Established over 120 years ago and incorporated in 1964, Nakusp has a rich long history of logging, mining, and of course of the famous sternwheelers, which can be explored by visiting the Nakusp Museum and the Arrow Lakes Historical Society’s archives. With a population of just over 1500, Nakusp is a family friendly community, offering the amenities of a larger center and a vibrant business community with a wonderful variety of accommodations, dining, stores and services.
Activities and services in Nakusp include a sports complex, skatepark, playgrounds, municipal park with campground, hot springs, golf course, beach, marina and boat launch. Winter activities include skiing, heli-skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing. Enjoy spectacular views of the lake and mountains from the waterfront walkway or while enjoying a soak in the Hot Springs. Many of those who visit Nakusp and Arrow Lakes fall in love with the area and have since made their homes here.
There are several realty offices in Nakusp which would be happy to provide information to anyone wishing to invest in real estate.
The Nakusp & District Chamber of Commerce operates a Visitor Centre in downtown Nakusp. Visitor Counsellors are pleased to answer questions and provide information to help make your visit to our region more memorable.
Nakusp was featured on Global News May 4, 2017.
- In August 1811, Finian McDonald (one of David Thompson’s men) came up the Arrow Lakes and went as far as just above Revelstoke. He was the first white man on the Arrow Lakes.
- It was the 1865 Big Bend Gold Rush which brought the first steamers to the area and the first settlers arrived in 1890.
- Nakusp settlement history began in 1892 and so it became part of the fur trade route as well as the jump off point for some of the early silver, lead and zinc mining in the Slocan Valley.
- In 1882 the Nakusp Town Site was put up for sale by the Rand brothers. Twenty-five foot lots sold for as much as $30 each. The speculation had it, that if the Slocan Valley mining boom continued, Nakusp would also become a mining town.
- Since there were no roads or railways between the Kootenay mining areas and Vancouver, goods had to be shipped via water ways from Nakusp, up the Arrow Lakes to Revelstoke where the main CPR line was located. For a time Nakusp became a thriving community on this shipping route.
- The first post office was opened in 1892 in the Nakusp House Hotel, which was located on Bay Street, right below the Leland Hotel. The first store also opened in 1892 as well as the first sawmill. The first newspaper printed its first edition in October 1893 and in 1898 Nakusp saw its first church. In 1905 Nakusp got its first phone system, and in 1908 a hospital followed, then in 1909 a bank, and power came to the town in 1920.
- The Nakusp Slocan Railway was completed in 1893 but with a smelter built in Trail, the plan for a smelter in Nakusp vanished.
- The road from Nakusp to Burton was built in 1913, the same year the Burton to Edgewood road was finished.
- In 1925, the Arrow Lakes Valley was connected with the Okanagan as the road over the Monashee to Vernon was completed. In 1930, Nakusp and New Denver were connected via road and thus, by the 1930’s Nakusp’s key geographical location, halfway between Nelson and Vernon as the Gateway to the Kootenays – became apparent.
- Of course the forestry industry has always been a vital part of this town, and in 1951 Nakusp became the center of a large pole and lumber industry.
- In 1905 Nakusp had a population of 300 residents. This number steadily grew until the 1960’s when BC Hydro began studying the possibility of damming the Arrow Lakes.
- BC Hydro did dam the Arrow Lakes in 1969, thereby raising the level of the Lake to the 1446′ contour.
- The Village of Nakusp was incorporated November 24th, 1964 with Joseph Parent as its first mayor. The area around the airport was annexed in 1979 and the Brouse / Glenbank areas were annexed in 1994.
- In recent years the current Nakusp Hot Springs and Halcyon Hot Springs facilities were constructed, as well as many hiking trails throughout the area. While logging has declined, tourism has increased and become more important in both winter and summer.