Why Was the River Designated?
The Cowichan River’s impressive natural, cultural and recreational values secured its nomination to the Canadian Heritage Rivers System in 1997 and subsequent designation in 2003. The 47 km river originates in Lake Cowichan in southwestern Vancouver Island, travelling through the moist Coastal Western Hemlock biogeoclimatic zone to the drier maritime Coastal Douglas Fir zone and several pockets of rare pristine Garry Oak areas, before emptying into the Cowichan Bay estuary. The homeland of the Cowichan Tribes (Quw’utsun Mustimhw), the river remains important to them to this day. A popular tourism destination. Cowichan River, also known as Quw’utsun River, is renowned for nature viewing, paddling, fishing, as well as for great footpaths.