Liard River, British Columbia

Liard River, British Columbia

Liard River is a small community in northwest British Columbia, Canada. It has a population of about 100 people. It is located at Kilometre 799 (Mile 496) of the Alaska Highway, near the border of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory.

Liard River received its name from the Liard River, a large river on whose banks the town is located. It is almost impossible not to observe wildlife when travelling 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.

The Liard River area is home to a Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park. The hot springs have been used by humans for several thousand years as documented by oral tradition of the Peace Liard Indian tribes, native to the region. There are two hot springs with water temperatures ranging from 42°C to 52°C; the nearest is the Alpha pool. Beta pool is beyond Alpha and is larger and deeper. A boardwalk, which leads to the hot spring pools, passes through a warm water swamp and boreal forest which supports rich and diverse plant communities as well as mammal and bird species. This boardwalk was the scene of a black bear attack which killed two tourists in August 1997. Moose can be seen feeding in the warm water swamps. Due to the lush plant life influenced by the warmth of the springs, the area was originally known as the "Tropical Valley" by the native Peace Liard Indian tribes. The Nahanni River flows out of the snowfields high in the Ragged Range of Canada's Northwest Territories, near the Yukon border. It twists and bends for 200 miles through Nahanni National Park before joining the Liard River at the small Indian settlement of Nahanni Butte. Nahanni is a local Indian word meaning "people over there far away." The river itself is used for canoeing, kayaking, boating and rafting. The Liard is 150 km (93 miles) of all wide open, big-river flat water.

Lower Post, or Fort Liard (its original name), had been established by an American, Robert Sylvester, in 1872. Four years later the Hudson’s Bay Company took it over and a couple of years afterwards two of its officials saved the Post from a raiding party of two hundred Taku Indians.

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