In a wide, fertile valley at the extreme southern end of Kootenay Lake lies Creston, a thriving agricultural center of 5,200. Although the town is south of the Kootenays’ most spectacular mountains, the scenery is still impressive; the Selkirk Mountains flank the valley to the west, while the Purcell Mountains do the same to the east.
Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) west of Creston (250/428-3259, daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m. May–Aug., Wed.–Sun. 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Apr. and Oct., adult $4, child $2), protects vital resting grounds along the Pacific Flyway, providing a haven for more than 250 species of birds, including a large population of osprey, a flock of the rare Forester’s tern, and a nesting colony of western grebe.
From the visitors center, hiking trails lead along dikes separating wetlands and ponds. Even along the boardwalk leading into the center you may spy some local residents-turtles that sun themselves on half-submerged logs.
Creston is home to the Columbia Brewery (1220 Erickson St., 250/428-1238), producer of British Columbia’s popular Kokanee beer. Tours are offered four to six times daily through summer; $2. At the brewery entrance is Kokanee Beer Gear (daily 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.), a retail shop selling Kokanee souvenirs.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition