is the only one in this ecosection. The Alaska Highway (No. 97) traverses the ecosection in the vicinity of the Tetsa River and from the Racing River to the western boundary of Muncho Lake Park. The Northern Rocky Mountain, Liard Corridor and Redfern-Kelly parks are the three largest protected areas in this ecosection; however, most of this area has been placed in the Muskwa – Kechika Wilderness Management Reserve that is under the control of a joint stewardship process in order to protect and manage the important wildlife and wilderness resources in this area.

  • RAP - Rabbit Plateau Ecosection
    This area is a rolling upland that is transitional between the higher and more rugged Eastern Muskwa Ranges to the east, and the lower, subdued Liard Plain to the north; the western boundary is formed by the Northern Rocky Mountain Trench. It is composed of folded sedimentary rocks that have been greatly eroded by glaciers moving north up the Rocky Mountain Trench or down the Muskwa ranges before moving into the Liard Basin. Glaciers left many drumlins and glacial deposits that have subsequently filled with small lakes, wetlands and muskeg. The main drainage in this ecosection is by the Rabbit River and its tributaries that flow northward into the Liard River; it is also drained by the Trout River in the east and the Gataga River in the south. Long Mountain and Netson are the only two large lakes.

    This area has some large rainshadows as it is protected from moist Pacific air moving over the mountains to the west and from low-pressure storms in Alberta pushing moisture eastward over the Muskwa Ranges. In the summer surface heating of the many water bodies creates convective currents bringing localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invade this area by coming over the low Hyland Highland and Liard Plain to the north and coupled with the short daylight hours these mountains can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. The cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forests grow only in the wider Rabbit River valley. Spruce-Willow-Birch forests and shrublands grow dominate the uplands. Alpine areas are uncommon and occur on only the few highest ridges.

    There are no roads or settlements in this ecosection. A small portion of Denetiah and Dune Za Keyih parks have been established in the lower Gataga River and adjacent Kechika River Trench, in the south of this ecosection.

  • WMR - Western Muskwa Ranges Ecosection
    This is an area of deep, narrow valleys and rugged mountains that lies west of the higher Eastern Muskwa Ranges and east of the Northern Rocky Mountain Trench. These are composed of primarily limestone rocks that have been trust up during the first major mountain building episode on western North America 200 million years ago. Glaciers moved down these mountains into the Rocky Mountain Trench in the north half it move northward down the Gataga Valley and Kechika Trench onto the Liard Basin, while in the southern half it moved southward down the Finlay Trench and through the Peace Canyon to the Alberta Plateau. This ecosection is drained to the north by the southern portion of the Gataga watershed and the eastern portion of the upper Kechika watershed and to the south by the McCook, Weissener, Kwadacha, Paul, Del Akie and Pesika rivers and creeks. Weissener, Quentin, Haworth and Chesterfield are the largest lakes here.

    This area has a cold, wet climate caused by easterly flowing Pacific air rising over the Muskwa Ranges, it can easily pass through the low ranges between the Stikine and Finlay valleys bringing heavy rainfall or snow. As well low-pressure storms in Alberta pushing moisture eastward over the Alberta Plateaus to the east can enter through low mountain passes. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invades this area by coming down the Interior Plains to the east come down the Rocky Mountain Trench or over the mountains to the east and when coupled with the short daylight hours these mountains can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. The cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forests grow in the lower west-facing valleys. Cold Spruce-Willow-Birch forests grow in the mid-elevation slopes and interior valleys. Alpine areas are extensive in the north along the higher areas to the east but vegetation is generally sparse and barren rock is common with elevation.

    There are no settlements here. This area is unroaded, although industrial roads for logging and mining occur in areas to the south and in the Rocky Mountain Trench as far as Ware. The southeastern portion of the Dune Za Keyih Park occurs in the north in the Gataga Watershed and adjacent Kechika River Trench; and the western half of the Kwadacha Wilderness Park occurs in the central portion of this ecosection.

