Caution Advised for Snowmobiling and Ice Access in Wood Buffalo National Park

Issued: December 09, 2020


December 9/2020.– Parks Canada urges all traditional land users, particularly those using major lakes and rivers such as the Peace Athabasca Delta, Slave River, Salt River, Little Buffalo River and Buffalo Lake to exercise great caution this winter season due to late-season high water levels on lakes and rivers throughout the region. These unusually high levels have made normally stable ice conditions in some areas treacherous and unpredictable. Especially in the delta, flooded areas in willows have not frozen well. Unseasonably warm temperatures in early December have caused significant loss of ice and ice thickness. Parks Canada reminds on-the-land travellers, particularly snowmobilers, to go prepared when out on the land.

Land-users should remember:

Your safety is your own responsibility. The terrain can be challenging, the ice thin and snow deep. Weather conditions can change suddenly and without warning. You need to be completely self-reliant.

Trip Planning. Plan your travel route. Know the terrain and conditions, and check the weather before departure. Ensure you have an emergency contact who is aware of your plans.

Training. Obtain the knowledge and skills you need before heading out. Know and stay within your limits.

Always carry the essentials, and know how to use them. Include a working communications device, such as an InReach, SPOT device or satellite phone, with your gear. Cell coverage is not reliable in Wood Buffalo National Park.

Be prepared. Ensure that you are properly trained and equipped to survive several nights outside and to rescue yourself or another from open-water.

Snowmobiling for non-traditional use in Wood Buffalo National Park is prohibited.

If emergencies occur:
Call 911 or Parks Canada emergency dispatch: 1-800-852-3100.

If you have questions about the park and recent conditions, please call the WBNP Duty Officer: 867-872-0404