The Bridge River is an 120 kilometres long river in southern British Columbia. It flows south-east from the Coast Mountains. Up until 1961, it was a major tributary of the Fraser River, entering that stream about six miles upstream from the town of Lillooet; the Bridge River hydroelectric complex, operated by BC Hydro, consists of three successive dams, providing water for four hydro power plants with the total rated power of total 492 megawatts. Its name in the Lillooet language is Xwisten, sometimes spelled Nxwisten or Nxo-isten). Dubbed Riviere du Font by Simon Fraser's exploring party in 1808, it was for a while known by the English version of that name, Fountain River, some old maps show it as Shaw's River, after the name of one of Fraser's men; the Bridge River Ocean, an ancient takes its name from the Bridge River. Upstream from Moha the now-dry riverbed runs through the immense gorge of the Bridge River Canyon, which lies downstream from Terzaghi Dam, the principal dam of the Bridge River Power Project.
Terzaghi Dam forms Carpenter Lake, the longest and largest of the power project's reservoirs at about 40 kilometres. Just upstream from Gold Bridge, at the upper end of Carpenter Lake, is Lajoie Dam, which forms Downton Lake, its confluence with the Fraser occurs at a double gorge formed by the two rivers, which are forced through narrow banks at this point and so reminiscent of a fountain (in another version of the name, the surname of one of Fraser's men was du Font, giving the location its name of the Lower Fountains (the Upper Fountains being another few miles upstream on the Fraser, today's community of Fountain The river came to be called the Bridge River due to the location of a bridge across the Fraser at this point a pole-structure built by the native St'at'imc people but replaced at the time of the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush in 1858 by a white-run tollbridge. Because of the diversion of the river to Seton Lake by Terzaghi Dam and tunnels through Mission Mountain, in that area the south flank of the Bridge, what Bridge River water enters the Fraser now is the flow of one of the Bridge's tributaries, the Yalakom River.
The Yalakom, whose name means'the ewe of the mountain sheep' in the Chilcotin language, was in old times known as the North Fork of the Bridge. The South Fork of the Bridge River is many miles upstream, at the community of Gold Bridge, is today known as the Hurley River. Several other large feeder streams contribute to the diverted flow of the Bridge, including Gun Creek, Tyaughton Creek, Marshall Creek, Cadwallader Creek. Bridge River Power Project harnesses the power of the Bridge River, by diverting it through a mountainside to the separate drainage basin of Seton Lake, utilizing a system of three dams, four powerhouses and a canal; the powerhouses have a maximum generating capacity of 480 MW and an average annual production of 2670 GWh. Development of the system began in 1927 and was completed in 1960; the waters pass through the Lajoie Dam and powerhouse and are diverted through tunnels and penstocks from Carpenter Reservoir to the two powerhouses on Seton Lake Reservoir. Due to the force of the rivers at the Bridge's original confluence into the Fraser, the area has been for millennia the most important inland salmon-fishing site on the Fraser.
The flow of the Bridge River, was near-completely diverted into Seton Lake with the completion of the Bridge River Power Project in 1961, with the water now entering the Fraser River just south of Lillooet as a result. The salmon fishery of the Bridge River was near-entirely destroyed by this diversion, it is along Cadwallader Creek that the major mines of the Bridge River goldfields are located at Bralorne and Pioneer Mine. Other mining towns and camps built around mines in the Bridge River goldfields were Minto City, Congress, Lajoie and Brexton. Around Bralorne other localities such as Ogden grew up along road right-of-ways and slips of land between the mineral claims which dominate the northwestern flank of the Bendor Range in this area, providing services not approved of by company towns, including "sporting houses", some of which were in Gold Bridge until forced to move to Minto as Gold Bridge became larger. Other gold-mining activity is found throughout the river's basin. During the 19th Century, large hydraulic mining operations lined the banks of the river for the thirty kilometres between the community of Moha, at the confluence of the Yalakom and the Bridge.
