Kechika River

The Kechika River watershed remains one of British Columbia's finest examples of wilderness and undisturbed wildlife habitat. Over its 230 kilometre length, the Kechika River drops approximately 610 metres in elevation and drains a total area of close to 2,700 square kilometres. The river winds its way through an impressive wilderness area in the northern boreal mountains, including the Kechika Mountains, the Cassiar Ranges, Western Muskwa Ranges, and Liard Plains. Along with a number of waterfalls and lakes associated with the river, landscape features such as mineral licks can be found along its course.

Of international significance are the wildlife populations and ecosystems which flourish around and along the river. Characterized by large, open valleys and mountains with little forest cover, the area is home to an abundance of large mammals and other wildlife including moose, caribou, Stone sheep, mountain goat, grizzly and black bear, wolf, and elk. Not only is the river corridor pristine, but the valley as a whole remains largely free from roads, leaving the Kechika River as the largest remaining undisturbed watershed in British Columbia.

In the history of Euro-Canadians, the Kechika River was part of key trade and travel routes to the north used by Samuel Black and many others since. Of particular interest is the use by the North West Mounted Police in their exploration for a route from Edmonton to the Klondike in 1898. The area also has a significant history of mineral exploration based on extensive documented mineralization, although no mines have actually been developed in the Kechika valley. The river is part of the traditional territory of the Kaska Dene, who continue to draw on the resources of the watershed.

Recreational uses such as rafting, riverboating, trapping, and hunting are currently the primary land uses in the area. Tourism values of the river are already a central interest for numerous groups, and improved access is currently under discussion.

The Kechika River was identified as part of British Columbia's land and resource management planning processes (LRMP) for special protection of its natural, cultural heritage and recreation values. The entire Kechika River drainage lies within the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area, an area regulated under its own Statute and adminstrative structures. Being an important part of the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area means that the river's special attributes will be carefully and fully considered in all subsequent land use activities.

Portions of the Kechika River have now been designated as provincial protected area. The lower portions of the river have been identified as a special resource management zone, with particular commitments to protection of visual qualities, protection of wildlife habitat, and the sustained opportunities for recreation. Management planning for the protected area portion of the Kechika River drainage has not been started

Proclaimed B.C. Rivers: