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The Peace River Country (or Peace Country; french: Région de la Rivière-de-la-paix) is an
aspen parkland Aspen parkland refers to a very large area of transitional biome between prairie Wheatfield intersection in the Southern Saskatchewan prairies, Canada. Prairies are ecosystem An ecosystem is a community (ecology), community of living ...
region centring on the
Peace River The Peace River (french: links=no, rivière de la Paix) is a river in Canada that originates in the Rocky Mountains of northern British Columbia and flows to the northeast through northern Alberta. The Peace River joins the Athabasca River in th ...
in
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
. It extends from northwestern
Alberta ("Strong and free") , image_map = Alberta in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English , capital = Edmonton Edmonton ( ) is the capital ...

Alberta
to the
Rocky Mountains The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with simila ...

Rocky Mountains
in northeastern
British Columbia ( en, Splendour without diminishment) , image_map = British Columbia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = None , Slogan = Beautiful British C ...

British Columbia
, where a certain portion of the region is also referred to as the
Peace River BlockThe Peace River Block is an area of land located in northeastern British Columbia ( en, Splendour without diminishment) , image_map = British Columbia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , ...
.


Geography

The Peace River Country includes the incorporated communities of
Fort St. John
Fort St. John
,
Dawson Creek Dawson Creek is a city in northeastern British Columbia ( en, Splendour without diminishment) , image_map = British Columbia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang ...
,
Tumbler Ridge Tumbler Ridge is a district municipality A district municipality is a designation for a class of municipalities A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , co ...
and Chetwynd in British Columbia. Major communities in the Alberta portion of the Peace Country include
Grande Prairie Grande Prairie is a city in northwest The points of the compass are an evenly spaced set of Vertical and horizontal, horizontal directions (or Azimuth#In navigation, azimuths) used in navigation and geography. A compass rose is primarily compo ...
,
Peace River The Peace River (french: links=no, rivière de la Paix) is a river in Canada that originates in the Rocky Mountains of northern British Columbia and flows to the northeast through northern Alberta. The Peace River joins the Athabasca River in th ...
,
High Level High Level is a town in Northern Alberta, Canada. It is located at the intersection of the Mackenzie Highway (Highway 35) and Alberta Highway 58, Highway 58, approximately north of Edmonton and south of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. High L ...
and Fairview. It has no fixed boundaries but covers some 260,000 to 390,000 km² (100,000 to 150,000 square miles). In British Columbia, the area extends from
Monkman Provincial Park Monkman Provincial Park is a provincial park Ischigualasto Provincial Park A provincial park (or territorial park) is a park administered by one of the provinces of a country, as opposed to a national park. They are similar to state parks in other ...
and Tumbler Ridge in the south, to
Hudson's Hope Hudson's Hope is a district municipality A district municipality is a designation for a class of municipalities found in several locations, including Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and terr ...
and the
Williston Lake Williston Lake is a reservoir A reservoir (; from French ''réservoir'' ) is most commonly an enlarged natural or artificial lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land Land is the solid s ...
in the west, to Fort St. John and Charlie Lake in the north. The term is used also in a broader sense to mean the whole of the Northeastern Interior past the Rockies, including
Fort Nelson A fortification is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, ...
and other parts of the
Liard drainage
Liard drainage
, and before W.A.C. Bennett Dam included the upper Peace River through its canyon between
Finlay Forks Finlay Forks (also called Finlay Junction and sometimes misspelt Findlay), is the confluence of the Finlay River and Parsnip River. The Finlay Bay Recreation Site, on the southeast bank, is about southeast of the former settlement (on the earlier s ...
and Hudson's Hope. In Alberta, the region stretches from Grande Prairie and Valleyview in the south, to
High Prairie High Prairie is a town in northern Alberta, Canada within Big Lakes County. It is located at the junction of Alberta Highway 2, Highway 2 and Alberta Highway 749, Highway 749, approximately northeast of Valleyview, Alberta, Valleyview and wes ...
and
Lesser Slave Lake Lesser Slave Lake (french: Petit lac des Esclaves), known traditionally as ᐊᔭᐦᒋᔨᓂᐤ ᓵᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ ayahciyiniw sâkahikan in the Plains Cree language, and T’saatine nda ghe’in’deh in Slavey language, Dehcho Dene Zhatıé is ...
in the east, to
Fort Vermilion Fort Vermilion is a hamlet ''The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark'', often shortened to ''Hamlet'' (), is a tragedy Tragedy (from the grc-gre, τραγῳδία, ''tragōidia'', ''tragōidia'') is a genre of drama Dra ...
, High Level and Rainbow Lake in the north.


