Posted by: cherylyoung | January 30, 2010

Fort Nelson also known as the Northeast Serengeti of North America

Fort Nelson, BC, on the Alaska Highway

 Situated at Mile 300 on the Alaska Highway,

 Fort Nelson is a major town and stopover destination

 for travellers leaving British Columbia for the Yukon

and Alaska  beyond.

 

 Fort Nelson is located at the junction of the Muskwa,

Prophet, and Sikanni Chief Rivers, which meet to

create the Fort Nelson River.

 

 Named after Admiral Nelson, the original

settlement in  Fort Nelson was a North West

Company fur trading post,established in 1805.

Fort Nelson’s economy was once based on the fur

 trade, but the modern thriving community of today

 relies heavily on lumber and natural gas as the

mainstay of its economy, with an increasing emphasis

 on transportation and tourism.

 

 It is almost impossible not to observe wildlife as you

travel through the Northeast, the so-called

Serengeti of  North America.

 

 The area’s spectacular wildlife fauna consists of eight

 species of ungulates, namely Stone Sheep, mountain

 goats,bison, moose, elk, caribou, and white-tailed

and mule deer; plus at least seven species of

medium-sized carnivores including wolves, coyotes,

 foxes, grizzly bears, black bears,  lynx and

wolverines.

 

 Deer, moose, bears, and elk frequent clearings

alongside roads, foraging for food.

 In some areas, salt licks have been placed near

 the road to attract ungulates.

Be careful when driving these roads, especially at

night; if you were to hit a moose, the chances are

 good that your vehicle would come out of the

 encounter  in worse shape than the moose. Honest.

 

Back when the Alaska Highway was still a gravel

 road, the small roadside stations were the essence

 of life and travel along this long and lonely highway,

and they still remain invaluable to the weary

traveller today.

 

 Fort Nelson epitomizes the small town community

spirit and legendary hospitality of the North,

both from its everyday welcome to you, and through

 its much appreciated Welcome Visitor program,

offered several evenings a week during the summer.

 

 Fort Nelson sits at the gateway to the immense

 wilderness  of the Rocky Mountains, the Yukon,

Northwest Territories and Alaska, and is fast

becoming known as an eco-adventure  destination,

offering the true outdoor enthusiast some of the

 most pristine areas in this part of  the province.

 

 Population: 4,871

 Fort Nelson is located in the northeast corner

of  the province on the Alaska Highway 97,

 242 miles northeast of Fort St. John.

 

Located in the lee of the Rocky Mountains, Fort

Nelson is surrounded by the Muskwa, Fort Nelson

and Prophet rivers.

 

  Fort Nelson Heritage Museum Fort Nelson, British

Columbia Pioneer artifacts, full-length animal

 displays and a display on the Alaska Highway

construction can be viewed  at the Fort Nelson

Heritage Museum, located across the Alaska Highway

from the Recreation Centre.

Be sure to stop at BC’s most northern traffic light, a

pedestrian crossing on the Alaska Highway.

 

The Muskwa Bridge, south of Fort Nelson at Mile 281,

 is the lowest point on the Alaska Highway, at 1,000 feet.

 

The Summit at Mile 374 is the highest point on the

highway,  at 4,250 feet.

 

 The Contract Creek Bridge at Mile 588 on the Alaska

 Highway marks the point where the construction

crews met when building the section of the highway

west from Fort Nelson and east from Whitehorse.

 

Enjoy the views of the Muskwa River Valley and the

 Rocky Mountains from the summit of Steamboat

 Mountain (3,500 feet), at Mile 334, named because

 of its resemblance to a steamship.

 

Take a summer dip in the lake at Andy Bailey

Provincial Recreation Area, a popular playground

 for locals all year  round.

 

 Vehicle/tent campsites are offered in the park,

 accessed  by a 12-km gravel road off the Alaska

Highway, 27 km south of Fort Nelson.

 

 In winter, break out the cross-country skis or the

toboggan, as the area has some of the driest, fluffiest

powder snow in the province, and there’s hardly

anyone to share it with.

 

 Cut your own track here!

 

 There are several provincial parks in the Northern

 Rockies Regional District, including Stone Mountain

Provincial Park, Muncho Lake Provincial Park

 and Liard  River Provincial Park.

 

 Wildlife is found in abundance in this scenic

region, with many close and frequent sightings of

elk, moose, and bears.

 

Bald eagles soar up above, while goshawks, great

horned owls and peregrine falcons are also sighted.

 

One of the most exposed campgrounds in the

province, and also one of the most beautifully

 situated, is the

 Summit Lake Provincial Campground in Stone

MountainProvincial Park, 140 km west of

Fort Nelson.