PEM - Pelly Mountains Ecoregion
This ecoregion is a rolling upland dominated by the Spruce – Willow – Birch Zone, of mainly treeless shrubs, in the valleys and lower slopes, and extensive areas of the Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine zone on the mid to upper slopes. It consists of granitic rocks that have intruded into folded sedimentary and volcanic rocks. It extends north from the low Stikine Upland into the Yukon and as far north as the Tintina Trench from It was heavy heavily glaciated with glaciers originating on the crest and then moving westward across the Stikine Plateau; eastward across the Liard Basin; and northward to the Yukon River Basin. The Alaska Highway passes in the east from the Yukon into British Columbia. In British Columbia this ecoregion contains only one ecosection.

  • TUR - Tuya Range Ecosection
    This is a rolling rounded upland with narrow valleys composed of granitic rocks, including the Cassiar batholith that have intruded into folded sedimentary and volcanic rocks. Glaciers originating in this range moved to the west across the Stikine Plateau and lowlands and to the east across the Liard Basin. This ecosection occurs mainly in British Columbia and entering into the Yukon only along the Rancheria – Smart valleys. In British Columbia the Rancheria, and Cottonwood Rivers flow eastward eventually to the Liard River; and in the west the Jennings and Swift Rivers flow into Teslin Lake. Swan, Tootsee, Jennings, Klinkit, Alec Chief and Kedahda are six of the largest lakes, but there are many smaller ones, wetlands and meandering streams.

    This area receives moist Pacific air moving over the mountains to the west. In the summer surface heating of the many water bodies creates convective currents bringing localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invades this area by coming down over the mountains of the Yukon and coupled with the short daylight hours these mountains can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. The cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forests grow only in the wider Rancheria valley and a few of the other deeper valleys. Spruce-Willow-Birch shrublands dominate the uplands. Alpine areas are extensive and consists lush and grass-rich Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine; barren rock is common with elevation.

    There are no communities in this ecosection. The Alaska Highway (No. 1 in the Yukon) passes east west along the Rancheria – Swift – Morley river valleys. Tuya Mountains Park, in the south, lies mainly in this ecosection, it is the only protected area to be established here.

STE- St. Elias Mountains Ecoregion
This ecoregion is a rugged, bold, ice-capped mountain area lying to the leeward of the Alsek and Icefield Ranges. The highest mountains in Canada occur here. These mountains lie in the curve of the Gulf of Alaska and abruptly rise to great height. These mountains are protected somewhat from Pacific air masses, but that air can invade through the wide Alsek River Valley bringing considerable moisture here. Cold Arctic air can also moved down across the Yukon to stall against these mountains bringing intense cold and heavy snowfalls. It extends northward, east of the Duke Depression, Shakwak Trench and Wellesley Depression across the extreme northwestern B.C., extreme southeastern Yukon into Alaska. In British Columbia it is represented by only one ecosection.

  • KLR - Kluane Ranges Ecosection
    This ecosection represents the eastern or leeward mountains of the higher Chugach Mountains and the Icefield Ranges Ecoregion to the south and west. Glaciers that built up on the higher mountains to the west moved down over this ecosection to the highlands and lower valleys in the Yukon, or those glaciers moved down the Alsek River valley to the Continental Shelf. The serrate peaks have been sculpted by cirque action and the Alsek River valley has been greatly modified by glacial action. While not as formidable as those mountains, the Kluane Ranges are still rugged and glacier-filled. In the Alsek River and its tributary the lower Tatshenshini River drain the southeastern segment of this ecosection in B.C. and the Yukon; the northern segment in the Yukon is drained by the White and Donjek rivers. There are no large lakes here.

    These mountains are protected somewhat from Pacific air masses, but that air can invade through the wide Alsek River Valley bringing considerable moisture here, although there are some areas in rainshadows particularly in the Yukon.. Cold Arctic air can also moved down across the Yukon to stall against these mountains bringing long periods of intense cold and heavy snowfalls. Boreal White and Black Spruce forests occur only in the Alsek and Tatshenshini river valleys above those valleys there is a narrow fringe the shrubby Spruce –Willow-Birch. This area is dominated by alpine that has a small fringe of vegetation at it lower levels that quickly gives way to barren rock and glaciers.

    There are no roads or settlements in this ecosection. In British Columbia it is entirely protected by the Tatshinshini – Alsek Park, in the Yukon it is protected by the Kluane National Park.

YSL - Yukon Southern Lakes Ecoregion
This ecoregion is a gently rolling upland, with isolated mountains separated by wide valleys. This area was heavily glaciated by glaciers moving northward off the Boundary Ranges to the southwest that coalesced with glaciers from the Skeena Mountains that moved northward. It extends northward into the southern Yukon up the Nisutlin River Valley and as far north down the Yukon River to Lake Laberge. Many large lakes occur here. The Boreal White and Black spruce Zone occurs in the valleys, with the Spruce – Willow Birch on the mid- slopes and Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine zone on the upper slopes. In British Columbia it is represented by three ecosections

  • TEB - Teslin Basin Ecosection
    This ecosection is a large wide, glaciated basin that is lower than the surrounding mountains and plateaus. It was heavily glaciated by northern moving glaciers that left great quantities of debris as eskers, drumlins and lake-filled kettles, muskeg and wetlands. In British Columbia, isolated ridges and rolling uplands occur along the margins. This ecosection extends northward from the higher Stikine Plateau to the south into the Yukon as far north as the north end of Teslin Lake In British Columbia this ecosection is drained by the Teslin River in the south; Gladys River in the west; and, Jennings and Swift rivers in the east; they all flow into Teslin Lake which ultimately drains north into the Yukon River. Teslin Lake is the largest and only third of it occurs in B.C. and the remainder, including Nisutlin Bay, is in the Yukon, In B.C. Gladys and Hall lakes are located west of Teslin Lake; in the Yukon Morley Lake is located on the east side of Teslin Lake.

    This area receives moist Pacific air moving over the mountains to the west. and in the summer surface heating of the many water bodies creates convective currents bringing localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invades this area by coming down over the mountains of the Yukon and coupled with the short daylight hours this basin can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. The cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forests are dominate this lowland black spruce grows commonly around wetlands and muskeg and white spruce grows on the deeper alluvial soils;. Spruce-Willow-Birch shrublands occur only on some of the higher ridges.

     The First Nations community of Teslin, the only community in this ecosection, is located on the eastern shore of Teslin Lake in the Yukon. The Alaska Highway (No. 7 in the Yukon) runs through British Columbia into the Yukon along the Morley River. Only one protected area, Charlie Cole Creek Ecological Reserve, has been established in British Columbia.

  • TEP - Teslin Plateau Ecosection
    This ecosection consists of a rolling plateau, with rounded ridges and mountains. It was heavily glaciated by northward moving glaciers that moved off the adjacent Boundary Ranges; they left great quantities of debris as eskers, drumlins and lake-filled kettles, muskeg and wetlands. In British this ecosection extends northward from the higher Tagish Highlands to the south into the Yukon as far north as Marsh and Little Atlin lakes. The main drainage in this ecosection is from the large lakes - Atlin, Tagish, Tutshi and Bennett north via interconnecting waterways to the Yukon River; drainage also occurs to the pacific via the Taku-Nakina River. It has several large lakes, including Atlin Lake, the largest lake in B.C. Tagish, Tutshi and Surprise lakes in B.C. and Lower Bennett Lake and the Taku Arm of Atlin Lake in the Yukon..

    There are strong rainshadows throughout this area but it can receive moist Pacific air moving over the mountains to the west and in the summer surface heating of the many water bodies creates convective currents bringing localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invades this area by coming down over the mountains of the Yukon and coupled with the short daylight hours this basin can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. The cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forests are dominate this lowlands and wide valleys, black spruce grows commonly around wetlands and muskeg and white spruce grows on the deeper alluvial soils;. Spruce-Willow-Birch shrublands occur on the mid-elevation slopes while herb rich Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine on the upper ridges.

