Eagle Pass

Feature Type:Pass (2) - Low opening in a mountain range or hills, offering a route from one side to the other.
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: On Hwy 1 between Revelstoke and Sicamous, Kamloops Division Yale Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 50°57'55''N, 118°22'10''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD83
NTS Map: 82L/16

Origin Notes and History:

Adopted in the 5th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 30 June 1904, as labelled on Trutch's 1871 map of British Columbia, and on Geological & Natural History Survey of Canada map # 604, Shuswap, by G.M. Dawson, 1898.

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

Named by Walter Moberly, who located this pass as a suitable route for the overland railway: "In the summer of 1865, I was exploring the Gold Range of Mountains for the Government of British Columbia, to see if there was any pass through them. I arrived at the Eagle River, and on the top of a tree near its mouth I saw a nest full of eaglets, and the two old birds on a limb of the same tree. I had nothing but a small revolver in the shape of firearms; this I discharged eight or ten times at the nest, but could not knock it down. The two old birds, after circling around the nest, flew up the valley of the river; it struck me then, if I followed them, I must find the much wished for pass. I explored the valley two or three weeks afterwards, and having been successful in finding a good pass, I thought the approriate name I could give it was the Eagle Pass." (24 February 1872 letter from Walter Moberly to Mr. Sanford Fleming, Engineer in Chief, CPR).

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

"It was in June 1865 that Mr. Moberly ...resumed his explorations, and six weeks after leaving New Westminster, discovered Eagle Pass. He left New Westminster with Mr. Albert Perry, one of his assistants, and accompanied also by two Indians, one of them, Victor, an interior Indian of whom he speaks very highly and who accompanied him upon other expeditions. This was his first exploration of British Columbia east of Kamloops. The party proceeded to Yale, thence to Kamloops, then by the south Thompson River, Little and Great Shuswap and Mara Lakes and after ascending the Eagle River a few miles, went to Seymour at the head of the North Arm of Great Shuswap Lake, and crossed thence over the Gold Range to the Columbia River, arriving on its banks at a point formerly known as Kerly's Landing, about two miles below the Death Rapids. Quickly constructing a log canoe, they ran down the Columbia River to Galena Bay, at the north end of the Upper Arrow Lake, then followed the Columbia to Salmon Rest, which falls in the Columbia River just north of the east end of Eagle Pass. Proceeding in a westerly direction over the Gold Range, Mr. Moberly climbed a high mountain, which he named Mount Moody, after Colonel Moody. North of Three Valley and other neighbouring small lakes, from the top of which he had a magnificent view of most of the valley of the Eagle River and Shuswap Lake. It was from the top of this mountain that he first saw the pass that he felt confident would prove of great importance in later development... From the top of Mount Moody, Mr. Moberly not only saw Eagle Pass but Selkirk Range in the direction in which he wished to obtain a practical route into the valley of the Columbia River in the vicinity of the western ends of the Howse and Kicking Horse Passes through the Rocky Mountains. He descended the western side of this steep mountain and reach the bottom of the Eagle River valley near Craigellachie, where Sir Donald Smith drove the last peg in 1885. At this point Mr. Moberly blazed a tree and wrote upon it with chalk: 'This is the Route for the Overland Railway'. He returned by the Eagle Pass into the Columbia Valley at the Big Eddy, and posted a notice reserving all the land in that immediate neighbourhood for the Crown." (Excerpt from F.V.Longstaff's April 1955 biographical sketch "Walter Moberly, explorer, mountaineer and Surveyor," copy on file B.2.41, in turn derived from "Blazing the Trail Through the Rockies: The story of Walter Moberly and his share in the making of Vancouver," by Noel Robinson and The Old Man Himself, c1915, p.28-31 - published by OpenLibrary.org)

Source: BC place name cards, files, correspondence and/or research by BC Chief Geographer/Geographical Names Office.