The Muskwa-Kechika Management Area, located in north-eastern BC where the boreal plains and muskeg regions of the east meet the rugged Northern Rocky Mountains and Cascades of the west, is described as Canada's 'Serengeti of the North.' The M-KMA is located in the Cordilleran Region along the Omineca and Foreland Belts, within the Northern and Central Plateaus and Mountains physiographic region.
The rugged terrain of the M-KMA is emphasized by prominent mountains and valleys, with features such as waterfalls, hoodoos, glaciers, and hot springs. A classic example is the Rocky Mountain Trench, a wide valley through which the Kechika River flows, and which divides the Northern Rocky Mountains.
A unique geothermal feature in the M-KMA is the Liard River Hot Springs, located in Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park on the Northeast Border of the M-KMA.
Certain features are characteristic to the M-KMA and serve as recognisable landmarks, for example, a distinctive mountain, named "Sleeping Chief Mountain," is visible from the Alaska Highway looking west; it is this mountain that is depicted on the right side of the Muskwa-Kechika logo. Another interesting mountain is named "Folding Mountain" for its distinguishing folds. Also noteworthy are the Lloyd George Ice Fields located on the headwaters of the Muskwa River.
Hundreds of millions of years ago much of Western Canada was covered by a shallow sea in which sediments eroded off the Canadian Shield accumulated over time and were deeply buried and compressed into rock. Much later (approximately 60 million years ago) crustal plate collisions compressed these rocks together and forced them upward to form the Rocky Mountains. This was followed by more than 50 million years of erosion and finally intermittent glacial periods, including the Keewatin and Rocky Mountain ice-sheets, which shaped many of the landforms visible in the M-KMA today, for example arêtes, hanging valleys and cirque lakes.
Some examples of mineral occurrences that have been documented in the M-KMA include copper, lead, zinc, silver, barite, gold, tungsten, chalcopyrite, pyrite, dolomite, quartz crystals, malachite, aragonite, mica and azurite. For more information about the geology of the M-KMA, please refer to the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands website.
Water cycling in the M-KMA plays an important role in the development of rivers, lakes and wetlands, and in turn the development of landforms, vegetation types and wildlife corridors.
Much of the M-KMA is located in Mackenzie drainage basin which is part of the Arctic watershed, ultimately draining into the Arctic Ocean.
Additional information about climate, physiography, and hydrology can be accessed in the (Protected Areas of the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area Background Document. Prepared for BC Parks, by the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks Division. February 1999. Fort St. John, BC). This document is housed at the Muskwa-Kechika Information Office.
The M-KMA includes Parks and Protected Areas where resource extraction is prohibited, and management zones where resource extraction may occur, according to higher standards than elsewhere in the province (e.g. best management practices for oil and gas development).