The Shuswap is best known for its glistening centrepiece, Shuswap Lake, which boasts four arms and 1,000 kms of shoreline. The lake draws a large tourist base each year and is both geographically and culturally significant, connecting and inspiring the communities that surround it.
The Shuswap is part of BC’s interior plateau, a forested, mountainous landscape laced with deep valleys, carved out over time by its rivers and glaciers. The impressive Monashee Range rises along its eastern edge, and the Salmon and Eagle Rivers are a vital resource for many area farmers. Rainfall in the area is high enough to support productive softwood forests, with irrigation required to facilitate the water-intensive agriculture of orchard crops that make up much of the valley farmlands.
Salmon Arm and Sicamous are the two largest communities in the Shuswap, and the only two that are incorporated. Shuswap Economic Development serves Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) Areas C, D, E, and F, and the District of Sicamous. Salmon Arm Economic Development Society provides economic development services for the City of Salmon Arm.
Located between two larger cities and surrounding areas of Kamloops and Kelowna, most of the Shuswap region is rural or semi-rural, including small towns providing a proportionate range of commerce and services, and smaller, primarily residential communities. The City of Salmon Arm is the commercial hub of the Shuswap, offering a range of shopping and other commercial facilities, business and financial services, and a range of recreational and cultural ammenities. Areas C, E, and F have a high proportion of seasonal residents. Area E, and especially the community of Falkland, is located farther away from Shuswap Lake and has a strong agricultural and ranching identity.