The townsite of Stewart, B.C. looking south down the Portland Canal
This page was last updated on: January 22, 2013
British Columbia, Canada
Stewart's setting can only be described in superlatives, combining an oceanfront location with alpine scenery, glaciers, ice fields, and spectacular waterfalls. This setting and the outdoor recreation opportunities it offers, contribute in an important way to the communities lifestyles. The area offers, fresh and saltwater fishing, boating, hiking, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and numerous other activities.
Stewart's colorful history has been dictated by the fortunes of the mining industry. The first exploration in the area took place in the late 1890's and the town site was named in 1905. An estimated 10,000 people resided in the area in the early 1900's, attracted by the prospects of gold; yet during World War I the population was reduced to less than twenty. Stewart was founded by two Scottish brothers, John and Robert Stewart.
Major mines such as Premier Gold, Big Missouri and Granduc Copper have been established in the Stewart area. These projects created the impetus for population increases and attracted a skilled work force to the community. Mining is also primarily responsible for the development of support services such as heavy duty mechanics, welding shops, and transportation-related businesses, which provide service to all the basic resource industries. Today employment in the community is much more broadly-based and includes opportunities in transportation, mining, logging, retail and hospitality sector, and public administration.
As a contact zone between the Coast Range Batholith and sedimentary formations to the east, the Stewart area is highly mineralized and contains proven reserves of a wide range of precious and base metals including gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc.
A view of the Hyder Dock (foreground), Town of Hyder & Salmon River (background)
Town of Hyder
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Hyder, Alaska, United States
Hyder was originally called Portland city, and the name was changed in 1914 after Frederick Hyder, a Canadian mining engineer who predicted a bright future for the area. Hyders boom years occurred between the years 1920 and 1930, and the Riverside Mine extracted gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc and tungsten until 1953. By 1956, all major mining had closed except for Granduc Copper Mine in Canada, which operated until 1984.
Hyder is known as the "Friendliest Ghost Town in Alaska." Hyder's economy is based primarily on tourism today.
Visitors usually make more than one visit to Fish Creek bear viewing area, trying to view grizzlies and black bears as they feed on the spawning salmon.
Continuing on past Fish Creek visitors will re-enter Canada and begin their assent to the Salmon Glacier.
There are two public boat launching facilities to the Portland Canal one located in Stewart and one in Hyder. Be sure to check the tide tables to ensure safe launching.
The photo to the left shows the close proximity of the towns of Hyder, Alaska and Stewart British Columbia. In the center of the photo you can see a fine line, this is the international border between Alaska and British Columbia
Stewart, British Columbia
This is a private WEB page constructed
for the enjoyment of Residents and Visitors
Stewart is located in the centre of the photo
This site is privately designed, and maintained. Every attempt has been made to provide relevant, up to date, information. The photos on this website are copyright protected and are not to be copied or re-used without the prior written authorization of their respective owner.
Some Other Stewart & Area Websites.
Hyder, Alaska Business Information
Parts of the movie Insomnia, starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank were filmed in Stewart in July 2001
British Columbia is home to an estimated 17,000 to 20,000 grizzly bears, or roughly 30% of North America's total brown-bear population. Biologists and bear guides say in some regions their numbers have dwindled recently, mostly because of habitat loss.
This is where many visitors and residents enjoy a lunch in the summer. How does it compare to your dining room? Salmon Glacier is the most beautiful and most accessible glacier to the travelling public in Canada, possibly North America, --- the only thing missing is an Information Kiosk.
Spirit Bear photos courtesy of L. Kasum Photos taken at km70 on Hwy 37 in June 2008
Enjoy your visit to this area....but remember, when returning to Stewart, B.C. from Hyder, AK you will be crossing an International Boundry -- you will find it far easier to cross the border if you have adequate personal identification.At this time there is Canada Customs Inspection ONLY, there is NO United States Customs representation at this Border Crossing.
Salmon Glacier and the area surrounding the Glacier would be a National Park if it was anywhere else in Canada -- or in any other country. This is a spectacular experience !
On a few islands in western Canada, white 'spirit bears' walk the woods. Now scientists have discovered why these striking animals, a race of black bear, survive. White bears are less visible to fish than their black counterparts, making them 30% more efficient at capturing salmon in the islands' rivers.
Elsewhere, similar white bears appear rarely, probably because those that do become vulnerable to predators such as grizzly bears and wolves.
Most black bears (Ursus americanus) in North America have a coat that is uniformly black. That provides camouflage within the forest habitats in which most bears live. However, the spirit bear, also known as the kermode bear (Ursus americanus kermodei), is a race of black bear that has a white coat. The white fur is produced by a recessive form of a gene, or allele, that maintains itself in the black bear gene pool. This is much like how red hair occurs in humans.
This race of white bear has a restricted distribution, occurring mainly on Gribbell Island and Princess Royal Island off the coast of western Canada, 500 km north of Vancouver and also in areas of our northwest.