Gun Creek and Tyaughton Creek jointly drain the south flank of the protected wilderness area known as the Spruce Lake Protected Area, popularly known as the South Chilcotin although the area is not in the Chilcotin, which lies north of it, but in the Chilcotin Ranges. The official designation for the area has changed since it was first proposed for a park in the 1930s, due to the efforts of the prospecting and mining community in the goldfield towns; the protectionist vs. resource extraction battle over that area has raged since that time, names used in debates for the area have included the Charlie Cunningham Wilderness, the Spruce Lake-Eldorado Study Area, the Spruce Lake-Eldorado Management Planning Unit, Southern Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park, South Chilcotin Provincial Park. In 2007 the name was changed again to the Spruce Lake Protected Area, reflective of the government's downgrading
Placer mining is the mining of stream bed deposits for minerals. This may be done by various surface excavating equipment or tunnelling equipment. Placer mining is used for precious metal deposits and gemstones, both of which are found in alluvial deposits—deposits of sand and gravel in modern or ancient stream beds, or glacial deposits; the metal or gemstones, having been moved by stream flow from an original source such as a vein, are only a minuscule portion of the total deposit. Since gems and heavy metals like gold are denser than sand, they tend to accumulate at the base of placer deposits, it is important to note that placer deposits can be as young as a few years old, such as the Canadian Queen Charlotte beach gold placer deposits, or billions of years old like the Elliott Lake uranium paleoplacer within the Huronian Supergroup in Canada. The containing material in an alluvial placer mine may be too loose to safely mine by tunnelling, though it is possible where the ground is permanently frozen.
Where water under pressure is available, it may be used to mine and separate the precious material from the deposit, a method known as hydraulic mining, hydraulic sluicing or hydraulicking. The word placer derives from the Spanish placer, meaning shoal or alluvial/sand deposit, from Catalan placer, from plassa, from Medieval Latin placea the origin word for "place" and "plaza" in English; the word in Spanish is thus derived from placea and refers directly to an alluvial or glacial deposit of sand or gravel. Placers supplied most of the gold for a large part of the ancient world. Hydraulic mining methods such as hushing were used by the Romans across their empire, but in the gold fields of northern Spain after its conquest by Augustus in 25 BC. One of the largest sites was at Las Médulas, where seven 30 mile long aqueducts were used to work the alluvial gold deposits through the first century AD. In North America, placer mining was famous in the context of several gold rushes the California Gold Rush and the Colorado Gold Rush, the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush and the Klondike Gold Rush.
Placer mining continues in many areas of the world as a source of diamonds, industrial minerals and metals, platinum, of gold. An area well protected from the flow of water is a great location to find gold. Gold is dense and is found in a stream bed. Many different gold deposits are dealt with in different ways. Placer deposits attract many prospectors because their costs are low. There are many different places gold could be placed, such as a residual, a bench deposit. Residual deposits are more common where there has been weathering on rocks and where there hasn’t been water, they are deposits which have not been been moved. The residual lies at the site of the lode; this type of deposit undergoes rock weathering. Alluvial or eluvial deposits sometimes have the largest gold deposit and are common; this deposit is created when a force of nature moves or washes the gold away, but it doesn’t go into a stream bed. It contains pieces of ore. Alluvial deposits are the most common type of placer gold; this type of deposit occurs in valleys.
Bench deposits are created. Gold accumulations in an old stream bed that are high are called bench deposits, they can be found on higher slopes. Dry stream beds can be situated far from other water sources and can sometimes be found on mountain tops. Today, many miners focus their activities on bench deposits. A number of methods are used to mine placer gold and gems, both in terms of extracting the minerals from the ground, separating it from the non-gold or non-gems; the simplest technique to extract gold from placer ore is panning. This technique has been dated back to at least the Roman Empire. In panning, some mined ore is placed in a large metal or plastic pan, combined with a generous amount of water, agitated so that the gold particles, being of higher density than the other material, settle to the bottom of the pan; the lighter gangue material such as sand and gravel are washed over the side of the pan, leaving the gold behind. Once a placer deposit is located by gold panning, the miner shifts to equipment that can treat volumes of sand and gravel more and efficiently.
