Hudson's Hope Tourist Attractions
Hudson's Hope (520 m / 1707 ft) is one of the oldest settlements in British Columbia. A small trapper post was established here on Peace River as long ago as 1805. Whether Hudson's Hope got its name from a hopeful prospector by the name of Hudson, or because the Hudson's Bay Company was trying to steal a march on its rival the North West Company, it is too late to tell. Nowadays most of the people living here on the edge of the wilderness work for the two power stations at the Bennett and Peace Canyon dams. These produce just under 40 per cent of British Columbia's hydro-electric power.From the highway it is possible to see black bears (often scavenging on the local rubbish tip), white-headed sea-eagles, moose and deer.The little museum on the north bank of the Peace River vividly conveys the history of the region, and tells of the dinosaurs whose bones and footprints have been found in the sedimentary rocks of the Peace River Canyon, now flooded. Visitors can obtain pans in the museum to try their luck at panning for gold in the Peace River.Next to the museum stands St Peter's Church, built in a simple log-cabin style.
W.A.C. Bennett Dam
The W.A.C. Bennett Dam, one of the world's biggest earth-filled dams, is 24 km (15 mi.) west of Hudson's Hope and reached via a scenic side-road. The W.A.C. Bennett Dam, which is 2 km (11/4 mi.) long, 183 m (601 ft) high, and up to 830 m (2724 ft) thick at its base, was completed in 1967 and holds back the 362 km (225 mi.)-long Williston Lake in the Rocky Mountain Trench. Until recently, the 1646sq.km/635sq.mile artificial lake had hardly been opened up for tourism, but more and more water-sports enthusiasts are now making their way here. Anglers can charter boats as well. The W.A.C. Bennett Dam Visitor Center gives information about hydro-electric power generation and the construction of the enormous dam, and on working days there are guided tours of the power station. Open Victoria Day-Labor Day. From May to September there is a good view of it from a lookout point on the west side of the dam.From Hudson's Hope the highway follows the Peace River north wards, mostly high above the steep banks, and after 76 km (47 mi.) reaches the Alaska Highway 13 km (8 mi.) north of Fort St John.
Peace Canyon Dam
About 5 km (3 mi.) south of Hudson's Hope, Peace Canyon Dam, 50 m (164 ft) high, and 533 m (1749 ft) long, dams up Peace River for a second time, where it leaves the canyon, 23 km (14 mi.) below Bennett Dam. In the Peace Canyon Dam Visitor Center next to the power station, more exhibitions tell of the natural history of the region and the history of its settlement. These include life-size models of dinosaurs, a reconstructed stern-wheel steamer, that used to ply on the Peace River, and a model of a dam and power station. The power station can be visited by arrangement.
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