Adams River by Dan Hincks

Roderick Haig-Brown – Adams River

  • Located in the Shuswap area of the Interior
  • Acquired: 1976 to 1986
  • Size: 47.7 hectares (118 acres)
  • Online property map

Conservation Importance

The Adams River between Adams Lake and Shuswap Lake has one of the largest Sockeye salmon runs in North America. Every fourth year is a “dominant” salmon run with millions of fish (2022 is a dominant run). Although Sockeye is the most abundant salmon in the Adams River, with over two million fish in peak years, Chinook, Coho and Pink salmon also spawn here.

Cool water from Adams Lake flows through the deep gravel of the river channel and the braided channels in the delta. Salmon die after spawning, their remains flowing down into the warmer, shallow waters of Shuswap Lake. There they provide nutrients to the lake, creating an ideal nursery for emerging salmon fry.

Adams River Salmon Run by Dan Hincks

A rich diversity of riparian vegetation lines the waterways with stands of old cottonwoods, aspen, Douglas-fir, western redcedar, dogwood and rose. The area is home to numerous species of birds and mammals including White-tailed Deer, Black Bears, River Otters, Bald Eagles and Osprey.

The Adams River is also significant for local First Nation communities, as evidenced by over 50 cultural, heritage or archaeological sites recorded in the lower reaches of the river. Fish was dried and traded with other communities as far west as Alberta and as far south as present Washington State.

Access & Directions

The Nature Trust owns six properties within the Tsútswecw Provincial Park which is located on both sides of the Adams River, between Adams Lake and Shuswap Lake.

  • The entrance to this park is 5 kilometres from Squilax on the Squilax-Anglemont Highway.
  • To get to the main parking lot and information area: once at the intersection of Squilax and the TransCanada Highway, head north on the Squilax-Anglemont Road for 5.4 kilometres
  • Watch for signage

Note that damage from past flooding, combined with high water levels, has made some portions of the river bank dangerous. Please use caution along the river.

Keep all dogs out of the water! Ensure that nothing harasses the fish–they are extremely sensitive to any kind of disturbance, and dogs are perceived as a particular threat.

Walking by Adams River by Elaine Kennedy Oct 2018

Activities & Events

This is a fascinating place to visit at any time of year, but particularly in early October during the run of the Adams River sockeye salmon. The Adams River Salmon Society coordinates the celebration known as the “Salute to the Sockeye” during the dominant years.

There is a 26 km trail system in the park for hiking and mountain biking in the summer and cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.

Management & Stewardship

The six properties purchased by The Nature Trust acted as a catalyst to help protect the Adams River. These properties are leased to the Province and managed as part of the provincial park.

The area along the Adams River was declared the Adams River Recreation Area in 1977. In 1978 the name was changed to Roderick Haig-Brown Recreation Area and it became a Class A Provincial Park in 1991. Roderick Haig-Brown was a fisherman, writer, judge and Director of The Nature Trust of BC. In 2018 it was renamed Tsútswecw Provincial Park (Roderick Haig-Brown). The Secwepemc word “Tsútswecw” translates to “many rivers.”