Rocky Mountains

Feature Type:Mountains - Mass of land prominently elevated above the surrounding terrain, bounded by steep slopes and rising to a summit and/or peaks. Plural of Mountain.
Status:
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: Running in a NW direction from New Mexico to northern BC, forming a portion of the eastern boundary of BC
Latitude-Longitude: 54°30'00''N, 122°30'00''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD83
NTS Map: 93J/9
Related Maps:
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Origin Notes and History:

Rocky Mountains adopted 2 April 1918 on Dr. Hugh Bostock's "Nomenclature of the Mountains of Western Canada," published as an appendix to the 16th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 31 March 1919 (Ottawa file OBF 0248B).

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

"Rocky Mountains" and the approved French form, "Montagnes Rocheuse", identified as names of pan-Canadian significance per Treasury Board Circular 1983-58, 23 November 1983.

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

The Rocky Mountains extend 3000 miles (4,800 km) from New Mexico to the Liard River in northern British Columbia, forming part of North America's Continental Divide - the hydrological divide separating the Pacific drainage basin from the Atlantic and Arctic basins. The major rivers draining to the Pacific Ocean include the Yukon, Fraser, Columbia, Snake and Colorado rivers; those originating in the Rocky Mountains and draining to the Atlantic Ocean include the Saskatchewan, Yellowstone, Platte, Missouri and Rio Grande rivers; those draining to the Arctic Ocean include the Liard, Peace and Athabasca rivers. The British Columbia portion of the Rocky Mountains extends 750 miles (1,200 km), from the Montana border to the Liard Plateau, just south of the Yukon boundary, and form the eastern boundary of the province between 49° and 54° latitude.

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

The Cree name is Usinnewucheyu, meaning "big rocks" (A Dictionary of the Cree Language, by E.A. Watkins, revised by J.A. Mackay, edited by Richard Faries, 1938). The Sekani name for the Rocky Mountains is Tse Tiy. [meaning/significance and extent not provided] (from Guzagi K'úgé, published by Kaska Tribal Council, Watson Lake, 1997). The Ktunaxa name for the Rocky Mountains is Natmuqc/in, pronounced nath-mook-stin. [meaning/significance and extent not provided] (April 2006 advice from Janice Alpine, Ktunaxa Language Program)

Source: included with note

"In his diary while Governor of York factory on Hudson Bay in 1716, James Knight notes the arrival of a band of "Mountain Indians" with whom he had "a great deal of discourse." They told him their country was "very mountainous and of a prodigious height... so they cannot see the topps without it be clear weather... The sea lyes but a little way to the westward of the mountains." This is the earliest reference to the Rocky Mountains in the records of the Geographic Board of Canada. In 1730 Beauharnais, the French governor, transmitted to France a sketch which the Indian, Ochagach, had drawn for La Virendrye showing the Grand Portage route to Western Canada from Lake Superior. This map indicates the "montagnes de Pierres Brillantes," a name which is found in translation "mountains of Bright Stones" on Jonathan Carver's map of 1778. The mountains were referred to by their present name in Legardeur de St.-Pierre's journal of 1752. He calls them "montagnes de Roche" although it is doubtful he actually saw the main range. The name is a translation of the Indian name, which in Cree is assinwati, in Stoney, niaha, and in Blackfoot mistokis. Viewed from the prairies the Rockies present a great wall of rock." ("Origin of Name of Rocky Mountains: Geographic Board of Canada Gives Earliest Reference to Present Name" published in Natural Resources magazine, Canada, May 1930)

Source: included with note