Creston, Photo Destination BC Dave Heath
Creston is situated in a valley surrounded by the Selkirk and Purcell mountain ranges. It is home to the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area which is a 17,000 acre wetland and a migration home to more than 260 species of birds. There are guided canoe tours, boardwalks and 30 km (19 mi) of dykes. There are many trails in and around Creston for every ability. One such is Balancing Rock Trail just ten minutes west of Creston and one of many trails on Mount Creston. There are a variety of golf courses and fishing is popular. Duck Lake is famous for bass fishing, and Kootenay Lake is teeming with rainbow trout, Dolly Varden and kokanee. If you venture here in May you will be wowed by the abundance of blossoms throughout the area.
Located on Hwy 3, 11 km (7 mi) north of the United States border via Hwy 21. Cranbrook is 105 km (66 mi) to the east via Hwy 3/95 and Salmo is 83 km (52 mi) to the west via Hwys 3 and 6.
In 1891, three men, F. Little, J. Arrowsmith, and J. Dow, arrived in the Creston area and each claimed a section of the land. Hoping to make a good return on their investment, they convinced the Canadian Pacific Railway to build a townsite and lay rails on their property. A townsite called “Seventh Siding” was created on Little’s property in 1898. As construction of the townsite was underway, local residents decided to find a name more elegant than “Seventh Siding” for the town. Little suggested “Creston”, based on the name of a town he’d visited in Idaho. There being no objections, the name was adopted. A sawmill was soon opened and expanded, making forestry an integral part of Creston’s economy.
Agriculture saw tremendous growth after 1901, and to this day is still the primary industry in Creston. The first fall fair was held in 1901, and in 1908, the first strawberry cooperative in the valley was established in Wynndel. By 1950, there were three grain elevators, and fruit was grown extensively in the valley. Occasionally, the whole town would be closed and the fall fair cancelled because a good harvest resulted in extra hands being needed to help bring in the apple crop.
Today, alfalfa and canola crops have replaced wheat, but fruits and berries are in abundance. There are also a number of pure-bred horse ranches.