    The only community in this ecosection, Atlin, is serviced by the Atlin Road (No. 7 Yukon) to Jakes Corner in the Yukon and the Alaska Highway (No. 1) and the South Klondike Highway (No. 2) connecting Skagway, Carcross and Whitehorse passes along the western shore of Tutshi Lake and River. Placer mining is extensive, especially to the east and southeast of Atlin, with several roads built to provide access. The northern, lake portion of Atlin Park, is the only protected area here.

  • WHU - Whitehorse Upland Ecosection
    This ecosection consists of a rolling plateau, with rounded ridges. It occurs mostly in the Yukon Territory. The small British Columbia portion is a wide valley with rolling uplands and extensive wetlands. It extends from Gladys Lake in B.C. north to Takhini River valley, Lake Laberge and the Teslin River. It was heavily glaciated by northward moving glaciers that moved off the adjacent Boundary Ranges; they left great quantities of debris as eskers, drumlins and lake-filled kettles, muskeg and wetlands. This ecosection is drained by the Gladys River in B.C. and by the Teslin, upper Yukon and Takhini rivers, all rivers here flow northward into the Yukon River. The western end of Gladys Lake is the only large lake in B.C., Marsh and Laberge lakes are the two largest in the Yukon. There are many small lakes, wetlands and muskegs in this ecosection.

    There are strong rainshadows throughout this area but it can receive moist Pacific air moving over the mountains to the west and in the summer surface heating of the many water bodies creates convective currents bringing localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invades this area by coming down over the mountains of the Yukon and coupled with the short daylight hours this basin can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. The cold Boreal White and Black Spruce forests are occur throughout lowlands and wide valleys, black spruce grows commonly around wetlands and muskeg and white spruce grows on the deeper alluvial soils;. Spruce-Willow-Birch shrublands occur on the mid-elevation slopes while herb rich Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine on only the higher ridges.

    There are no settlements in British Columbia; Jakes Corner and Johnson Crossing are located in the Yukon. The highways are all located in the Yukon and include: the Alaska Highway (No.1), crosses the ecosection from Teslin Lake to Whitehorse and then up the Takhini valley to Haines Junction, the South Klondike Highway (No. 2) connects Whitehorse with Carcross and the North Klondike Highway (No. 2) and the Atlin Road (No. 7) is located from Jakes Corner to Atlin. There are no protected areas in the British Columbia portion of this ecosection.

YSH - Yukon-Stikine Highlands Ecoregion
This ecoregion is a transitional mountain area lying east of the rugged Coastal Mountains and the subdued plateaus to the east. This area was heavily glaciated by glaciers moving off the Boundary Ranges over this ecosection onto the plateaus and lowlands of the northern interior of British Columbia. This ecoregion lies mainly in British Columbia, with only the northwestern upland entering the Yukon from Atlin Lake west to the Kluane Ranges. The rugged Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine occurs on the summits and is very extensive in the northwest portion. The lower slopes are mainly dominated by the Spruce-Willow-Birch Zone, but the moist Sub-Boreal Spruce zone can occur in the southern valleys, while Engelmann Spruce – Subalpine Fir zone occurs on the lower slopes and in the northeastern valleys. This ecoregion consists of four ecosections.

  • STH - Stikine Highland Ecosection
    This is a rugged mountain and plateau area leeward of the rugged Boundary Ranges. It is comprised of extensive volcanic deposits over some of the coastal granitic rocks. Deep erosion has occurred in the Mess Creek and Stikine River valley as it enters the Coast Mountains. Glaciation was heavy with glaciers moving off the Boundary Ranges over these highlands to enter into the northern interior plateaus, resulting in rounded summits and ridges and cirque erosion of the higher summits. In the southern portion this ecosection is drained by the Stikine River and its tributaries the Tahltan River that flows eastward and by Mess Creek that flows northward into the Stikine in the northern portion this area is drained by the watershed of the upper Sheslay River. Yehiniko Lake is the largest one here.

