High in the
coastal mountains of northwestern
British Columbia, at the edge of the
Spasizi Plateau, the Skeena River
begins its 570 kilometre run to the
Pacific. Draining a total area of
54,400 square kilometres, the Skeena
is the second largest river in the
province, and one of the longest un-dammed
rivers in the world.
Despite remote routes and
rugged terrain, legendary
Hazelton pack train operator
failed to deliver on a freight
trout migrate up the Skeena
river year-round, in one
of the largest runs of wild
steelhead in the world.
Fast and furious
at its outset, the river is virtually
un-navigable in its uppermost reaches.
Though it broadens and slows on its
way to the ocean port of Prince Rupert,
its currents remain strong. To the
straining canoe brigades and riverboats
that once pushed their way inland
to the trading hub of Hazelton, even
the lower Skeena commanded respect.
But swift, cold waters mean big, healthy
fish, and the Skeena is full of them
- up to 5 million spawning salmon
a year, and one of the largest runs
of wild steelhead on the planet. In
places like Terrace, sport fishing
and eco-tourism now supplement logging
and mining as mainstays of the economy.
For the soul of the Skeena, look to
the totem carvings of 'Ksan, Kispiox
and Kitwancool. Listen to the songs
and drumbeats of the Giselau and the
Gitskan. Marvel at the artistic genius
of the Tsmishian, ancient people of
the "River of Mists."