Ospika Cones

The Ospika Cones ecological Reserve was established in February 2001 to protect the Ospika Cones complex and the representative surrounding mountain slopes.

Accessible by helicopter only, and requires a permit.

“Calcium-rich springs are located on a bench-like flat area at the foot of the mountain slopes. Calcium deposits built up by the springs have formed a complex of colourful terraces and raised cylindrical spring pools which have become known as the “Ospika Cones”. As the lime-rich water warms when overflowing the rim of the pools and terraces it precipitates calcium which builds up natural dams. The highest of the spring pools is contained by a tall, circular limestone dam. The turquoise water of the deeper pools contrasts with the white, ochre and rusty coloured dams and cascading terraces. These formations are fragile, as evidenced by pools whose dams have been breached and drained of water.

A second area of mineral springs with calcium deposits is located about 1,000metres to the south at a similar level above the river. Here the springs form a broad band of rusty coloured lime pavement descending down a gentle slope,however,without the dam formation.”  Source: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/eco_reserve/ospika_er/ospika-cones-er-152.pdf
In placeswhere calcium deposits are in a less solid form, they are used byMoose
and Elk as mineral licks.

Dividing Line: Where Bighorn Meets Thinhorn

In the early 1970’s a bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) skull estimated to be 9280 years old was unearthed in a gravel pit just south of the Peace Arm of the Williston Reservoir, just north of Mackenzie, BC. This discovery supports the theory that bighorn sheep and thinhorn sheep (Dall’s and Stone’s)are evolutionarily distinct from each other and the Peace River is the historical border of the two species’ distributions.


: Rutter, N. W., V. Geist, et al. (1971). “A bighorn sheep skull 9280 years old from British Columbia.” J. Mammalogy 53(3): 641-644.

Further Reading: