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Located in southeastern British Columbia, Canada, the Nakusp Destination is primarily comprised of several provincial parks and lakes with natural vegetation. The eastern region of the destination is extensively mountainous and wooded, while a few cities, towns, and villages constitute the western side of the destination, including Salmon Arm, Revelstoke, and the namesake, Nakusp. Lake Revelstoke and Upper Arrow Lake extend directly through the heart of the Nakusp Destination, both of which draw a handful of tourists and those who enjoy outdoor recreation. Some of the lake activities that visitors can engage in at Upper Arrow Lake near Nakusp are swimming, boating, canoeing, and kayaking, to name a few. Boat launches can be found along Airport Way Road and are available for people to access the lake. The hot springs near Nakusp are a fairly popular attraction among visitors as well. Nakusp Hot Springs Resort and Halcyon Hot Springs are particular establishments that allow the general public to relax in their naturally heated pools. Most tourists visit the village of Nakusp and its surrounding attractions from mid-July to mid-August when temperatures are relatively moderate. Throughout the year in Nakusp, the average temperature varies generally between 23 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Nakusp Destination occupies a portion of British Columbia’s southern region. A number of provincial parks compose the destination in its northern, eastern, and southern areas, namely Glacier National Park, Goat Range Provincial Park, and Valhalla Provincial Park. The namesake, Nakusp, is a village located on the shores of Upper Arrow Lake, slightly southeast of the destination’s central region. As of 2022, Nakusp is home to an estimated total population of 1,716 residents, which has increased annually at a rate of 0.62%.
A specific characteristic of Nakusp that the village is fairly known for is its naturally heated hot springs. Visitors are frequently drawn to Nakusp and Halcyon for the hot springs as well as the outdoor recreational activities within the vicinity. Hiking and biking trails wind throughout the village around many campgrounds. One such trail system is the Mt. Abriel Trails, located beside Upper Arrow Lake and Highway 23. Some of the routes that are part of the Mt. Abriel Trails provide “family-friendly accessibility” for hikers as well as singletracks for bikers. Beyond this, two nine-hole golf courses can be found near Nakusp and Fauquier. Aside from the outdoor activities that the village has to offer, Nakusp also contains a museum that showcases over 5,000 local artifacts.
Events, festivals, and farmers' markets are held periodically in Nakusp over the course of the year, most of which occur during the summer. On Canada Day, a celebration takes place that typically entails a breakfast provided by volunteer firefighters, a parade, fireworks, and several games and concessions at the community park. Nakusp’s community gazebo also hosts an event called Music in the Park every Wednesday evening in July and August. Another relatively small event is the ArtWalk, which draws a fair amount of tourists. During the winter, a holiday-themed celebration is held, more specifically, the Nakusp Celebration of Light, where visitors can engage in caroling, dancing, food, games, and the Santa Clause Parade.
Upper Arrow Lake, adjacent to Nakusp, often piques the interest of outdoor enthusiasts, especially during the summer, as the lake offers opportunities for boating, kayaking, swimming, camping, bird watching, and fishing, among other activities. The lake is inhabited by many species of fish that fishermen may seek, such as kokanee, rainbow, and bull trout, as well as burbot and whitefish. Walking trails around Upper Arrow Lake can lead people to Begbie Falls, a site that is typically visited for its landscape.
The Alpine Columbia Mountains and the Monashee Mountain ranges comprise the vast majority of the Nakusp Destination’s topography in its central and eastern regions. Glacier National Park, Mount Revelstoke National Park, and Monashee Provincial Park are some of the specific natural areas that are part of the Columbia and Monashee Mountains. A fair amount of wildlife, such as caribou, grizzly bears, and wolverines, inhabit Glacier National Park. Plant life also contributes to the lower and higher elevations of the national park, as common alpine wildflowers such as paintbrush, lupin, and glacier lilies can be found. Another aforementioned park that serves as the home for a notable population of wildlife is Goat Range Park, a 195,517-acre ecosystem that contains grizzly bears, mountain caribou, and mountain goats, as the name implies. Goat Range Park “protects the only natural spawning site of the unique ‘Gerrard’ rainbow trout,” and as such, fishing is restricted in these habitats. Despite the prohibition of fishing, Goat Range Park is often visited by hikers and bikers that utilize the developed trails within the park.
Compared to other seasons, warm-weather activities are more accessible in Nakusp from mid-July to mid-August, as temperatures are moderate throughout these months. Those who have visited the village in the past have described the summer season as “short,” “warm,” and “partly cloudy.” The average daily high from June to September is above 71 degrees Fahrenheit; however, the hottest month of the year, July, often experiences temperatures that reach an average high of roughly 79 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, the winter season tends to last longer with a higher amount of cloud cover. From November to March, the average temperature drops to below 41 degrees Fahrenheit. December is most commonly the coldest month of the year, with an average low of 25 degrees Fahrenheit and a high of 33 degrees Fahrenheit. The most amount of precipitation typically occurs during the month of November, as about 11.6 days on average experience at least 0.04 inches of precipitation.
The site on which the village of Nakusp was established is the former territory of the Sinixt, Ktunaxa, Secwepemc, and Okanagan tribes. On account of this, Nakusp’s name derives from a Sinixt term that has been interpreted in various different ways. Some researchers believe that the name means “the bay behind the long point,” while others presume the term translates to English as “safe” or “closed-in.” After the glaciers of the last ice age receded from the Upper and Lower Arrow Lakes, the Sinixt people occupied the land that is now known as Nakusp, and, according to historical and archaeological records, they lived on this site for over 10,000 years.
Upon the occurrence of the Slocan Valley mining boom in the 1890s and 1900s, Nakusp was settled, and the residents brought about the farming and lumber industries. In 1893, Nakusp officially became the western terminus of the Nakusp and Slocan Railway. This event was significant in terms of transportation, as it facilitated access for the paddlewheel steamboats that worked in the industries along Arrow Lakes. Thus, the majority of freight and passengers would travel by steamboat in the early 1890s. Some of the earliest structures that were built in Nakusp were a post office, a general store, and a sawmill, all of which were established circa 1892. Three years later, a school was constructed, followed by a church in 1898. In the early 1930s, in order to accommodate the 800 residents—the largest population that resided on the lake at the time—the settlement incorporated numerous economically beneficial establishments, such as a hospital, a few grocery stores, a restaurant, a bank, post office, police station, and a hardware store. Presently, two of the most prominent drives for the economy of Nakusp are the forest industry and tourism.