Blackwater River

The Blackwater River originates in the Ilgachuz Range northwest of Quesnel in central British Columbia. It drains an area of approximately 12,000 square kilometres of varied topography, cutting a deep valley above Tsacha Lake. Below the lake, the Blackwater carves through black volcanic rock, creating a series of spectacular rapids and canyons. The river drops over 900 metres during the 280 km course to its confluence with the Fraser River.

The basin is a mixture of grassland and light forest consisting mostly of lodgepole pine, aspen, willow and Douglas-fir. Although little settlement is present, much of the river course is accessible due to forestry and, to a lesser extent, mineral exploration and development. Recreational use is widespread, including a wide variety of summer and winter activities: fishing, hunting, canoeing, snowmobiling, camping, and boating.

Of particular significance is the long history of use by the Southern Carrier First Nations. Their "Grease Trail" mostly parallels the north side of the river and has been used as a trade route with coastal natives for centuries. The European explorer Alexander Mackenzie was guided on this trail on his journey west to the Pacific Ocean in 1793.

A significant level of local planning has been carried out in the river corridor. Local Resource Use Plans have been prepared in both the upper and lower regions and a management plan is in place for the Grease Trail. These land use directions have been incorporated into the approved Cariboo/Chilcotin Land Use Plan.

Proclaimed B.C. Rivers: