Nakusp, British Columbia Canada

Discover Nakusp, British Columbia: A Blend of History, Nature, and Culture

Nestled in the West Kootenay region of southeastern British Columbia, the village of Nakusp is a hidden gem. Located south of the mouth of Kuskanax Creek on the Upper Arrow Lake, Nakusp is surrounded by the Selkirk and Monashee ranges. This picturesque mountain lakeside setting is known for its nearby hot springs and rich history.

The Early History of Nakusp, British Columbia

The region was home to the Secwepemc, Sinixt, and Ktunaxa peoples for thousands of years before the arrival of European explorers. In 1811, Finan McDonald, a member of David Thompson's party, became the first reported European explorer on the Arrow Lakes. The village's name, Nakusp, originates from the Nakusp Creek to the south. The meaning of the word has been suggested to represent an eddy, a safe place, a coming together, or even a private body part. There are also suggestions that it means 'having buffalo', despite no evidence of buffalo ever roaming the area.

Demographics of Nakusp, British Columbia

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Nakusp had a population of 1,589 living in 760 of its 831 total private dwellings. This represented a slight decrease of -1% from its 2016 population of 1,605. With a land area of 8.04 km2 (3.10 sq mi), the village had a population density of 197.6/km2 (511.9/sq mi) in 2021.

Transportation in Nakusp, British Columbia

In the early 1890s, most passengers and freight traveled by steamboat, connecting either south with the US landings or north with the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) main line at Revelstoke. However, low water and ice on the Arrow Lakes made the water route unreliable for several months of the year. This favored Revelstoke for non-mining traffic. Shallow-draft sternwheelers frequented this important hub. From 1895, the Nakusp and Slocan Railway brought ore northwestward to Nakusp from the inland mines.

The Community of Nakusp, British Columbia

In 1892, a post office, general store, and sawmill opened in Nakusp. The townsite subdivision, developed by A.E. Hodgins and Frank Fletcher, began selling building lots the following year. A school was established in 1895 and a church in 1898. Electric power arrived in 1920. Nakusp was incorporated as a village in 1964. The reservoir for the Keenleyside Dam submerged the former waterfront area in 1968, necessitating some reconstruction.

Industry in Nakusp, British Columbia

Mining used to be the most important industry in the area. By the early 1930s, a CP shipyard, forestry headquarters, and two sawmills operated. Surrounding lands were farmed. Since the 1950s, forestry has formed the major economic base for the village.

Nakusp Hot Springs Resort, British Columbia

Located about 14 kilometers northeast of the village up the Kuskanax Valley, the Nakusp Hot Springs Resort is a popular attraction. The resort, designed by Saskatchewan architect Clifford Wiens, includes four cedar chalets in a narrow A-frame design. The pool's water is piped in from the source of the springs half a mile away.

Services in Nakusp, British Columbia

The Nakusp recreational center comprises an ice rink, squash court, curling rink, auditorium, outdoor tennis courts, and a soccer field around a five-hectare park. Arrow Lakes Hospital serves the village and surrounding communities. There is an elementary school, a high school, and a campus of Selkirk College.

Culture in Nakusp, British Columbia

Nakusp is home to a community radio station, CJHQ-FM, and a small library and museum containing numerous local historical artifacts of the indigenous and settler communities of the region. In 2004, the village held its first Nakusp Music Fest, which proved to be a popular attraction.

Climate of Nakusp, British Columbia

Nakusp has a humid continental climate (Dfb) or an inland oceanic climate (Cfb) depending on the isotherm used. The town experiences pleasantly warm summer days coupled with cool nights and moderately cold, snowy winters with annual snowfall averaging 66 inches (168 cm).