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The turbulent history of Hell's Gate

A-Airtram + fishwaysHells Gate, a 35-meter wide passage through the Fraser River near Boston Bar, has a turbulent history.

For generations, the indigenous population around this place relied heavily on salmon fishing.

In 1914, during construction work on a railway line, part of the mountainside collapsed and blocked the passage. This accident had serious consequences for salmon that were trying to return upstream to their place of birth in order to spawn there.

A small passage was created one year after the accident, but millions of salmon were no longer able to pass the barrier formed by Hells Gate. This led to a major political quarrel about the size of salmon quotas.




The airtram above Hells Gate provides a good view of the fishways that provide salmon with free passage

B-Ing. bij model


The creation of fishways started in 1944. These tunnel passageways along both banks of the river provide salmon with an unhindered passage. It was in the nineteen-seventies that Hells Gate started to develop as a tourist attraction.                               


An engineer testing a model of the 'fishways' 

C-bouw fisways




The name Hells Gate is based on a quote from the explorer Simon Fraser. In a travel report of his first boat trip on the Fraser River in 1808, he described the narrow passage near Boston Bar as a place where no human should venture, for surely these are the gates of hell.





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