Physical Setting

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The Village of Hazelton lies approximately midway between the cities of Prince Rupert and Prince George, in the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine, just seven kilometres north on Highway 62 from the busy road and rail corridor of the Trans Canada Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16). There are nine more communities in the  immediate area of the Village of Hazelton. Besides New and South Hazelton these are the Gitksan communities of Gitanmaax, Kispiox, Glen Vowell, Gitsegukla, Kitwanga and Gitanyow, and the Wet’Suwet’en community of Hagwilget..

map to hazelton
Source: Google Maps

Residents of the Village of Hazelton enjoy a rare connection to the natural world. Rising just west of the community of Smithers, the Rocher Déboulé range rises to the stunning Hagwilget Peak that towers 2,076 metres (6,811 feet) above the Village of Hazelton. This watershed is a famous fishing destination, particularly known for its salmon and steelhead trout, and the area abounds in walking and hiking trails with varying levels of difficulty. Hazelton has humid continental climate. Winters are cold, but tempered by the mild pacific air. The average low in January is -8.9 °C (16.0 °F) and average high in July is 23.3 °C (73.9 °F). Average annual precipitation is 614 mm.

Skeena river
The Skeena River

All essential services can be found right in the village, with a full range of amenities available in the nearby communities of New Hazelton, Terrace and Smithers. Residents enjoy a quiet lifestyle which trades certain limitations for increased independence. For example, accommodation is limited to a full service campground at Gitanmaax, though a range of accommodations can be found nearby at New Hazelton. The Village of Hazelton also offers a wide variety of residential and commercial properties, ranging from historic buildings in the downtown core to fully modern developments along the commercial and institutional corridor along Highway 62 as it enters Old Hazelton.

The area around Hazelton features many famous attractions. To reach the community from the Yellowhead Highway, visitors cross the famous Hagwilget Canyon bridge over the Bulkley River. The first bridge here was built by the neighbouring Wet’suwet’en people, and stretched 46 metres (150 feet) long and 30 metres (100 feet) above the river. For their second bridge, the Wet’suewt’en used leftover materials from the abandoned Collins Overland Telegraph. The present Hagwilget Bridge was the highest bridge in Canada at the time of its completion in 1931, stretching 140 metres (460 feet) and 80 metres (262 feet) above the river, and was one of the last single-lane bridges built in Canada.

‘Ksan Historical Village lies at Gitanmaax, at the confluence of the Skeena and Bulkley rivers next to the Village of Hazelton. ‘Ksan grew from a museum founded at Hazelton in 1959, and the present reconstruction of a traditional Gitksan village opened in 1970. ‘Ksan features several significant Gitksan totem poles, and modern versions of traditional longhouses featuring displays that explore the living culture of the Gitksan people through the exhibit of their cultural treasures.

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