History

The first European to explore the area was Sir Alexander MacKenzie, who travelled down the Peace in 1789 and eventually reached the
Mackenzie River The Mackenzie River (Slavey language, Slavey: ' èh tʃʰò ''literally'' big river; Inuvialuktun: ' uːkpɑk''literally'' great river; French: ) is a river in the Canadian boreal forest. It forms, along with the Slave, Peace, and Finlay ...

Mackenzie River
and the
Arctic Ocean The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major s. It spans an area of approximately and is also known as the coldest of all the oceans. The (IHO) recognizes it as an ocean, although some call it the Arctic Medit ...

Arctic Ocean
. In 1793 he used the same route to reach the
Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. ...

Pacific Ocean
. Subsequently, the region saw a surge in the
fur trade The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur Fur is a thick growth of hair Hair is a protein filament In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organi ...
, with forts built along the river from Fort Vermilion to Hudson's Hope. At the beginning of the 20th century, the
farming Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

farming
potential of the area was advertised by the federal government, but a settlement was scarce because of difficult travel conditions through the
muskeg Muskeg (Ojibwe The Ojibwe, Ojibwa, Chippewa, or Saulteaux are an Anishinaabe The Anishinaabe are a group of culturally related Indigenous peoples resident in what are now called Canada and the United States. They include the Odawa, Sau ...
. With the arrival of the railway in 1916, and following the opening of land for homesteaders in 1910, farming and ranching took off in the fertile Peace Country. The settlement of the British Columbia portion of the agricultural area, known as the Peace River Block, originated as a railway grant which wound up for a time under Dominion jurisdiction and managed by offices in Alberta until returned to British Columbia following ongoing jurisdictional conflicts. Forestry plays a large role in the Peace Country economy. Pulp mills were built in Chetwynd, Peace River and Grande Prairie beginning in the 1970s. The economy received another boost when
oil and gas A fossil fuel is a hydrocarbon In organic chemistry Organic chemistry is a branch of chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and ...
were found in the region. In 1952,
gas Gas is one of the four fundamental states of matter In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space ...

gas
was struck in the Fort St. John No. 1 well, and the first refinery was built in 1957 at
Taylor Taylor, Taylors or Taylor's may refer to: People * Taylor (surname) **List of people with surname Taylor * Taylor (given name), including Tayla and Taylah * Taylor sept, a branch of Scottish clan Cameron * Justice Taylor (disambiguation) Plac ...
. The massive Elmworth natural gas field in northwestern Alberta was discovered in the mid-70s along with other major gas fields in British Columbia and Alberta. Both Fort St. John and Grande Prairie experienced rapid economic and population growth as a result.


Economy

Peace Country contains Canada's northernmost lands suitable for
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

agriculture
. Crops raised include
canola Canola oil is a vegetable oil Vegetable oils, or vegetable fats, are oil An oil is any nonpolar In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science th ...

canola
, oats, peas, and barley. Some
cattle Cattle, taurine cattle, Eurasian cattle, or European cattle (''Bos taurus'' or ''Bos primigenius taurus'') are large domestication, domesticated Cloven hoof, cloven-hooved herbivores. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae ...

cattle
ranching and
beekeeping Beekeeping (or apiculture) is the maintenance of bee Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, known for their role in pollination and, in the case of the best-known bee species, the western honey bee, for producing honey ...

beekeeping
is also done in the area. In 2006, the region accounted for 14.4% of Canada's total bison-producing herd. Other industries include oil and gas extraction and
forestry Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, planting, using, conserving and repairing forest A forest is an area of land dominated by tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, ste ...
. Lumber,
oriented strand board Oriented strand board (OSB) is a type of engineered wood Engineered wood, also called mass timber, composite wood, man-made wood, or manufactured board, includes a range of derivative wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue ...
, and pulp are produced in many forestry mills throughout the region.


Infrastructure

Peace Country is crossed by the southern leg of the
Alaska Highway