Gold panning was used on its own during the California gold rush, however it is now used for profit since an expert gold prospector can only process one cubic yard of material for every 10 hours of work. A rocker box is capable of greater volume than a gold pan, however its production is still limited when compared to other methods of placer mining, it is only capable of processing about 4 yards of gravel a day. It is more portable and requires less infrastructure than a sluice box, being fed not by a sluice but by hand; the box sits on rockers, which when rocked separates out the gold, the practice was referred to as "rocking the golden baby". A typical rocker box is 42 inches long, 16 inches wide and 12 inches long with a removable tray towards the top, where gold is placed; the rocker was used throughout North America during the early gold rush, but its popularity diminished as other meth
Spruce Lake Protected Area
The Spruce Lake Protected Area, was a 71,347-hectare Protected Area in the British Columbia provincial parks system 200 km north of Vancouver. The area had been the subject of an ongoing preservationist controversy since the 1930s. Known variously as the Southern Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park, Southern Chilcotins, as South Chilcotin Provincial Park. In 2007, its status as a provincial park was downgraded to protected area. Recreational activities included camping, cycling, swimming and hunting. There were walk-in wilderness camping sites. Wildlife in the protected area include California bighorn sheep and wolverine. In June 2010, Bill 15 - created the South Chilcotin Mountains Park, a "Class A" park of 56,796 hectares from Spruce Lake Protected Area; the remaining 14,550 hectares were set aside for tourism and mining, but commercial logging is still prohibited. The bill confirmed the implementation of the 2004 decision for mining/tourism zones in the Lillooet Land and Resource Management Plan area.
The area was designated as a protected area by the British Columbia provincial government in 2001, established as a Provincial Park by Minister of Water and Air Protection Minister Joyce Murray in 2004, with park boundaries including 70% of the protected area and limited resource extraction allowed in the remaining area on the protected area's periphery. The protected area designation resulted from the Lillooet Land and Resource Management Plan, in which local communities, environmental and resource interests were attempted to be addressed. Though it is not in the Chilcotin District proper, the area has been called the "South Chilcotins" since about 1980 when a group of conservationists started to promote the area for protection as a park; the South Chilcotin name is derived from its geographic position in the Chilcotin Ranges, into the Bridge River Country where the park is located. Bert Brink, one of British Columbia's most renowned naturalist, advocated for the conservation of this area for over sixty years and lived to see it become a park, before he died in 2007.
The protected area was located on the inland lea of the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains, on the north flank of the Bridge River Country and the Chilcotin Country to the north. It adjoined Big Creek Provincial Park and Ts'il?os Provincial Park, which border it on the north and northwest, respectively. Part of the larger subrange of the Pacific Ranges known as the Chilcotin Ranges, the area was protected in the 1990s after 60 years of debate and controversy, it was the object of a protracted quarrel between preservationists and resource development which first began in the 1930s when prospectors and guide-outfitters dedicated to its natural beauty proposed it for preservation status. Charlie Cunningham, whose career as a wildlife film-maker began in this area, was a driving force in the original movement for preservation; the Charlie Cunningham Wilderness proposal was revised in the 1970s as the Spruce Lake-Eldorado park proposal, as the Spruce Lake Management Planning Unit, but as land-use plans impinged on the proposed park area these names were abandoned.
The area's unique and distinct landscape and ecology, different from the rest of the Chilcotin Ranges or the rest of the Bridge River Country, was what made it stand out for protection amid a region wild and beautiful before logging and hydroelectric development transformed the valley to the south. Many environmentalist hope that the creation of Ts'ilos and Big Creek Provincial Parks will help shore up the protection of the South Chilcotin Provincial Park which remained vulnerable to government review. Hunting guide Ted Choate of Gaspard Lake, on the Chilcotin Plateau has joined in the call to combine all three parks, plus the Churn Creek Protected Area to the northeast, plus some of the surrounding country and the deep, much higher heart of the Pacific Ranges into a National Park. Industry and government remain publicly committed to sustainable planning; this region was the hunting territory of Chief Hunter Jack of the Lakes Lillooet, whose big-game hunting business shared the region with hunters of the Tsilhqot'in people.
The shared use of the area north of the Bridge River and Gun Creek was part of the settlement of an early 19th-century peace which had ended a long and bloody war between Hunter Jack's people and the Tsilhqot'in. Trails from the Bridge River Country led over the region to Taseko Lake and Chilko Lake in the Chilcotin Country, east across the Camelsfoot Range to the Fraser River near Big Bar. BC Parks - Spruce Lake Protected Area Chilcotin Ranges entry in the Canadian Mountain Encyclopedia Aerial view of Spruce Lake and Eldorado Mountain from Randall & Kat's Flying Photos Aerial view of Spruce Lake from Randall & Kat's Flying Photos[
Carpenter Lake Carpenter Lake Reservoir, is the largest of the three reservoirs of the Bridge River Power Project, located in the mountains west of Lillooet, British Columbia. The lake is about 185 kilometres north of the province's major city of Vancouver and is formed by the 1951 diversion of the Bridge River by Terzaghi Dam into Seton Lake via a tunnel through Mission Mountain, which separates the Seton and Bridge drainages. Several ranches and homesteads in the broad serpentine of the upper Bridge River basin were flooded out by the hydro project, which changed the character of the upper valley forever. Carpenter Lake is about 50 kilometres in length, although its upper reaches beyond the flooded gold mining town of Minto City are mudflat due to fluctuations in the level of the reservoir, its total area approaches 50 square kilometres. The lake is named after a Mr. Carpenter, an engineer who first moved to Canada in 1909 and performed much of the early design work on the power project for the firm of Sanderson and Porter, supervised construction of the first tunnels through Mission Ridge from 1927 to 1931.
He retired in 1944. Downton Lake Lajoie Dam "Carpenter Lake". BC Geographical Names. Bridge River Recreation Area, BC Hydro website
Bridge River Power Project
The Bridge River Power Project is a hydroelectric power development in the Canadian province of British Columbia, located in the Lillooet Country between Whistler and Lillooet. It harnesses the power of the Bridge River, a tributary of the Fraser, by diverting it through a mountainside to the separate drainage basin of Seton Lake, utilizing a system of three dams, four powerhouses and a canal; the potential for the project was first observed in 1912 by Geoffrey Downton, a land surveyor, visiting the goldfield towns in the area who noticed the short horizontal distance between the flow of the Bridge River, just above its impressive canyon, the much-lower Seton Lake. It was fifteen years before this observation was put to task, not until 1927 that a private company first bored a tunnel through Mission Ridge, which separates the basins of the Bridge and Seton systems; this tunnel was completed in 1931, but work on the project was suspended due to the Great Depression and the Second World War.
Construction of a powerhouse to utilize the diversion did not begin until 1946. A townsite, or employees village, was built in the 1920s adjacent to the construction site, it was developed as a model community, with a community hall, a combined rink and tennis court, lavish guest houses for visiting executives, parks, a school, a private beach and a full-service hotel which served the busy travel trade over the mountain to the goldfields towns of Bralorne and Minto. Abandoned during the 1930s, the townsite - known as "Bridge River" - was used during the war as a relocation centre for Japanese-Canadians exiled from the Coast in the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, its most notable resident during that period was Masajiro Miyazaki, an osteopath, engaged by the provincial police in Lillooet to serve as coroner despite wartime restrictions, stayed on as the town doctor for years after. Miyazaki was conferred an Order of Canada award for his service to that community. Following the war, growing power requirements led to a fast-tracking of the project, the largest at the time and one of the most staggering undertaken because of the terrain and spectacular setting of the project.
Materials for the diversion dams in the Bridge River and all equipment for the powerhouse to be built at Lajoie, near Gold Bridge, had to be trucked over the 3,500-foot climb and dozens of switchbacks of the tortuous Mission Mountain Road, shared with industrial and passenger traffic to and from the busy mine towns. The only access to the railhead for that road, at Shalalth, was via the rail line itself from Lillooet and, to get there, via the old pre-Trans-Canada "Cariboo Highway" from Hope to Lytton that had not been upgraded much since it was built in the 1920s; the first generator was installed at what would become Bridge River Powerhouse No. 1 in 1948, with three more generators added by 1954, giving the plant a total output of 180,000 kilowatts - the largest in the province at that time. A second tunnel, with two large penstocks, was built to supply a second powerhouse on the far side of the townsite. Work on this powerhouse was carried out while the tunnel that would supply it was being bored, it would have four generators opening in 1960 with a generating capacity of 248,000 kilowatts.
Geoffrey Downton, the "discoverer" of the project, was invited to push the "start" button to fire up the No. 2 generators. The No. 1 Powerhouse is fed by four penstocks, the No. 2 Powerhouse by two much larger ones, which supply the water from Carpenter Lake, created by Terzaghi Dam, from the tunnels bored through Mission Mountain. Terzaghi Dam was above the pass, just below the tunnel intakes and Mission Creek, the valley on the north side of the pass, it was known as Mission Dam before being named Terzaghi Dam, after Karl Terzaghi, the "father of modern soil mechanics", the chief consultant. Another dam, Lajoie Dam, three kilometres above the gold-mining district's supply town of Gold Bridge, was built at Lajoie, 60 kilometres above the diversion dam. Construction of Lajoie Dam began in 1949 as a simple storage dam to regulate reservoir levels for the Bridge River plants, but in 1955 it was raised to its full height of 287 feet, creating Downton Lake, 534,300 acree-feet of water, elev. 2,460 feet.
A one-generator powerhouse was completed in 1957 with a capacity of 22,000 kilowatts, much of that destined to feed the power demands of the Bralorne and Pioneer Mines and their associated towns, only ten miles away, as well as other residents and towns elsewhere in the upper Bridge River valley. Terzaghi Dam, lower in crest than Lajoie Dam at 180 feet but the most important structure in the project, was completed in 1960, creating Carpenter Lake, it replaced an earlier structure, a cofferdam, built across the Bridge River to force its flow into the Powerhouse No. 1 diversion tunnel, open and operating in 1948. The rising lake waters flooded out several large ranches and homesteads in the valley, some of which dated back to the 1890s, the short-lived company town of Minto City, which lay at the confluence of Gun Creek with the former Bridge River, despite a long holdout by Wally O'Keeffe. Seton Lake existed before the project, but a small diversion dam at its outlet raised the level of the lake by about 10 feet.
From the lake's outlet, a specially built canal carries the diverted flow of the Bridge River to the last possible bit of "head" before the Fraser River, a differential of only 140' but enough to generate 42,000 kilowatts. The c
Lillooet Cayoosh Flat, is a community on the Fraser River in British Columbia, about 240 kilometres up the British Columbia Railway line from Vancouver. Situated at an intersection of deep gorges in the lee of the Coast Mountains, it has a dry climate with an average of 329.5 millimetres of precipitation being recorded annually. Lillooet has a long growing season, once had prolific market gardens and orchard produce, it vies with Lytton and Osoyoos for the title of "Canada's Hot Spot" on a daily basis in summer. Lillooet is an important location in Aboriginal history and culture and remains one of the main population centres of the St'at'imc, today it is one of the southernmost communities in North America where indigenous people form the majority. Just over 50 per cent of the people in Lillooet and area are St'at'imc. First Nations communities assert the land as traditional territory since time immemorial. Considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited locations on the continent, the area is reckoned by archaeologists to have been inhabited for several thousand years.
