Welcome to River Boat Days

The Skeena River

The Skeena River runs for 579 km from it's source in the Skeena Mountains all the way down to the coast where it empties into the Pacific Ocean at the 54th parallel with a drainage area of 54400 sqare km. The Skeena has a constant rise and fall level, up to 43 cm (17 feet) in 24 hours. It is the 2nd largest all Canadian river in British Columbia.

There have been many things said of the Skeena with regards to it's swiftness and near impossibility to navigate during the Riverboat Era:

"Never gives up its dead." ~unknown/anonymous

"The Indians called her 'K'shian, water of the cloud.' The river boatmen, less poetic, called her an unpredicatable wench. By temperament she is nervous and unstable, impatient to leave her birthplace in the storm-shrouded rock spires of the Skeena Mountains, hurrying to tide-water with a determination that made her the West's fastest-flowing major waterway. Some sternwheeler skippers credited her with being among the toughest of North America's navigable rivers. Other's disagreed, saying she wasn't among the toughest; she was the toughest! She could rise 17 feet in a day, fluctuate 60 feet between high and low water, puncture a sternwheeler's planking in a dozen rapid-torn canyons or rock-strewn rapids. 'We don't navigate the river,' one veteran skipper observed, 'we juggle our way down.'" -Art Downs

Next: Prelude to the Riverboat Era »