— Photo courtesy Cliff Razzo, 3 of 5Dealing with an excess of snow is an annual challenge in the Kootenay pass. Using this pass, Blakiston re-crossed the divide, travelling along Blakiston (Pass) Creek and out to a chain of three large lakes. PURPOSE OF THE KOOTENAY COLUMBIA EDUCATIONAL HERITAGE SOCIETY. His job has him driving highways during storms and discussing improvement strategies with government—all in the interest of making sure people can move safely and efficiently through the province. The Kootenay Pass is a popular backcountry recreation area through access to Stag Leap Provincial Park in addition to being an important Highway 3 corridor and shipping route. Blakiston instead entered North Kootenay Pass, crossing the Continental Divide into what is now British Columbia and Montana (Tobacco Plains). [The Mountains and the Sky -Glenbow]. Capt. David Thompson, who was exploring a route to the Pacific, was the first European to travel through the area. In 1917, a campground was cleared near Cameron Falls. He had reached the Kootenay River Valley by way of North Kootenay Pass. “Kootenay Pass is unique as the ministry has installed 23 Gazex cannons above the highway in the start zones of the avalanche paths," Razzo said. Kootenay National Park With diverse terrain embracing everything from arid grasslands to glaciers, Kootenay National Park offers the full Rocky Mountain experience along the historic Banff-Windermere Highway. Waterton Townsite — Cliff Razzo photo, 5 of 5Yes, that is a lot of snow. In 1904, the Western Coal and Oil Company from Vancouver drilled for oil near Cameron Falls, striking a flow of one barrel/day. — Cliff Razzo photo. On October 13, 1963, a ribbon was cut at the top of the Kootenay Pass summit by W.B. Mining The Society is an initiative of the West Kootenay Branch of the BC Retired Teachers Association. “Kootenay Pass is unique as the ministry has installed 23 Gazex cannons above the highway in the start zones of the avalanche paths," Razzo said. It seeped from oil-bearing Cretaceous rocks buried to great depths by the Lewis Overthrust. Waterton was the site of western Canada's first producing oil well, the second in all of Canada. It would be wise to pay attention to Razzo. His life there included trading, hunting, ranching, guiding and fishing. Reaching the area of the Crowsnest Pass, he asked his native guide what lay down the valley. The next year, Jack Hazzard built the first hotel in the Townsite, E. Haug, Sr., built a dancehall and the first passenger launch (4 HP) began operating on Upper Waterton Lake. The steam paddle wheeler, “Gertrude,” which had originally been used as a work boat for a nearby sawmill, served as a passenger boat, was tied in Emerald Bay for use as a tea house and then sunk in the bay (it is presently a popular scuba-diving attraction). SOUTH KOOTENAY PASS. It’s a team effort, said Razzo, to keep traffic flowing over Canada’s highest winter pass. Consequently, Blakiston missed the lowest and best pass in the Canadian Rockies for a railway. The Kootenay have lived in this area for over 10,000 years. Tammy Hardwick with the Creston Valley Museum was instrumental in organizing the event and attendees had the opportunity to view displays from the museum along with some from Yellowhead Road and Bridge (Kootenay), the Kootenay Pass Snow Avalanche Program, BC Parks, the Creston Valley Quad Squad and Wildsight. Still, the elevation and terrain create an ongoing challenge over the winter months. Of South Kootenay Pass, Part I of the Boundary Commission Report published in 1917 reads as follows: "This so-called pass is merely a lower elevation of the watershed ridge and there is no distinct gap. ", The official artist accompanying the 1857-1861 international boundary survey was James M. Alden. The Gazex system is a combination of oxygen and propane gases that are ignited in the cannon, which produces an explosion. By 1924 the park had a stable, bunkhouse, a garage, a warehouse, a granary, an incinerator, a blacksmith shop, hay barns, government buildings, post office, telephone building, a hotel, cottages for rent, rooming house, restaurant, dancehall, two general stores, RCMP station, playgrounds, tennis courts, golf course, rowboats, gas motor launches, saddle and packhorse outfits and many summer cottages. The best piece of advice that Razzo offers to motorists is to be sure they drive to current road conditions. Blakiston does not appear to have been aware of the existance of Akamina Pass and, believing that the pass in question was next to the Internatinal Boundary, also, perhaps, because its western approach crossed that boundary, gave it the name of Boundary Pass in his report to Capt. There, Blakiston met a tribe of Kutenai who told him of the South Kootenay Pass. Although he did not actually pass through what is now the park, he wintered at Kootenai House close by. At that time, he vowed he would return to this place of scenic spendour, “for this is what I have seen in my dreams, this is the country for me.”. Had he discovered it, this may have changed the history of the west and national parks! The Kootenay Columbia Educational Heritage Society was incorporated in 2005. A well spoken and educated man, Brown first saw Waterton in 1865 after traveling over the South Kootenay Pass. In 1869, after marrying Olivia Lyonnais (a Métis girl), Brown (former army ensign, deckhand and gold prospector) embarked on a series of careers, including riding pony express, scouting for General Custer and hunting buffalo and wolf. He named the lakes Waterton Lakes to honour the British naturalist Charles Waterton. Another great resource for Canadians as they prepare to deal with cold-weather driving is Shift into Winter, a program through the Ministry of Transportation along with its partners. Long before, the Kootenai had discovered the presence and medicinal value of oil seepages along Cameron Creek. Later a passenger launch called the “Linnae” (capacity 75 passengers) was launched on Upper Waterton lake. Kootenai elders pass down the history of the beginning of time, which tells that the Kootenai people were created by Quilxka Nupika, the supreme being, and placed on earth to keep the Creator-Spirit’s Covenant – to guard and keep the land forever. 