The immediate area of the town attracted large seasonal and permanent populations of native peoples because of the confluence of several main streams with the Fraser and because of a rock-shelf just above the confluence of the Bridge River, an obstacle to migrating salmon. Many archaeological and heritage sites are in the vicinity of the town, including Keatley Creek Archaeological Site, one of the largest ancient pit-house communities in the Pacific North West; this rock shelf, known in gold rush times as the Lower Fountain, was reputedly made by the trickster Coyote, leaping back and forth across the river to create platforms for people to catch and dry fish on. This location, named Sat' or Setl in the native language and known as the Bridge River Rapids or Six Mile in English, is the busiest fishing site on the Fraser above its mouth and there are numerous drying racks scattered around the banks of the river canyon around it; the town had its start as one of the main centres of the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush of 1858–59, during which it was reckoned to be "the largest town west of Chicago and north of San Francisco", a title held by certain other towns in British Columbia in rapid succession.
Just after this gold rush, the town's layout as it is today was surveyed by the Royal Engineers and its Main Street tied into the original Cariboo Wagon Road or Old Cariboo Road to Fort Alexandria, a huge project undertaken as a toll road by Gustavus Blin Wright, one of the many entrepreneurial personalities of the early colony. Much of its tortuous canyon-brink road grade for twenty or thirty kilometres from "Mile 0" remained in use until the 1970s; the route via the lakes to Lillooet and up Blin Wright's wagon road to the Cariboo goldfields was outflanked within a few years by the now-better known Cariboo Wagon Road via a shorter and less portage-intensive route from Yale to Barkerville via Ashcroft a few years later. Lillooeters still, consider their town to be "Mile 0" of the original Cariboo Wagon Road, it is true that the numbered roadhouse names of the Cariboo district are measured from the bend in Main Street, where a cairn was erected to commemorate this fact; the first stretch of Main Street north from the cairn is said to point due north and at one time was called "the Golden Mile" because of all the gold dust reputed to be scattered along it in its heyday, because it was the hub of supply for the surrounding goldfields.
Lillooet was named Cayoosh Flat, a name, felt to be unsavoury by the residents of the town at the time of its incorporation in 1860. Since it was at the end of the Lillooet Trail, aka the Douglas Road or Lakes Route, the Lil'wat native people farther southwest along that route spoke the same language as the native bands near town, the governor was petitioned to change the name to Lillooet, with permission for use of the name granted by the chiefs of the Lower St'at'imc at Mount Currie and agreed to by the bands of what is now the Upper St'at'imc. There have been a series of gold rushes in the surrounding region since the original one, including a large hard-rock one in the upper Bridge River Country which began in the 1880s and 1890s but had its peak from the 1930s to the 1950s, focussed on two main mining towns at Bralorne and adjacent Pioneer Mine and that area's main base town of Gold Bridge. Gold mining and prospecting continues in the area to this day, as do prospects for copper and nephrite jade, though not to the same extent.
Until the discovery of larger deposits of jade near Cassiar, the Lillooet area was the world's largest source of the nephrite form of jade. Unknown tonnes were exported to China before government assayers discovered the nature of the "black rocks" that the Chinese miners found so interesting. In the 1950s, local farmer and teacher Ron Purvis adapted the skil-saw concept by implementing a diamond rotary blade; this enabled the carving of the many immense jade boulders which line the banks and bed of the Fraser and Bridge Rivers, which were on the one hand immovable and on the other would shatter or striate if blasting was used to break them. Purvis' innovation was revolutionary in the jade mining business and larger versions of his saw are at use in the Cassiar region. There are no major commercial jade mines in the Lillooet area today, although local shops still carry polished jade souvenirs; the Golden Cache Mine located on Cayoosh Creek just West of Lillooet was believed to hold one of the richest ore bodies of gold until lack of results ended investment, though it started a local prospecting boom with various miners and companies continuing the search for rich vein
British Columbia is the westernmost province of Canada, located between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. With an estimated population of 5.016 million as of 2018, it is Canada's third-most populous province. The first British settlement in the area was Fort Victoria, established in 1843, which gave rise to the City of Victoria, at first the capital of the separate Colony of Vancouver Island. Subsequently, on the mainland, the Colony of British Columbia was founded by Richard Clement Moody and the Royal Engineers, Columbia Detachment, in response to the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush. Moody was Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works for the Colony and the first Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia: he was hand-picked by the Colonial Office in London to transform British Columbia into the British Empire's "bulwark in the farthest west", "to found a second England on the shores of the Pacific". Moody selected the site for and founded the original capital of British Columbia, New Westminster, established the Cariboo Road and Stanley Park, designed the first version of the Coat of arms of British Columbia.
