Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Kootenay Region (in common parlance "The Kootenays") comprises the southeastern portion of British Columbia. It takes its name from the Kootenay River, which in turn was named for the Kutenai (Kinbasket ) First Nation first encountered by explorer David Thompson.
The Kootenays have no official boundaries, and some variation exists in terms of what areas are or are not a part. The strictest definition of the region is the drainage basin of the lower Kootenay River from its re-entry into Canada near Creston, through to its confluence with the Columbia at Castlegar. In most interpretations, however, the region also includes:
- an area to the east which encompasses the upper drainage basin of the Kootenay River from its rise in the Rocky Mountains to its passage into the U.S.A. at Newgate . This adds a region spanning from the Purcell Mountains to the Alberta border, and includes Rocky Mountain Trench communities such as Cranbrook and the southern Canadian Rockies in and around Fernie.
- an area to the southwest encompassing the Columbia's drainage from the Kootenay confluence south to the U.S. Border plus the Salmo River basin. This adds the communities of Rossland, Trail, Fruitvale and Salmo
Some or all of the following areas to the north, which drain the Columbia River, are also commonly included in the Kootenays:
- The Arrow Lakes area, which adds Nakusp .
- The Upper Columbia Valley, which parallels the first section of the Kootenay River, including the communities of Invermere and Radium Hot Springs
- The Columbia drainage between the Kicking Horse Pass and the Rogers Pass, in and around the town of Golden.
- The Columbia drainage between the Rogers Pass and the Eagle Pass, in and around the town of Revelstoke.
When the above regions are added, sometimes the region's name is morphed into Columbia-Kootenay or Kootenay-Columbia.
Finally, the Boundary district , a southern east-west corridor between the Okanagan and the Allison Pass , is often included in the Kootenays. In the event of its inclusion, the region could be described as the complete Canadian portion of the Columbia Basin minus lands drained by the Okanagan River.
Naming and Subdivision
Contingent on the above boundaries, the Kootenays are commonly split either into East and West, or East, Central and West.
- The usual East-West separator is the northward leg of the Kootenay River (mostly Kootenay Lake) with the Duncan River as a northern extension. This places Creston and points east in the East Kootenay (or East Kootenays) and Kaslo and points west in the West Kootenay (or West Kootenays)
- The usual East-Central-West separators are the Purcell Mountains splitting East from Central and the Selkirk Mountains splitting Central from West.
It remains unclear why both Kootenay and Kootenays are used somewhat interchangeably to describe the area. The plural form might be indicative of the term summing "East Kootenay" and "West Kootenay," except "East Kootenays" and "West Kootenays" also appear in local parlance, clouding the issue.
Originally settled by miners and foresters, the district now includes an important fruit growing section (Creston Valley) and numerous commercial centers, including Trail, Nelson, Cranbrook, Kimberley, Fernie and Creston.
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