 

All sites sit within open view of each other, the

highway, and the surrounding smooth summits of

the Stone  Mountain Range.

 

Much of the park lies in the alpine tundra

biogeoclimatic  zone, which means that trees are

 scarce and mountains of  solid rock reach skyward.

 

Surviving plant life is pretty much limited to lichen,

 grasses and moss.

 

 The contrast with the rolling, tree-covered foothills

further  south is startling.

 

 The campground is located just north of the highest

 point on elevation on the highway, and also just

 north of  one of the last remaining sections of

unpaved highways.

If travelling north, this is a good place to pull out

 and relax.

 

 If you’re here around sunset, the sight of the Stone

 Mountains reflected on Summit Lake’s surface is

 mesmerizing.

 

 Hikers can plan a 7 to 14 day loop through the

 headwaters of MacDonald Creek and the adjacent

 Wokkpash Recreational Area.

 

 An endless choice of activities takes you away from the

 rush of modern living.

 

The area is a world-class destination for wildlife

viewing, photography, backpacking, wilderness

 canoeing and kayaking,  trail riding, river boating

and a myriad of other outdoor activities.

And the Fort Nelson region is famous for specialty

 tourism markets such as fly-in fishing, offering

 some of the most spectacular sceneryand abundance

of wildlife in North America.

 

 Recreation in Northern BC. The jewel of this area is

 Kwadacha Wilderness Provincial Park.

 

 There are so many truly immense wilderness areas in

northern British Columbia, that at 158,000 hectares,

 Kwadacha seems modest compared to Spatsizi

Plateau, Mount Edziza or Tweedsmuir.

 

However, this park’s Lloyd George Icefield is the

 largest  icefield in the Rocky Mountains north of the

54th parallel.

 

There is no access by road into the park; it must be

reached by air or on horseback.

 

 It’s about 150 km of backpacking just to make it to the

 park from the highway, with many treacherous river

 crossings: allow 12 to 14 days.

 

Trails within this park arenot maintained, and only

experienced backpackers should venture here.

 

This is beautiful but unforgiving country.

 

 Canoeists can put in at Fort Nelson and paddle.

 

 Or if you’re looking for an unforgettable wilderness

adventure with stunning scenery, moderate white

water and a land teeming with wildlife why not try

 a rafting expedition.

 

Visit the Liard Hot Springs, where you can enjoy a

year-round soak in a natural setting and where one of

 the world’s unique ecosystems thrives.

 

See some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring

 terrain  in the world on one of the many hikes right

 off the Alaska Highway or trek into the back country

 with one of the  region’s experienced guides.

 

 These back country hosts offer safe, quality packaged

experienes on horseback, river raft, riverboat, float

plane  or by foot.

 

Golf: The Poplar Hills Golf & Country Club is a public

9 hole facility located high above the Muskwa Valley.

 

The course terrain offers challenging play against a

backdrop of dazzling panoramic views of the

Northern Rockies.

 

 Facilities include a driving range, grass greens, pro

 shop, club and power cart rentals, concession

 and lounge.

 

 Golf Vacations in British Columbia

 

Alaska Highway (Hwy 97) near Fort Nelson, BC

The drive from Fort Nelson to the Yukon Territory is

approximately 320 miles (512 km).

 

It rises steadily from the vast land of muskeg and

boreal  forest to Steamboat Mountain, where the

 highway leads right into the Northern Rocky

Mountains.

 

From that point on, the Rockies accompany you,

offering both the wide-open mountainscapes of

craggy peaks and up-close views where the rugged

 rock flanks the highway.

 

 While travelling the Alaska Highway is an adventure

in  itself, full of nooks and crannies and interesting

side trips, there’s more to the Northern Rockies

 than what  you can see from the roadside.

 

 For the curious and outdoor enthusiast who really

wants  to capture the energy of the land, there are

wonderful  opportunities either guided or self-guided –

immerseyourself  in the awe and majesty that

 surrounds you.

 

 See the best of Northern BC on the Circle Tour of

Northern British Columbia.

 

 From Prince George, travel north through the Rocky

 Mountain foothills via the Alaska Highway to Watson

 Lake  in the Yukon, before heading south again on the

 Stewart/Cassiar Highway.

 

The wildlife population in this vast and remote territory

 is so prolific that this portion of the Northern Rockies

 has  been dubbed the Serengeti of North America.

 

Circle Tours in British Columbia.

This Blog is brought to you courtesy of

CHERYL YOUNG, REALTOR,

SAANICH PENINSULA REALTY

SIDNEY  B.C

www.cherylyoung.ca  upstairs

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