Port Moody is named after him. In 1866, Vancouver Island became part of the colony of British Columbia, Victoria became the united colony's capital. In 1871, British Columbia became the sixth province of Canada, its Latin motto is Splendor sine occasu. The capital of British Columbia remains Victoria, the fifteenth-largest metropolitan region in Canada, named for Queen Victoria, who ruled during the creation of the original colonies; the largest city is Vancouver, the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada, the largest in Western Canada, the second-largest in the Pacific Northwest. In October 2013, British Columbia had an estimated population of 4,606,371; the province is governed by the British Columbia New Democratic Party, led by John Horgan, in a minority government with the confidence and supply of the Green Party of British Columbia. Horgan became premier as a result of a no-confidence motion on June 29, 2017. British Columbia evolved from British possessions that were established in what is now British Columbia by 1871.
First Nations, the original inhabitants of the land, have a history of at least 10,000 years in the area. Today there are few treaties, the question of Aboriginal Title, long ignored, has become a legal and political question of frequent debate as a result of recent court actions. Notably, the Tsilhqot'in Nation has established Aboriginal title to a portion of their territory, as a result of the 2014 Supreme Court of Canada decision in Tsilhqot'in Nation v British Columbia; the province's name was chosen by Queen Victoria, when the Colony of British Columbia, i.e. "the Mainland", became a British colony in 1858. It refers to the Columbia District, the British name for the territory drained by the Columbia River, in southeastern British Columbia, the namesake of the pre-Oregon Treaty Columbia Department of the Hudson's Bay Company. Queen Victoria chose British Columbia to distinguish what was the British sector of the Columbia District from the United States, which became the Oregon Territory on August 8, 1848, as a result of the treaty.
The Columbia in the name British Columbia is derived from the name of the Columbia Rediviva, an American ship which lent its name to the Columbia River and the wider region. British Columbia is bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean and the American state of Alaska, to the north by Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories, to the east by the province of Alberta, to the south by the American states of Washington and Montana; the southern border of British Columbia was established by the 1846 Oregon Treaty, although its history is tied with lands as far south as California. British Columbia's land area is 944,735 square kilometres. British Columbia's rugged coastline stretches for more than 27,000 kilometres, includes deep, mountainous fjords and about 6,000 islands, most of which are uninhabited, it is the only province in Canada. British Columbia's capital is Victoria, located at the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island. Only a narrow strip of Vancouver Island, from Campbell River to Victoria, is populated.
Much of the western part of Vancouver Island and the rest of the coast is covered by temperate rainforest. The province's most populous city is Vancouver, at the confluence of the Fraser River and Georgia Strait, in the mainland's southwest corner. By land area, Abbotsford is the largest city. Vanderhoof is near the geographic centre of the province; the Coast Mountains and the Inside Passage's many inlets provide some of British Columbia's renowned and spectacular scenery, which forms the backdrop and context for a growing outdoor adventure and ecotourism industry. 75% of the province is mountainous. The province's mainland away from the coastal regions is somewhat moderated by the Pacific Ocean. Terrain ranges from dry inland forests and semi-arid valleys, to the range and canyon districts of the Central and Southern Interior, to boreal forest and subarctic prairie in the Northern Interior. High mountain regions both north and south subalpine climate; the Okanagan area, extending from Vernon to Osoyoos at the United States border, is one of several wine and cider-produci