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HomeNewsFort Smith to Fort Chipewyan Road Impacted by Low Water Levels

Fort Smith to Fort Chipewyan Road Impacted by Low Water Levels

Parks Canada has received reports of water overflow on some sections of the winter road through Wood Buffalo National Park.

Since early January, water levels have been steadily decreasing, particularly around Moose Island on the Peace, Rochers and Quatre Fourches Rivers, which is causing damage to some crossings. Overflow occurs when the ice drops down onto the water, causing water to seep to the surface of the ice. Parks Canada is actively assessing and repairing the damage to the ramps, however, motorists are encouraged to use increased caution when approaching crossings, as they have become very steep.

For those traveling through the park via over-snow vehicles, extra caution should be taken when traveling near river’s edge due to the dangers posed by hanging ice. Hanging ice occurs when water levels drop, leaving large pieces of ice that are connected to the shoreline but unsupported by anything underneath. Hanging ice can collapse or shift naturally, leaving some areas impassible, but is also at further risk of collapse when additional weight (such as weight from snowmobiles) is applied.

Travelling on the winter road requires extra caution and preparation. When travelling on the winter road, always watch for heavy equipment, ensure that you have proper safety equipment with you and let someone know your approximate time of arrival. High-clearance 4×4 vehicles are recommended, as is checking the weather forecast before you leave.

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Ice roads from Fort Chipewyan to Fort McMurray are not maintained by Parks Canada, and are maintained by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

More information throughout the season can be found by calling the toll free hotline at 1-867-872-7962.

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