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Central Coast
Regional District

Bella Coola Valley

The unincorporated community of Bella Coola is located at the mouth of the Bella Coola River, on North Bentinck Arm, which is about 13 km west of the airport via Highway 20. The community of Hagensborg is located 4 km east of the airport. The headwater of the Bella Coola River is the junction of the Atnarko and Talchako rivers located in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, approximately 32 km east of the airport.

The Bella Coola Valley is the only land area within the Central Coast Regional District that is accessible by road. It is one of the province´s three access points to the Pacific Ocean from the interior of the province. Highway 20 extends from Williams Lake, some 450 km to the east and winds its way across the open fields of the Chilcotin plateau before dropping down into the adventurous, lush and beautiful Bella Coola valley.
Bella Coola Photo Credit: Michael Wigle
Bella Coola Photo Credit: Michael Wigle
The valley is easily accessible by air  with scheduled daily flights (twice daily in the summer months) to and from Vancouver.  Ferry service is also  provided regularly from May to September, between Bella Coola and Port Hardy.
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The community is rich in native history and culture given that the majority of the population consists of Nuxalk First Nations. The population of the valley is less than 1900 (2006 census). The Bella Coola community was settled in the late 1800s by a group of Norwegian colonists who found the similarity to the fjords of Norway agreeable.
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Bella Coola shares habitat with the black and grizzly bears, eagles, salmon and whales. It boasts of spectacular mountain scenery, of rivers, trees and wildlife. A stunning wilderness setting, with a taste of civilization and essential amenities, Bella Coola is paradise.
Outdoor recreational opportunities abound with a variety of areas to be explored.
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The community provides excellent health care at a general hospital. Education services are provided through schools offering pre-kindergarten through grade 12 as well as post secondary classes and courses. A full range of grocery, hardware and general retail stores and service stations is available. Local accommodations may be found by way of bed and breakfast establishments as well as inns, hotels, motels and privately owned campgrounds. The valley contains a public library, a travel agency, eateries, liquor store, two post offices, a full range of financial services provided by a credit union, a provincial government agent, an airport, harbour authority, local government offices, a seasonal visitor information centre, tourism association and an RCMP detachment. A local society provides high-speed internet services.

A former resource-based community dependent on the logging and fishing industries, Bella Coola´s economy is becoming more diversified with a profusion of entrepreneurial activity and an abundance of self-employed artisans. With the introduction of BC Ferries´ Discovery Coast Passage (Route 40) which provides service during the summer months, tourism-related industry is becoming more prevalent.

Opportunities may be found in small- and medium-sized entrepreneurial ventures, tourism development, fish processing and wildlife viewing. A locally-operated organization has recently secured community forest tenure.  Opportunities may also exist in value-added timber products. Reasonably priced residential and commercial real estate also provide opportunities for investment.
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