The spirit bear is a total oddball, white black bears hardly ever appear in the general population. Yet here on these two small islands you suddenly get 20-30% of the bear being white. Rather than make the bears stand out, the white colour actually makes the bears disappear, researchers discovered.
Each autumn, salmon fill the islands' rivers as they migrate to their spawning grounds. At night, black bears and white bears have similar rates of success at capturing salmon.
But the white bears come into their own during the day. In the daytime the white bear is 30% more efficient than a black bear in capturing salmon.
Researchers made the discovery by observing the hunting techniques of the two types of wild black bear, including bears stalking, lunging for and running after salmon. They discovered that the white bear was more successful in any one of those techniques during the daytime compared to the black bear.
Researchers also conducted experiments on the reaction of the salmon. By draping themselves in white and black costumes, they confirmed that salmon try to evade white coloured objects far less than black. "We hadn't expected such a clear result as we got with our experimental work," "The salmon were twice as likely to return to the area with the white costume than the dark costume."
Scientists believe that the white bears' lighter colour makes them less visible to salmon in daytime, and that dark coloured predators are more easily spotted against the bright surface of the water. That hunting prowess gives white bears a distinct advantage, with the salmon protein helping them better fatten up for the winter, and successfully raise young.
But if white coats are better, why don't white bears exist in large numbers elsewhere among the black bear population? Researchers suspect the coat makes white bears more vulnerable to other predators, which do not exist, particularly, on Gribbell Island and Princess Royal Island. They further speculate that "probably one of the reasons they are not common on the mainland is grizzly bears kill black bears and wolves kill black bears." It might also be that the genetic mutation that causes the white coat exists on these islands and nowhere else, and it persists because the bears are isolated.
The first nation Tsimshian people have a legend that the bear is a relic from a glacial age where it would be suited. This is consistent with recent research that suggests coastal bears survived through glacial periods.
The spirit bears' future survival is not guaranteed, however. Isotope analyses of the bears' hair shows what they eat, and a study by the researchers reveals that white bears are much more dependent on salmon than their black counterparts. But overfishing and habitat destruction have caused a dramatic decline in salmon numbers along the west coast of North America over the past 100 years. "We would be dubious if the white bears persist when their salmon disappear, and they are almost gone already," say reasearchers. These bears do not have an opportunity to switch to anything else and it is unlikely they will survive when their salmon disappear; they are almost gone already.
- fresh produce
- ASK about the 'deal' for grocery orders over $1,000
- Camp orders WELCOME
- Pellet Stoves
- Building Supplies
- Electrical Generators
- We speak German and French and can manage in a number of other languages
The Portland Canal is an arm of Portland Inlet, one of the principal inlets of the British Columbia Coast. It is approximately 114 kilometres (71 mi) long.The Portland Canal forms part of the border between southeastern Alaska and British Columbia. The name of the entire inlet in the Nisga'a language is K'alii Xk'alaan, with /xk/alaan/ meaning "at the back of (someplace)". The upper end of the inlet was home to the Tsetsaut ("Jits'aawit" in Nisga'a), who after being decimated by war and disease were taken under the protection of the Laxsgiik (Eagle) chief of the Nisga'a, who holds the inlet's title in native law.
Despite its naming as a canal, the inlet is a fjord, a completely natural and not man-made geographic feature and extends 114.6 km (70 miles) northward from the Portland Inlet at Pearse Island, British Columbia, to Stewart, British Columbia and Hyder, Alaska. At its head is the abandoned smelter town of Anyox. Observatory Inlet joins the Portland Canal at Ramsden Point, where both merge with Portland Inlet. Pearse Canal joins Portland Canal at the north end of Pearse Island.
Portland Canal was given its name by George Vancouver in 1793, in honour of William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland. The use of the word canal to name inlets on the British Columbia Coast and the Alaska Panhandle is a legacy of the Spanish exploration of the area in the 1700s. For example, Haro Strait between Victoria and the San Juan Islands was originally Canal de Haro. The English cognate to the Spanish canal is "channel", which is found throughout the coast, cf. Dean Channel. George Vancouver used both terms in his naming of inlets, Hood Canal for example.
The placement of the international boundary in the Portland Canal was a major issue during the negotiations over the Alaska Boundary Dispute, which heated up as a result of the Klondike Gold Rush and ended by arbitration in 1903. Together with Pearse Canal and Tongass Passage, the Portland Canal is defined by the Alaska Boundary Settlement (the Hay-Herbert Treaty) as part of Portland Channel, a term used as forming the marine boundary in the Anglo-Russian Treaty of 1825 but which was undefined at the time.
Circle Rainbow photo taken at the Salmon Glacier, July 2010. Photo is copyright protected by Nelli and Rodolfo Gianotti who have very kindly loaned it to me for viewing on this web page.
I wonder why any organization would start to build a wonderful facility like the easily accessible and thoroughly enjoyable Stewart estuary boardwalk and then not finish it? I mean, it just seems to end in the middle of the estuary. There just aren't too many facilities like this in town that everyone can enjoy all year ... but, even as it is it's still an enjoyable walk.