About 100 years ago, prospectors came to the West Kootenays, attracted by its rich ore deposits. Mining ghost towns can be found now, silent relics of past treasures. Some backroad travel to these ghost towns will enhance your visit to this extremely beautiful region. Visitors can learn about the development and history of the area at mining museums in Kaslo and New Denver.
The name Kootenay, used for the southeastern portion of the province, comes from the Kootenay First Nation, a group of linguistically distinct Native people. They occupy the East Kootenays, with their territory extending into northern Washington, Idaho, and Montana. The western portion of the district was also occupied by Interior Salishan Natives, linguistically and culturally related to the coastal people, or by Thompson River-Shuswap Natives, heavily influenced by the Athapaskan culture.