Kermode Spirit Bear trail of the north welcomes you

  • posted May 31, 2011at 11:00 AM

According to a First Nations legend, the Raven changed the earth from white snow to green forest.
But he wanted a reminder of how the world once was so he made every tenth bear white and declared they would forever live in peace.
The scientific explanation for the white Kermode bear’s colouring is a little different – two black bears with recessive white genes pass them to their offspring. Kermode bears, otherwise known as Spirit Bears, do exist, however.
The bears are unique to the rainforests of northern British Columbia and are the official mark...

Former CN foreman’s house takes on a new purpose

  • posted May 31, 2011at 10:00 AM

It sits serenely, alongside the railroad tracks on the Grand Trunk Pathway. Myriad trains whiz past, including double-decker railcars.
The Kwinitsa foreman’s house stands proudly as a reminder of our railroad past.
It is named for where it came from – “Kwinitsa,” a once-bustling railroad station situated midway between Terrace and Prince Rupert.
From 1911 and 1915, 50 railroad stations were built on The Grand Trunk Pacific rail line in BC; ten of them between Terrace and Prince Rupert.
Nothing remains of the many stations and buildings that once peppered that rail line.
The house came to Terrace from Kwinitsa in 1972, on two flat cars - the same way it originally arrived in Kwinitsa (from an unknown location),...

Mission: Northwest

  • posted May 31, 2011at 10:00 AM

1) When you arrive in Terrace, stop first at the Visitor Info Centre on Hwy 16 (4511 Keith Ave.). Here, you can get up-to-date information about activities in and around Terrace as well as free maps, pamphlets and brochures.
The centre, which is run by the city’s tourism body Kermodei Tourism, has traditionally been rated as one of the best in the province for providing friendly and knowledgeable service.
Summer hours are 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day. Drop by or call 250-635-4944.

2) The Skeena Valley Farmers’ Market is a Terrace tradition.
With up to 70 local vendors selling everything from homebaked pies and luscious produce to handmade soaps, handcrafted knives and ethnic food, the market is a must-see. You can also enjoy horse and buggy rides around town and live music by local musicians.
Now more than 20 years old, the market is the largest of its kind north of Kamloops.
Get there early, before all the goodies are gone. The market is open every Saturday, from May to the end of October, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Drive north on Kalum St. and turn left on Davis Ave. The market’s kitty-corner from the library, across from George Little Park.

3) For a gentle walk on the edge of town, check out the Howe Creek Trail. The trail is about three kilometres and runs through quiet local woods that follow the bottom of the Terrace neighbourhood referred to as the Bench. It leads past a small hatchery and a meandering, salmon-bearing stream that was restored through local volunteer efforts.
You can join the Howe Creek Trail from any number of residential streets. One trailhead is adjacent to the Terrace Youth Soccer fieldhouse in Christy Park at the end of Sparks St.

4) Visit a miniature church – a place of worship, rest and history. Drive 22 km east of Terrace and explore the Usk Chapel, tucked along the right hand side of the highway. A favourite for small weddings, it was built in 1967 by Terrace’s Christian Reform Church to celebrate Canada’s centennial birthday.
This tiny building is one-third the size of a church that was on the other side of the Skeena River in the days when a thriving settlement was there. The original church was ruined in 1936 during a massive flood. Locals wanted to move the original across to the highway side of Usk but couldn’t because its beams were too rotten. The replica was constructed instead.

5) Inviting hiking opportunities are all around us in the Northwest! Choosing where to hike among all the enticing peaks can be a bit daunting but that is made simple with a pamphlet detailing trips all within close driving distance to the trailhead.
Kermodei Tourism has compiled different hikes ranging in difficulty from easy to moderate to difficult. The pamphlet, available at the Visitor Info Centre on Keith Ave., also details what other activities can be enjoyed on each trip, such as fishing, camping and swimming.

6) Walk through the mossy, green woods of Ferry Island Park and enjoy close-up views of the mighty Skeena River. Ferry Island is a municipal campground with a network of nature trails that circle the island, winding between giant cottonwood trees and the riverbank. They are flat and easy to walk or run.
While cruising the woods, see if you can spot the eyes in the trees. A local artist spent hours carving unique faces into the island’s tree trunks and it’s a favourite activity among locals walking the trails to count the number of faces they can find in the trunks. Some say there are as many as 53 faces.
Getting there, take Hwy 16 east for two kilometres from downtown. Drive along the newest of the two bridges that span the Skeena River and take a turnoff on the south side of the highway. Follow it and park just past the campground.

