The Columbia River flows north between the Rocky Mountains and the Purcells, but turns south and flows between the Selkirk and Monashee Mountains when it reaches the outlets of the Wood River and the Canoe River, it. David Thompson wintered here at "Boat Encampment" in the winter of 1810-11. This area is now a reservoir named Kinbasket after the chief of the tribe that lived in the area when Thompson traveled through. Just downstream of the historic location of Boat Encampment is the Mica Dam, built as a requirement of the Columbia River Treaty This dam provides significant water storage as well as hydroelectric production.
Between the Mica Dam and the city of Revelstoke is the Revelstoke Dam. The creation of the reservoir between Mica Dam and the Revelstoke Dam flooded many of the rapids on the river that were major impediments to travel prior to the building of roads and highways in the area. Death Rapids earned its name due to several drowning deaths at that point of fur traders, and Priest Rapids, just below, were so titled during a trip involving the first missionaries to travel the Columbia River route. After the priests safely arrived down river, a boat returned for the remaining passengers but took on water and overturned in Priest Rapids. Twelve people were killed, including women and children.