By: Fraser Riverkeeper  09-12-2011

The Fraser River has a wide range of recreational opportunities due to its accessibility and diversity. The riverhead is in the Rocky Mountains, and there it provides a haven for canoeing, kayaking, and whitewater rafting enthusiasts. As it makes its way down through the valley, the river provides opportunities for fishing and boating. Close to the community of Lytton, the Fraser Canyon attracts a large number of tourists. There are viewpoints, parks, trails, and an aerial tram that can take sightseers across the Fraser River. Other activities that take place in the basin include backpacking, skiing, snowboarding, and hiking. At the delta mouth of the river in the Lower Fraser valley, there are a number of recreational opportunities including walking, bird watching, picnicking, fishing and boating.

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Geography and Geology

The Fraser Basin system comprises the main Fraser River and a huge network of tributaries that drains more than a quarter of British Columbia before the river’s egress into the Pacific Ocean through Vancouver. Its headquarters are in the Mount Robson Provisional Park in the Rocky Mountains, and it passes across the dry Fraser Plateau and through the coastal mountain ranges to the Pacific Ocean.


Watershed Facts

Discharge rate at the River mouth: The Fraser River flows at an average rate of around 3550 m3/second and dumps up to 20 million tonnes of sediment at its mouth in the Fraser Basin Delta. In addition to the industrial stresses exerted on the region, new development pressures metastasize as the vibrant Vancouver region draws more residents and more economic activity.



Further exploration continued as George Simpson came to the river in 1828 to decide whether Fort Langley would be adequate as the Hudson Bay Company’s main Pacific depot. Most of British Columbia’s history is linked to the Fraser River because it was an important and essential route between the Interior and the Coast.


Water Quality

After accessing all of the site-specific conditions and how well-protected the aquatic life is, the Index ranks waterbodies in the categories of Excellent, Good, Fair, Marginal, or Poor. It drains about one-quarter of the province’s water and ranges from central British Columbia, to Southwest British Columbia and east to the Rocky Mountains near Jasper.


The River

They do not damage or physically harm the adult fish; however, with the establishment of commercial salmon farming, sea lice parasites on juvenile salmon pose a great threat or even death to the young fish. Several organizations and biologists claim that salmon farming located along west Coast of BC are responsible for the dramatic decrease of wild sockeye salmon in the Fraser River in 2009.