230 million years ago what are now the summits of the Rocky Mountains near Tumbler Ridge formed the bottom of the ocean floor that surrounded a massive continent. These seas teemed with fish and reptiles, including giant ichthyosaurs that were among the largest creatures to ever inhabit the Earth.
Fast forward to 100 – 75 million years ago, when what is now the Tumbler Ridge area was filled with swampy coastal forests. These forests ultimately became the coal for which the area is famous. The beaches and swamps preserved the footprints of the dinosaurs that roamed in the forests. Wonderfully, some of the bones of these great creatures have also survived.
These are just two of the highlights in the Cambrian (540 million years ago) to Cretaceous (75 million years ago) story that are told in the Tumbler Ridge and Peace Region rocks. In the 1920s superb dinosaur trackways were discovered in the Peace Canyon upstream from Hudson’s Hope. These were submerged under the waters of the two massive dams that were built in the 1960’s and 1970’s. In the 1940’s, the first discovery of the fossil fishes on the mountaintops was made. Typically, expeditions from institutions outside British Columbia would research such sites, and the resulting specimens grace the halls of some of the world’s greatest museums.