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Quesnel River

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Title: Quesnel River  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Quesnel Lake, Bonaparte Plateau, Cottonwood River Provincial Park, Cariboo, Lake Oesa
Collection: History of British Columbia, Rivers of the Cariboo, Tributaries of the Fraser River
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Quesnel River

Quesnel River
Mule train at the Quesnel River 1868
Country Canada
Province British Columbia
 - right Mitchell River (Quesnel River)
Source Quesnel Lake
 - location Likely, British Columbia
 - elevation 724 m (2,375 ft) [1]
 - coordinates  [2]
Mouth Fraser River
 - location Quesnel
 - elevation 468 m (1,535 ft) [1]
 - coordinates  [3]
Length 100 km (62 mi)
Basin 11,500 km2 (4,440 sq mi) [4]
Discharge for near Quesnel
 - average 238 m3/s (8,405 cu ft/s) [5]
 - max 1,140 m3/s (40,259 cu ft/s)
 - min 27.8 m3/s (982 cu ft/s)

The Quesnel River is a major tributary of the Fraser River in the Cariboo District of central British Columbia.[3] It begins at the outflow of Quesnel Lake, at the town of Likely and flows for about 100 kilometres (60 mi) northwest to its confluence with the Fraser at the city of Quesnel.


  • History 1
  • Natural history 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4


Just downstream from the outlet of Quesnel Lake, at the confluence of the Cariboo River, is the historically important ghost town of Quesnel Forks, aka "the Forks", which was a junction point of the Quesnel and Cariboo Rivers. Various trails and wagon roads leading to the Cariboo goldfields lay across the low-hill range north of Quesnel Forks in the basin of the Cottonwood River. Both the Lillooet to Fort Alexandria wagon road and the later Cariboo Wagon Road came by Quesnel Forks but preferred to follow the valley of the Quesnel River to Quesnel and then east from there to the gold towns of Barkerville and Wells.

The river took its name from Jules-Maurice Quesnel, who explored this region with Simon Fraser in the early 19th century.

Natural history

The Quesnel River supports a number of fish species, the most significant of which are Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), Largescale sucker (Catostomus macrocheilus), Longnose sucker (Catostomus catostomus), Redside shiner (Richardsonius balteatus), Northern pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus oregonensis), Peamouth chub (Mylocheilus caurinus), and Lake chub (Couesius plumbeus).[6]

The salmon run of sockeye salmon experienced a major recovery in the late 20th century, sometimes surpassing the Adams River as the greatest sockeye producer in the Fraser basin.[6] However, the river, wildlife, and nearby water sources is threatened by 10 million cubic meters of contaminated mine waste that escaped in August 2014.[7]

See also


  1. ^ a b Elevation derived from ASTER Global Digital Elevation Model, using GeoLocator, and BCGNIS coordinates.
  2. ^ Outlet of Quesnel Lake.
  3. ^ a b "Quesnel River".  
  4. ^ Benke, Arthur C.; Cushing, Colbert E. (2009). Field Guide to Rivers of North America. Academic Press. p. 312.  
  5. ^ "Archived Hydrometric Data Search". Water Survey of Canada. Retrieved 4 August 2013.  Search for Station 08KH006 Quesnel River near Quesnel
  6. ^ a b Benke, Arthur C.; Cushing, Colbert E. (2009). Field Guide to Rivers of North America. Academic Press. pp. 312–313.  
  7. ^
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