This area is of great interest to geologists. The formations of the Akamina-Kishinena are made of the oldest exposed rock in the Canadian Rockies. The shore of Forum Lake is paved with colourful limestone estimated to be 1.3 billion years old. Remnants of oil rigs first hauled into camps on winter trails in 1905 are still visible. No economically significant wells were drilled, nor did any of the mining claims staked in the 1950s and 1960s prove viable. Other resources were explored by trappers and hunters, and a small saw mill operated at Akamina Creek. The spectacular southeast corner of the province was recommended for preservation as early as 1917. In 1995, Akamina-Kishinena became a class A provincial park.
Cairns trace the paths of the Ktunaxa Indigenous people. They travelled through South Kootenay Pass to reach the plains for trading and buffalo hunting.
Weather fronts from the Pacific meet arctic and prairie influences to intermingle at this axis. They create a diversity of plant species, including rare species like the yellow monkey flower and pigmy poppy, that are found nowhere else in British Columbia.