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Lillooet Ranges ArxDescr

Location: The Lillooet Ranges are a historical subunit of the Coast Ranges, akin in definition to other large groupings such as the Insular Mountains, the Front Ranges, Pacific Ranges and Chilcotin Ranges.

The Lillooet Ranges has many subareas in this Encyclopedia, only a couple of which have historically-rooted names, namely the Cayoosh Range and the Cantilever Range. The definition of the Lillooet Ranges is fairly simple: everything between the angle of the Lillooet River/Harrison Lake and the Fraser River and south of the BC Rail Line (i.e. south of the Birken-Seton Valley). Terrain: See SubAreas for detailed discussion of each. History: The name Lillooet Ranges derives from the days when goldfield-bound travellers up Harrison Lake (or Royal Engineer surveyors with a need to name things), headed for Port Douglas and through what was then the Lillooet Country (now the Pemberton-Skookumchuck area), dubbed the ranges on either side of the lake the Douglas Ranges (to the west) and Lillooet Ranges (to the east) respectively. The name Cayoosh Range dates from the same period, these being the mountains flanking the last leg of the journey from Port Douglas to what was then called Cayoosh (today's Lillooet).

  Despite being fairly close to Vancouver and not as high as even more rugged areas farther up the Coast Range, the Lillooet Ranges are tough country and as a result remained largely unexploited much north of the Nahatlatch River well into the late 20th Century. Logging in the basin of Cayoosh Creek only began in the late 1970s, as was also the case on the eastern flank of the Lillooet River or on the west side of the Fraser across from Boston Bar. With the valley of the Stein River not penetrated by roads at all right into the 1980s, a campaign was successfully waged to protect it from industrial encroachment of any kind; by contrast, the Cayoosh basin has some of the worst displays of bad logging practices in BC, and the southern end of the Lillooet Ranges is very heavily logged, thanks in part to a new bridge connecting Boston Bar with North Bend on the Fraser's west bank.

As noted, this is very tough country and also noted for bad weather; it is the last high barrier to coastal moisture, wringing the last of it out before the drylands which lie immediately to this range's east - actually in its very shadow, with Lytton and Lillooet at the range's feet being among the driest places in Canada. The southern end of the range is also part of the hometurf of the semi-legendary Sasquatch, an 8-10' primate said to wander the cold, rainy jungles of the granite mountains in this region. 80% of world sightings of the Sasquatch (or "Bigfoot" as Americans like to call 'em - no, the plural is NOT "Bigfeet") are in the area between Chehalis (just west of the southern end of the range at Harrison Hot Springs) and Emory Creek on the Fraser (between Hope and Yale).

Despite its proximity to the heavily-populated Lower Mainland, and also the very earliest explorations of the provincial resource base (in other words, the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush of 1858-60), the Lillooet Ranges are relatively unknown and not well-travelled, even with the new networks of logging roads which criss-cross all its valleys (with the exception of the Stein).