    This area has some large rainshadows as some of the large north-facing valleys are protected from moist Pacific air moving over the Coast Mountains in the west by the surrounding uplands and mountains. But moist Pacific air can arrive up the wide Stikine valley bringing considerable moisture to the valley. In the summer surface heating of the many water bodies creates convective currents bringing localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invade this area by coming south over lowland and rolling upland from the Yukon Territory to the north and coupled with the short daylight hours these mountains can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. Transitional forests of the Sub-Boreal Spruce occur in the Stikine valley and the east-facing valleys and lower slopes and at higher elevations cold, moist Engelmann Spruce – Subalpine Fir forests grow. The northeastern upland is has Spruce – Willow – Birch shrublands; Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine barrens occurs on all the higher ridges and summits, with lush vegetation giving way to barren rock, and between upper Mess Creek and the Stikine large glaciers occupy the summits.

    The only settlement in B.C. is Glenora, located on the banks of the Stikine River at the eastern edge of this ecosection. There is only the Industrial road for the Golden Bear Mine here. The western edge of Mount Edziza Park occurs in the Mess Creek valley.

  • TAG - Tagish Highland Ecosection
    This ecosection is a rugged transitional mountain area, situated to the east and north of the Boundary Ranges and to the west of the Teslin Plateau. It is located equally in British Columbia and the Yukon between Tutshi and Kusawa lakes. This area is comprised of extensive volcanic deposits over some of the coastal granitic rocks. Glaciation was heavy with glaciers moving off the Boundary Ranges over these highlands to enter into the northern interior plateaus, resulting in rounded summits and ridges and cirque erosion of the higher summits. The streams all drain to the north into the Yukon River, and include: the Takhini, Primrose Partridge, Homan, Tutshi, and Swanson rivers. There are several large lakes, including: Nelson, Fantali, Lindeman, Homan and Partridge lakes are located in B.C.; Bennett Lake starts in B.C. but the largest area in is the Yukon; and Fish, Primrose, and Rose lakes are large lakes that occur in the Yukon.

    This area has some large rainshadows as some of the large north-facing valleys are protected from moist Pacific air moving over the Coast Mountains in the west and south by the surrounding uplands and mountains. But moist Pacific air can arrive up Skagway valley bringing considerable moisture to areas that are adjacent to that valley. In the summer surface heating of the many water bodies creates convective currents bringing localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invade this area by coming south over lowland and rolling upland from the Yukon Territory to the north and coupled with the short daylight hours these mountains can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. Transitional forests of the Sub-Boreal Spruce occur in the valleys facing eastward to Atlin Lake and as far north as Bennett Lake; at slightly higher elevations cold, moist Engelmann Spruce – Subalpine Fir forests grow. Those forests give way to Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine barrens occurs on all the mid-higher ridges and summits, with lush vegetation grown nearer to the tree line and barren rock dominating the upper slopes and mountains. Whereas in the Yukon those transitional forests give way to extensive Spruce – Willow – Birch shrublands. Many snowfields and large glaciers remain on the summits along the western boundary with the Boundary Ranges.

    There are no communities in either the British Columbia or the Yukon in this ecosection. The South Klondike Highway (No. 2) passes through this ecosection along the western shore of Tutshi Lake and River, connecting Whitehorse with Carcross and Skagway. Mineral exploration has been extensive in the Yukon. The middle portion of Atlin Park the only protected area here, is located in this ecosection.

  • THH - Tahltan Highland Ecosection
    This ecosection is a transitional mountain area with a complex drainage system. This area is comprised of extensive volcanic deposits over some of the coastal granitic rocks. Glaciation was heavy with glaciers moving off the Boundary Ranges over these highlands to enter into the northern interior plateaus, resulting in rounded summits and ridges and cirque erosion of the higher summits; some glaciers moved down the Taku River valley to the coast. The streams all drain to the west by the Taku River and its watershed streams, which flow into fjords leading to Stephens Passage in Alaska. The Sheslay, Sutlahine, also drains the area with streams that flow into the Inklin River before joining the Taku. The Nakonake, Stoko, and Horsefeed streams join the upper Taku River, called the Nakina above the mouth of the Inklin. The Tulsequah Glacier flows into the Taku. The lower portion of the Llewellyn Glacier, just above Atlin Lake occurs here; Tatsameninie Lake the only large lake here is located in the south

