Crowsnest Pass

Feature Type:Pass (2) - Low opening in a mountain range or hills, offering a route from one side to the other.
Status:
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: Straddles BC-Alberta boundary on Hwy 3, NE of Fernie, Kootenay Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 49°38'00''N, 114°41'00''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD27
NTS Map: 82G/10

Origin Notes and History:

Crownest Pass adopted 18 December 1901 on Ottawa file OBF 0003. Spelling changed to Crowsnest Pass 21 October 1903 on OBF 0029.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

This pass was long used by the Indians but not shown on maps until the Palliser Expedition of 1860, and then only from hearsay. The first white man to learn of the Crows Nest Pass was apparently Captain Thomas Blakiston of the Royal Artillery, in 1858; originally connected with Hector Palliser's party, he had some disagreement and operated on his own. Spelled "Crow-nest Pass" in Capt. Blakiston's report dated 15 December 1858; identified as "lodge des Corbeaux" in the Palliser Expedition preliminary report; spelled "Crow Nest Pass" on Arrowsmith's 1859 map.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

"Captain Palliser, the first white man to learn of the pass, referred to it at times as the 'British Kutanie pass'. His 1860 map labelled this as Crow Nest river and pass."

Source: Akrigg, Helen B. and Akrigg, G.P.V; British Columbia Place Names; Sono Nis Press, Victoria 1986 /or University of British Columbia Press 1997

"The name of the mountain is a translation of the Cree Indian name kah-ka-ioo-wut-tshis-tun, and of the Blackfoot name ma-sto-eeas, literally "the nest of the crow (or raven)"; it does not commemorate the slaughter of Crow Indians by the Blackfeet when they got them in a corner or "nest" as set forth in local tradition, but merely the nesting of crows. The first mention of the name is in a report dated 15 December 1858, of Capt. Blackiston of the Pallister Expedition, who writes:- "I have not mentioned the existence of two other passes across the portion of the mountain, called the Crow-nest and Flathead Passes... The Crow-nest Pass, of which I have marked the general direction on the plan, follows up Crow-nest River, a tributary of Belly River, into the mountains, and gains the west side near 'The Steeples.' By report of the natives it is a very bad road, and seldom used. I observed the old trail coming in from the plains on the left bank of the Crow-nest River"."

Source: Place Names of Alberta; published for the Geographic Board by Department of Interior, Ottawa, 1928.

The traditional name for this site is Qukin ?amak?is, pronounced koo-kin-a-makis. [meaning/significance not provided] (April 2006 advice from Janice Alpine, Ktunaxa Language Program)

Source: included with note