Here’s a fun little fact about this great province of ours that you may not have known. A remote region located in northern BC has a pretty crazy claim to make- it’s home to the last known volcanic eruption in Canada. Here’s the story behind Anhluut’ukwsim Laxmihl Angwinga’asanskwhl Nisga’a (a.k.a. Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park).
While the park was only officially recognized back in 1992, it’s held significance to local Indigenous culture for thousands of years. There are now five remaining Indigenous communities nearby, 4 of which are part of the Nisga’a Nation. Importantly, they’re also the ones behind its stories.
Around 250 years ago, the Tseax Cone (a young volcano in the park) erupted, wiping out two nearby towns and causing an estimated 2,000 deaths. Thanks to the oral history of the Nisga’a Nation, this account has been verified by the Canadian government, becoming the only place in the country with the unique distinction.
Touring the Park
It’s pretty easy to see for yourself too, if you can get there. Located north of Terrace and in one of BC’s most remote areas, this park is definitely for the seasoned road trippers. Since it’s around 17 hours from Vancouver (yikes), your best bet is probably a plane/ferry trip up the coast instead. Once you’re there, though, you’ll be treated to one of Canada’s most surreal landscapes.
There are no less than five distinct remnants of the eruption, ranging from the classic, glossy lava flows to stuff we didn’t even know existed, like the empty ‘tree casts’ where trunks actually burned holes into the lava. This isn’t a small area to explore, either- the flow stretches over 22km, and reaches up to 12m high.
While guests can explore most parts of the park, a trip to the cone itself requires a guided tour, which are available weekly. These guys, if you’re curious, are run by Nass Valley Tours, which is a local, Indigenous-owned company that’s also responsible for the park itself.
Well folks, there you have it. Turns out, BC is home to the last known volcanic eruption in Canada, and you can visit it yourself! Please make sure to consult local and provincial travel guidelines, and book any tours in advance!