1 of 5A team of professionals work hard every year to make sure the Kootenay Pass stays open. Originally a member of the Palliser Expedition, Blakiston, after several disagreements, continued on his own. In addition, crews will conduct helicopter bombing missions to reduce the instabilities that may exist deeper in the snowpack. The Gazex system is a combination of oxygen and propane gases that are ignited in the cannon, which produces an explosion. Road and weather conditions, including planned closures, can be found on the DriveBC website or on Twitter @DriveBC. Another notable person to visit the Waterton Lakes area was John George “Kootenai” Brown. Coppermine Creek is named for that claim. Now, 50 years later, the Kootenay Pass is still the highest highway in Canada that remains open throughout the year. The Kootenay Pass remains one of the highest-elevation mountain passes in Canada that’s open year-round, although it is often closed for avalanche control in the winter. Other attempts were made until the 1930s. Human History . Born in Ireland in 1839, Brown served with the British Army in India before coming to North America. T. Blakison in 1958 on his return from a visit to the "Kootanie" Indians at Tobacco Plains. Thomas Blakiston returned to the prairies via this pass in the fall of 1858. North Kootenay Pass is a pass in Alberta and has an elevation of 2067 metres. The Buffalo Cow Trail’s high, mild slopes of South Kootenay Pass and the low Akamina Pass were used by those who walked before the people of today in their pursuit of life- sustaining buffalo. During his service on the commission he completed 66 water colours including one entitled, "Kishinena Pass." The tourism industry had arrived in Waterton. “I really enjoy the variety of issues that I encounter on a daily basis,” said Razzo. In 1908, in the Blakiston Valley of Waterton Lakes National Park, traces of copper were found and a small claim was worked for a short time. They were responsible for the first settlement in the present Waterton Townsite, constructing a cookhouse, bunkhouse, blacksmith shop, office, stable and engine room. Dreams of oil wealth soon dwindled and in 1910 the first cabin lots in the Waterton Townsite were surveyed (150 lots offered for leaseholds at $15/annum for waterfront lots and $10/annum for back lots). Black, MLA for Nelson and Creston, allowing 2,700 cars that had lined up to take advantage of the new transportation link between the East and West Kootenay. The rock of the park is too old to produce oil. View all of Kristen Mitchell’s articles, Pat Meerholz, co-owner of Wynndel Craft Distilleries in Creston Valley, B.C., handcrafts award-winning brandy, gin, rum, vodka, liqueur and schnapps, Throughout the East Kootenay area, local farms and food producers sell directly to the public through roadside stands and farmgate sales, We’ve compiled a list of retail, takeout, delivery and professional service businesses that you can support in Creston, Kootenay Entrepreneur :: Danielle Cameron, Wynndel Craft Distilleries creates award-winning spirits in Creston Valley, At the farm gate: Fresh food, flowers, fine wine and fanciful wares for sale at East Kootenay farms. After the park was established as Canada’s fourth national park in 1895, Brown became the first game guardian, fisheries officer, and later the Forest Ranger in Charge. Travelling south, Blakiston was particularly interested in finding a railway pass through the mountains. She now brings her understanding of the area to Kootenay Business magazine. "Technicians are able to remotely detonate avalanches day or night. — Cliff Razzo photo, 4 of 5So this is what goes on when the Kootenay Pass closes for avalanche control. Had he discovered it, this may have changed the history of the west and national parks! A cavalcade of classic cars with RCMP escort, speeches and a ribbon-cutting ceremony rounded out the celebration. In 1858, the first unquestionable visit to Waterton Lakes by a European was made by Lt. Thomas Blakiston. Snow tires or chains are required from October 1 to April 30 each year. Oil Exploration He had reached the Kootenay River Valley by way of North Kootenay Pass. It appears on Palliser's map (1863) as "Boundary Pass" and has since been shown on all published maps of the vicinity as South Kootenay Pass. Combined with amazing sights and photographic opportunities, Razzo looks forward to helping drivers continue to get to their destination intact. With about 10 metres of snow annually, and an average snowpack of three metres, it’s a remarkable task. When snow and weather conditions create instabilities in the snowpack above the highway, the avalanche technician will close the highway for short periods of time to conduct avalanche control. Blakiston instead entered North Kootenay Pass, crossing the Continental Divide into what is now British Columbia and Montana (Tobacco Plains). The significance it has acquired as a pass is probably due to its being a route of travel of the "Kootanie" Indians when on their way to the prairies of Alberta to hunt buffalo, who preferred it to the North Kootenay Pass when they had heavily loaded pack animals, on account of its easier slopes of approach; also to the fact that it was traversed by Capt.