Winter road from Moose Island to Fort Chipewyan will not be built this year

Issued: December 16, 2020


Option for Essential Re-supply Route will be Maintained

Fort Smith, NWT, December 15, 2020 - Following discussions with local leaders, community members and government representatives in the communities surrounding Wood Buffalo National Park, Parks Canada has decided not to open the annual winter road from Moose Island to Fort Chipewyan this season. This decision comes after concerns related to the possible spread of COVID-19 were clearly expressed by a wide range of stakeholders on both sides of the border. The health and safety of Canadians, visitors, and our team members is of the utmost importance to Parks Canada Agency.

Parks Canada appreciates the perspectives on this issue brought forward by the community and the role of the winter road in connecting our communities, however, the need to support local public health orders and respect community concern is our top priority at this time.

Public and visitor safety is our first priority
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of the Northwest Territories has monitored its border using a checkstop at the NWT/Alberta boundary to enforce public health orders that also included a special exemption to allow Alberta residents north of the Peace River (including Smith’s Landing First Nation and Mikisew Cree First Nation members living on reserve lands in that part of Alberta) to continue to access essential services, schools, workplaces and supplies in Fort Smith, NWT without self-isolating for 14 days.

If the usual through-road were constructed to Fort Chipewyan, the GNWT has advised that the special exemptions, listed above, would end. After careful discussion with all affected community partners, Parks Canada made the decision to suspend the through winter road this year.

Essential Access for Fort Chipewyan Re-Supply Will be Maintained.
Although there will be no public access by winter road between Fort Chipewyan and Fort Smith this winter, Fort Chipewyan residents will continue to have access to Fort McMurray, Alberta using a winter road constructed by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB). This corridor provides Fort Chipewyan residents access to groceries, supplies and other essential services. Parks Canada can open the Fort Smith-Fort Chipewyan winter road as an emergency supply line if necessary.

For more information on the Parks Canada winter road in Wood Buffalo National Park, please visit:

For questions and enquiries concerning this and other roads in Wood Buffalo National Park:


Cam Zimmer
Park Superintendent
SWNWT Field Unit
Parks Canada
(867) 872-0775

Kevin Gedling
Communications Officer
Wood Buffalo National Park
Parks Canada