    This area has some large rainshadows as some of the large north-facing valleys are protected from moist Pacific air moving over the Coast Mountains in the west and south by the surrounding uplands and mountains. But moist Pacific air can arrive up the wide Taku valley bringing considerable moisture to that valley which helps to moderate the temperatures in the winter. In the summer surface heating of the many water bodies creates convective currents bringing localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invade this area by coming south over lowland and rolling upland from the Yukon Territory to the north and coupled with the short daylight hours these mountains can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. Transitional forests of the Sub-Boreal Spruce occur in the upper Taku valley and the east-facing valleys as far north as Bennett Lake; at slightly higher elevations cold, moist Engelmann Spruce – Subalpine Fir forests grow. Those forests give way to Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine barrens occurs on all the mid-higher ridges and summits, with lush vegetation grown nearer to the tree line and barren rock dominating the upper slopes and mountains. Many snowfield and large glaciers remain on the summits along the western boundary with the Boundary Ranges.

    There are no settlements here. Although this is an area of wilderness, mining claims on the lower Tulsequah and elsewhere have been staked. The southernmost portion of Atlin Park has been established in this ecosection.

  • TAB - Tatshenshini Basin Ecosection
    This ecosection is a rugged transitional mountain area, situated to the north of the Boundary Ranges and to the east of the rugged St. Elias Ranges. It is located equally in British Columbia and the Yukon between Kusawa Lake and River and the rugged Kluane Ranges. This area is comprised of extensive volcanic deposits over some of the coastal granitic rocks. Glaciation was heavy with glaciers moving off the Boundary Ranges and St. Elias Mountains over these highlands to enter into the northern interior plateaus, other they passed down tot eh coast via the lower Alsek River valley resulting in rounded summits and ridges and cirque erosion of the higher summits. The Kusawa River drain to the northeast into the Yukon River; The Tatshenshini River starts in B.C. flows north into the Yukon before turning south back into B.C. to join the Alsek River before it passes in to Alaska; and the small Kelsall River flows south into Alaska and the Chilkat River. Kelsall Lake is the largest in B.C. while Kusawa, Bates and Mush lakes are the largest in the Yukon.

    In spite of its close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, this area has a typically northern boreal climate. It has some large rainshadows as some of the large north-facing valleys are protected from moist Pacific air moving over the Coast Mountains in the west and south by the surrounding uplands and mountains. But moist Pacific air can easily arrive up the wide Alsek and Tatshenshini valleys bringing considerable moisture to that valley which helps to moderate the temperatures in the winter. In the summer surface heating of the many water bodies creates convective currents bringing localized showers, high humidity and cumulus clouds. In the winter and early spring, dense, cold Arctic air can invade this area by coming south over lowland and rolling upland from the Yukon Territory to the north and coupled with the short daylight hours these mountains can have extremely cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover for extended periods. Cold, Moist Boreal White and Black Spruce forest of white spruce and lodgepole pine dominate the wide Tatshenshini valley from its lower reaches until it turns back and enters B.C. again in the north, where those forests end. Those forests give way to extensive Spruce-Willow-Birch shrublands on all the interior valleys and then Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine barrens occupy on all the mid-higher ridges and summits, with lush vegetation grown nearer to the tree line and barren rock occurring on the upper slopes and mountains. Many snowfield and large glaciers remain on the summits along the western boundary with the Boundary Ranges and in the mountains between the upper Parton and O’Connor rivers.

    There are no settlements in British Columbia, a First Nations community occurs at Klukshu in the Yukon Territory. The Haines Highway (No. 7 in BC and 3 in the Yukon) passes through from Haines, Alaska to Haines Junction, Yukon, and the southward portion of the Tatshenshini is popular with river rafters. The western three quarters of this area in British Columbia is protected by the Tatshenshini – Alsek Park, and the western three quarters in the Yukon is protected by Kluane National Park.