Located in a truly lovely forest setting beside a creek in Kleanza Creek Canyon, Kleanza Creek Provincial Park runs along one side of the Skeena River and both sides of Kleanza Creek. Hiking trails lead to views of the canyon and abandoned gold mines.
The Bornite Mountain Trail (easy; 2.5 miles/4 km return) begins in Kleanza Creek Provincial Park, and follows an old mining road to the site of an abandoned placer gold operation. Along the way, hikers get a view down into the Kleanza Creek Canyon.
Migrating pink (humpback) salmon may be seen each fall as they spawn in Kleanza Creek, completing their life cycle that began two years previously in the same spot. The annual salmon spawning run in Kleanza Creek begins in October and lasts through December. The transformation of their body colouring and shape, as well as their fervour and determination, make this event both vivid and poignant.
Kleanza means gold in the Gitxsan language and it was this metal that influenced the early history of the park site. Placer mining for gold was first carried out on the creek in the late 1890s when men shoveled gravel from the bars into sluice boxes. This process proved unsatisfactory because there was too much water in the creek and the bedrock was too deep for handwork. Remains of the Cassiar Hydraulic Mining Company operations can be found above the beautiful rock canyon.
Kleanza is one of the words associated with eulachon. In March and April, eulachon run in the mouth of the Skeena River. Basalt Creek, in particular, offers good viewing. Turn off of Hwy 16 about 12 miles (20 km) east of Prince Rupert. This is a great opportunity to also watch the seals, sea lions, eagles, and gulls in the hundreds, which gather to feed on the small, silvery fish. Eulachon contain so much oil that they are easily ignited once dried. Try cooking one over a campfire on a thin, sharpened stick the same way that you’d cook a hotdog: they are so tasty that you can eat the whole fish, bones and all.
Kleanza Creek Provincial Park (269 hectares) provides 32 vehicle/tent campsites and a picnic/day use area. Ideally suited for picnics, the park’s facilities include water and pit toilets. The park is open from May to September and fees are collected during this time. There is a gate and it is locked from 11:00 pm to 7:00 am. Pay phones are not available. The nearest store is approximately 15 km away.
Kleanza Creek Provincial Park is located 12 miles (19 km) east of Terrace on Highway 16.
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