Raush River watershed
The Raush River watershed comprises approximately 100,000 hectares (1,000 square kilometres) of forest, water, and ice in the northern Columbia Mountains. The valleys expansive wilderness makes it the largest undeveloped, unprotected watershed in British Columbia south of 54 degrees latitude.
Ecologically, the Raush watershed is incredibly diverse, with ecosystems ranging from high-elevation Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir forests, to low elevation stands of cedar and hemlock, to rich valley bottom wetlands. These provide habitat for an equally varied list of animal species. Grizzly bears and mountain goats frequent the high alpine meadows and avalanche chutes, while at lower elevations moose, deer and black bears are common. The Raush also provides habitat for the red-listed mountain caribou.
Slocan Forest Industries plans to commence logging in the Raush watershed within the next few years, despite the fact that the valley is an integral part of the protected areas network laid out in the Fraser Headwaters Proposed Conservation Plan. Slocans proposed development will see a logging road pushed deep into the watersheds upper reaches.
The Fraser Headwaters Alliance has constructed a trail so that people can access the awe-inspiring wilderness of the Raush watershed. Hikers can walk 13 kilometres upstream from Kiwa pass, to a grove of large cedar trees. Those interested in paddling the lower Raush can portage their canoe to where the trail meets the river, then paddle the meandering lower Raush to its confluence with the Fraser. For more information on these adventures, email us.
The Raush River watershed is located within the traditional territory of the Secwepemc and Lheidli T'enneh First Nations.
See photos from the 1999 First Descent of the Raush River by kayak, raft, and marathon swimmer Fin Donnelly
Learn more about the Raush Valley hiking trail and paddling the lower Raush River
Read about the 1997 ten-day hiking traverse of the Raush watershed
1999 Landsat Satellite image of the Raush