7) Get in touch with Terrace’s creative side by taking in the work of local artists at various local businesses.
Call the Art Gallery at 638-8884 for more information.
There’s also a wide variety of eye-catching mural art in and around the downtown core of the city that’s worth a few minutes of reflection.

8) The pioneer past comes alive at Heritage Park Museum, located atop Kalum hill on the corner of Sparks St. and Kerby St. This outdoor museum is home to a historic collection of authentic pioneer log buildings.
Highlights include the Kalum Lake Hotel and several homes and cabins once belonging to northwest miners, trappers and homesteaders.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday in May and June. In July and August, the museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. All summer, staff in old-fashioned costumes will offer guided tours at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Call the museum at 635-4546 for more information and to check for times and other events.

9) Scores of fish canneries once dotted the northcoast, but they’re all gone except one – the North Pacific Cannery, near Port Edward. The cannery village has now been preserved as a museum with food, special weekend events and tours throughout the week.
Take Hwy 16 west toward Prince Rupert until you come to the turn off to Port Edward. Then follow the signs to the cannery. The trip from Terrace should take about an hour and a half.
The cannery is open Tuesday through Sunday May 1 - June 30, daily July and August, and Tuesday to Sunday Sept. 1 - 27. There is an admission charge but children under six are admitted free.

10)  Treat yourself to some tasty ice cream while experiencing a historical sight.
The old Kwinitsa rail station foreman’s house was brought to Terrace in 1972 but turned into a classic but modern ice cream parlour in 2008.
The building is located at the east end of the Millenium trail, on Hwy 16, at the bottom of Eby Street.
As one of the only surviving rail buildings in the region, it is a significant artifact from the Northwest’s past.
Half of the house is taken up by the ice cream parlour. The other half contains offices of the Nisga’a Commercial Group which organizes tours of the Nass Valley.

11) Play an 18-hole round of golf at the Skeena Valley Golf Course. The course stretches out at the base of spectacular Thornhill Mountain and has full pro-shop facilities, a coffee shop and a licensed lounge.
To get there, drive along Old Lakelse Lake Rd., then turn left on Thornhill St. Call 635-2542 beforehand to book a tee time. Beware – non-members can’t book more than three days in advance. Also check out the driving range just west of town on Hwy 16 at New Remo. The range is open seven days a week from noon until 8 p.m..

12) Learn more about First Nations culture and enjoy performances by numerous talented First Nations people on National Aboriginal Day. National Aboriginal Day is a way for First Nations people to get together and enjoy cultural activities in one surrounding. The event is open to everyone in the community and surrounding areas. There will be many activities and all kinds of vendors in George Little Park in downtown Terrace June 20. The day starts out with an opening prayer at 9 a.m.

13) Count how many bears you can see in one day. From mid May to early June, berries flourish on the side of the Nisga’a highway. And where there’s berries, there’s bears. Black bears are most common but sometimes, visitors can see brown bears, grizzlies and even Kermodes. The white spirit bears are rare, however.
Head west on Hwy 16 and turn right on Kalum Lake Rd. Drive along the highway and keep your eyes peeled to the side of the road. Be very careful, though. Do not get out of your car and at no time, try to feed the bears. Take photos from your car.

14) Go for a hike. Overlooking downtown and the Skeena River, Terrace Mountain rewards hikers with a stunning view of the city and valley.
This is an easy to moderate hike and the trailhead is close to downtown. To reach the start, drive east on Park Ave. from its intersection with Kalum at the library. Continue up a hill and follow Park Ave. as it turns into Johnstone. Look for a large trail sign and park here.
The trail climbs steeply before levelling off, then risies and falls amid rock bluffs, ravines and mossy forest. Average hikers take around 45 minutes to reach the bench and viewpoint at the top. Retrace your steps, or continue on the trail down the backside of the mountain. This way, you’ll end up at Yeo St., just off of North Sparks Ave. Walk back to the library along Kalum St.

15) Enjoy a picnic lunch on a bench overlooking the city on Lanfear Hill.
Drive west along Hwy 16 and turn right on Kenney St. Park in the gravel area at the top of the hill on your right. Have a seat and dig in.
After lunch, if you are feeling adventurous, look for the trailhead close to the bench and climb down the hill.

