Fort Smith winter road closed down while Fort Chip sets up checkpoint

A photo of the checkpoint set up on the winter road to Fort Chipewyan. Photo: Mikisew Cree First Nation Facebook page
A photo of a Covid-19 checkpoint set up on a winter road outside Fort Chipewyan in March 2020. Photo: Mikisew Cree First Nation Facebook page

The winter road connecting Fort Smith to Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, shut down on Saturday as the territorial government closed the NWT’s border to most people.

Parks Canada, which maintains the road through Wood Buffalo National Park, said in a statement the gate across the winter road has been locked at Peace Point. 

The NWT’s border closure, which bans almost all non-residents, was announced late on Friday night. The move is intended to help slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the territory.

While the pandemic led to this year’s road closure, mid-to-late March is also when the winter road usually closes.



A stretch of winter road from Fort Chipewyan to Moose Island “will remain open until warmer conditions make the road impassable,” Parks Canada advised in a news release.

The Mikisew Cree First Nation, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, and Fort Chipewyan Métis have set up a 24-hour checkpoint on the winter road.

All people leaving or entering the community of Fort Chipewyan will have to show identification.

Residents have to log out of the community if they leave and log back in when they return. They will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days on returning.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo maintains the section of road from Fort Chipewyan to Fort McMurray.