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The Bulkley Valley is the TRADITIONAL TERRITORY OF THE WET'SUWET'EN, who have lived here for countless generations. Their rich culture is seen and heard throughout the valley, the land that they have known and loved longer than memory can recount. Head 20 minutes west to WITSET for a CULTURAL TOUR, a MUSEUM VISIT and to witness the SPECTACULAR WITSET CANYON.

The story of the TOWN OF SMITHERS begins in 1913 with the coming of the RAILROAD. Learn more about it by taking the BULKLEY VALLEY MUSEUM’s SELF-GUIDE HISTORICAL WALKING TOUR (Cutlure Crawl) that will lead you through the streets of Smithers to some of our LANDMARKS, including HISTORICAL EXHIBITS in stores, cafés, a public garden and heritage buildings. Pick up your FREE GUIDE MAP at the Smithers VISITOR CENTRE or at the BV MUSEUM by Central Park and inquire about guided tours. Be sure to ask museum staff about the LOCAL FOSSIL BEDS, B-36 GUN TURRET, INVENTION OF THE EGG CARTON, and the MAIN STREET FIRES! You can also DOWNLOAD THE WALKING TOUR MAP or view it virtually on GOOGLE EARTH here.

Christine Namox, Madeline Dennis, Connie Tiljoe, Mary George and Madeline Alfred at Smithers, B.C. 25th anniversary celebration. Written on back of photo "Indian women at Smithers Birthday Celebration Aug 1938". Photo by Val Tomlinson, 1913. P3518, Bulkley Valley Museum visual record collection. 

Before lots were formally offered for sale, merchants and businesses such as druggist J. Mason Adams and the Union Bank began operating out of tents on the Smithers townsite. Photo by William W. Wrathall, 1913. P2599, Bulkley Valley Museum visual record collection. 

Land of the Wet’suwet’en

This land of the Wet’suwet’en stretches from Tweedsmuir Provincial Park in the south to Babine Lake in the north, to Fraser Lake in the east and to Hazelton in the west. Wet’suwet’en people inhabited this area when European settlers first arrived in the late 1800s and they live here still. The largest Wet’suwet’en community today is Witset (Moricetown) on the Widzin Kwah (Bulkley River). The village is situated on the banks of the river where it narrows to a spectacular gorge known as Widzin Kwah Canyon. Migrating salmon stop to rest in the calm waters downstream of the canyon and that abundance of salmon is what makes this an important fishing spot both historically and today.

Widzin Kwah (Moricetown) Canyonphoto: Community Futures 1637

See Widzin Kwah (Moricetown) Canyon

This is a must-see! The rush of the river as it squeezes through the gorge is mesmerizing. It can be heart-stopping to watch the Wet’suwet’en fishers out on the rocks, close to the exploding whitewater, plunging poles into the water to catch powerful salmon in dip nets. The river here can be loaded with salmon (springs or kings, coho, sockeye, pinks) and steelhead swimming upriver to spawning grounds on the Bulkley and Morice Rivers and their tributaries. Watch from above or walk the paths into the canyon. Be careful as you near the river—the rocks are slippery.

Widzin Kwah (Moricetown) Canyon. photo Walter Joseph

Fish at Idiot Rock

If you want to try your hand at fishing in Witset, your best bet is “Idiot Rock” just downstream of the canyon. You will need a valid BC angling licence which you can buy online or at fishing shops in Smithers.

Explore the Widzin Kwah Canyon House Museum

Widzin Kwah Diyik Be Yikh (Widzin Kwah Canyon House Museum) is directly above the canyon, featuring historical displays of traditional life and fishing methods, cultural artifacts, local arts and crafts and a gift shop with books and souvenirs. There is a fully serviced campground and RV Park here as well. Open May to October. For more info, call 250-877-5080 or visit www.witset.ca/camping

Wet’suwet’en singers & dancers at National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration. photo: Thomas Camus

Join a Wet’suwet’en Cultural Tour

Trained cultural tour guides can help deepen your appreciation of the Wet’suwet’en way of life. To book your Cultural Tour call 250-877-5080 or visit www.witset.ca/camping

Discover Wet’suwet’en Artwork around Downtown

A glimpse of Wet’suwet’en art can be seen around Smithers at the local Wet’suwet’en government office on First Avenue, as well as at BOVILL SQUARE on Main Street, and in the spectacular totem pole at the Coast Mountain College campus on 2nd Avenue.

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