16) Visit the Terrace Art Gallery, the hub of the local artistic community. It hosts exhibits from across B.C. and Canada.
The gallery is downstairs in the Terrace Public Library on the corner of Lazelle Ave. and Kalum St. It’s open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m., Fridays noon to 6 p.m., and Sundays 1 to 4 p.m. In July and August, it’s closed Sundays. For information, call 638-8884 or check out the website at

17) If it’s a serious alpine adventure you’re looking for, lace up your hiking boots or hop on your bike and head for Thornhill Mountain. The high peak on the ridge immediately southeast of town looks forbidding. But there’s actually a very good trail, the Vicki Kryklywyj Memorial Trail, which leads to the summit on a route originally built for prospectors with pack horses. The panoramic view from the summit is spectacular.
If you go before late June, expect to wade through some large snowfields in the high alpine.
Drive east just past the junction of Hwy 16 and 37. Make the first right turn onto Old Lakelse Lake Dr., and drive straight for about 6 km. About 800 metres after passing a garbage dump, make the next left at the bottom of a hill into a dirt parking lot. Drive straight along the dirt road for 2.3 kilometres until you see a sign for the trailhead on the right, just after a switchback to the left. Park here. The road is rough but 4WD is not necessary. It’s 4.8 kilometres from that point to the alpine. The trail crosses a creek and then ascends a set of steps.

18) Nature lovers who want alpine scenery but don’t want to hike can drive to the top of nearby Copper Mountain.
Follow the directions for Thornhill Mountain (17), but continue all the way until the road forks at a saddle near the top. The left branch goes to a forestry lookout. The right branch climbs higher to where telecommunications towers are perched atop the mountain. Go either way.
Ensure your vehicle is in good condition, particularly the brakes. Proceed slowly, with your lights on and honk your horn while rounding blind corners. Four-wheel drive is recommended.

19) Have a picnic against the backdrop of water roaring through the box canyon at Kleanza Creek Provincial Park. A short trail takes visitors to a viewpoint overlooking the 24-metre canyon. Or you can sit on picnic tables at the bottom end and marvel at the rushing rapids and deep, swirling pools.
Drive about 15 minutes east of Terrace on Hwy 16. This is a favourite spot for rock climbers who climb the walls inside the canyon. The park also has a campground with 21 spots.

20) It’s a little bit of Ireland in Terrace, B.C. Come see Yaughal (pronounced YAWL), a miniature village that’s a replica of the real one in County Cork. When it comes to labours of love, then this is one. Jim and Jo Allen have now assembled 19 buildings based on the real ones in the village where Jim spent his first 20 years. In the Allen household it’s now called Tiny Town. Brand new this year is a replica of the Queen Mary, built by friend Ted Adams. You’ll find Tiny Town at 5134 Agar, located on the southside of Terrace.

21) Red Sand Lake Demonstration Forest is a B.C. Forest Service recreation site that features beautiful campsites and an outstanding series of trails.
Head west from Terrace on Hwy 16 and turn right immediately after the Tempo gas station. Follow the road for 26 kilometres. Be warned, though. This is a rough, rutted logging road, so go slow.
There are three main trails at the lake. The shortest one is a 1.6-kilometre wheelchair accessible loop. The second is 2 km long and leads to a lookout that’s worth the climb. The other is 3.8 km long, and meanders around the scenic Kalum River and Kalum Lake.
The campsites are free and have pit toilets.

22) Visit the Terrace Public Library at the corner of Park Ave. and Kalum St. next to George Little Memorial Park.
People in Terrace love their library, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a comfortable, friendly place to pass a few hours – one of the best of its size.
The catalogue boasts some 73,000 titles, including a well-stocked DVD collection. There’s...

Take the Nisga'a Highway and explore Nass Valley

  • posted May 31, 2011at 10:00 AM

Follow the Nisga’a Highway north from the turnoff on Hwy 16 West, and you’ll pass Kalum Lake and the community of Rosswood before entering the Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park. (Click here to see photos of a ride along the Nisga'a Highway.)
The volcano that spawned it all, Wil Ksi Baxhl Mihl or “where the fire ran out”, is a small cinder cone only 250 years old.
The eruption buried two Nisga’a villages, killed 2,000 aboriginal people, and pushed the Nass River from one side of the valley to the other.
The road forks in the midst of the 23-kilometre-long lava flow. The road east...

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