Kshwan River, Hastings Arm

Kshwan River, Hastings Arm

by | Dec 13, 2020

Kshwan River is at the head of Hastings Arm, about 95 miles (153 km) north-northeast of Prince Rupert and 22 miles (35 km) south-southeast of Stewart, British Columbia. This was historically the site of a Nisga’a village named Kswan. The Kshwan River starts from the terminus of the Kshwan Glacier that flows south from the Cambria Icefield and merges with the Sutton River. The southern margin of the Cambria Icefield is an area of active mineral exploration and potential mine development.

Hastings Arm is a fjord about 19 miles (30 km) long that starts at the divergence of Observatory Inlet and Alice Arm. The English name was conferred in 1869 by Captain Daniel Pender, after Rear Admiral George Fowler Hastings, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Station from 1866–69. The name of the inlet in the Nisga’a language is K’alli Kshwan, meaning “upriver water teeth” which is a reference to the tribe’s founder Tseemsim cupping his hands to take a drink from the Kshwan River and finding it so cold it hurt his teeth.

The headwaters of the Kshwan River are part of the Kswan Biodiversity, Mining and Tourism Area.  These areas were designated under the Great Bear Rainforest Act and prohibit commercial timber harvesting and hydroelectric generation but allow mining and tourism development as long as ecological integrity is maintained. The Great Bear Rainforest is part of the larger Pacific temperate rainforest ecoregion, which is the largest coastal temperate rainforest in the world. Read more here and here. Explore more of Kshwan River here:

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