Tumbler Ridge

Discover Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty

Tumbler Ridge, a district municipality nestled in the foothills of the B.C. Rockies in northeastern British Columbia, Canada, is a member municipality of the Peace River Regional District. With a population of 2,399 (2021) living in a townsite, the municipality spans an area of 1,558 km2 (602 sq mi) of mostly Crown land. The townsite is located near the confluence of the Murray River and Flatbed Creek and the intersection of Highway 52 and Highway 29. It includes the site of the Tumbler Ridge Secondary School and Tumbler Ridge Airport. It is part of the Peace River South provincial electoral district and the Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies federal riding.

The History of Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia

Archaeological evidence shows a human presence in Tumbler Ridge dating back 3,000 years. The nomadic Sekani, followed by the Dunneza and then the Cree, periodically lived in temporary settlements around the future municipality. Formal exploratory and surveying expeditions were conducted by S. Prescott Fay, with Robert Cross and Fred Brewster in 1914, J.C. Gwillim in 1919, Edmund Spieker in 1920, and John Holzworth in 1923. Spieker coined the name Tumbler Ridge, referring to the mountains northwest of the future town, by altering Gwillim's map that named them Tumbler Range.

Tumbler Ridge is a planned community with the housing and infrastructure construct built simultaneously in 1981 by the provincial government to service the coal industry as part of the British Columbia Resources Investment Corporation's Northeast Coal Development. In 1981, a consortium of Japanese steel mills agreed to purchase 100 million tonnes of coal over 15 years for US$7.5 billion from two mining companies, Denison Mines Inc. and the Teck Corporation, who were to operate the Quintette mine and the Bullmoose mine respectively.

Demographics of Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Tumbler Ridge had a population of 2,399 living in 1,093 of its 1,551 total private dwellings, a change of 20.7% from its 2016 population of 1,987. With a land area of 1,557.41 km2 (601.32 sq mi), it had a population density of 1.5/km2 (4.0/sq mi) in 2021. As of the 2021 Census, the municipality is 78% European, 14% Indigenous, 3% Filipino, 2% Black and 2% Chinese.

Geography and Climate of Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia

The townsite of Tumbler Ridge is located on a series of southern-facing gravel terraces on a ridge of Mount Bergeron, overlooking the confluence of the Murray and Wolverine Rivers. The site, above the floodplain of the Murray River, has well-drained soils with easy access to aquifers with potable water. The town experiences a continental climate. Arctic air masses move predominantly southwest from the Mackenzie Valley towards the Rocky Mountains and through the mountains north of town.

Infrastructure and Services in Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia

Two highways diverge from Highway 97 and intersect in Tumbler Ridge: Highway 52 (Heritage Highway) which runs 98 km (61 mi) south at Arras, and Highway 29 which runs 90 km (56 mi) southeast from Chetwynd. The unmanned Tumbler Ridge Airport, with its 1,219 m (4,000 ft) asphalt runway, is used by chartered and local flights. The closest airports with regularly scheduled flights are in Dawson Creek, Fort St John and Grande Prairie.

Culture, Recreation and Media in Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia

After dinosaur trackways were discovered in 2000, and bones in 2002, the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation began excavations and opened the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre. Fossils and bones are displayed at both locations. Tours and educational programs related to dinosaur, the trackways, and the wilderness are offered. In Fall 2014 Tumbler Ridge was designated a full member of UNESCO's Global Geopark Network. Comprising 7,822 km2, the geopark highlights the geological heritage of the area such as Cretaceous dinosaur tracks and bone bed and fossils of Triassic fishes and marine reptiles.

Tumbler Ridge's location among the Rocky Mountains has allowed for the development of numerous trail systems for motorized and non-motorized recreation. The trails and open areas span numerous mountains. Kinuseo Falls along the Murray River in the Monkman Provincial Park is the most popular destination for visitors to Tumbler Ridge. Two other provincial parks are just outside the municipal boundaries: Bearhole Lake Provincial Park and Gwillim Lake Provincial Park.

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