Category: NWT

Beaver bush planes

The iconic deHavilland Beaver bush plane is still flying all over the north, 62 years after it was first took to the air. Yet despite its iconic status, there are few good videos of this classic plane. Our film crew took the opportunity to take a Beaver into Nahanni National Park and shot some amazing air-to-air footage amongst some of the most beautiful backdrops in the country. Enjoy!

Kayaking the Slave River rapids

We gathered some great action video on the Slave River rapids near Fort Smith NWT this summer. They run a great kayaking paddlefest. Who knew?


Next step in protection of Nahanni watershed

Last year I reported on the planned expansion of Nahanni National Park, one of Canada’s great national parks, and a World Heritage site. Recently, the federal government took one more step, temporarily protecting the headwaters of the Nahanni for the creation of a new national park, to be called Nááts’ihch’oh [pronounced naah-tseen-CHO]. The last outstanding (but very important) step is finalizing the borders of the park. Without final borders, park protection is not yet guaranteed. Visit the CPAWS website for additional information.

Protection for Canada’s boreal forest

Canada’s government just announced that it will protect 10.8 million ha of boreal forest in the NWT. That is 2.5 x the size of Holland or Vancouver island:
– 1.5 million hectares designated for a future national wildlife area
along the Mackenzie River near the town of Fort Good Hope under the
Northwest Territories Protected Area Strategy;

– 3.3 million hectares identified for a new national park (2.6 million
acres of new protection) on the East Arm of Great Slave Lake; and

– 6 million hectares of priority lands between the new park and an
existing wildlife refuge to be managed for conservation and
appropriate development by the Akaitcho First Nations under a pending
treaty agreement.

Great news for conservation in Canada.

Nahanni watershed one step closer to protection

The government recently announced a large expansion of the Nahanni National Park Reserve, from the current 5,000 sq. km to more than 30,000 sq. km. Once the park expansion process has been completed, it will become one of Canada’s largest park. It is already considered one of Canada’s greatest parks.

I brake for ptarmigan

Several northern restaurants are known for their large collection of stickers and signs. Bullocks in Yellowknife is one if them. Lots of funny signs of course, but I particularly loved this one. Being a former “Chicken Chaser” – ptarmigan biologist. Should have had one on my truck back then!

I brake for ptarmigan

Tourist warning signs tend to be a popular hit in the north too.

Tourists crossing

Eateries in Yellowknife

People may not see Yellowknife as a hot tourist destination, but it is actually is quite pretty on a sunny summer evening. Perfect setting to rent a kayak and paddle around the harbour.

If you’re hungry upon return, there are some classic options: the fish and chips at Bullock’s Bistro were voted best in Canada in 2006, although the caribou kebabs ain’t bad either. Or try the muskibou burger at the Prospector across the road. For a delectable desert, head to the classic Wildcat cafe (below), in one of Yellowknife’s oldest buildings. I happend to catch a lecture on native clothing there – a perfect setting.

However, the locals would have breakfast at the Gold Range Cafe, right beside the Gold Range hotel. For Asian food, they head to the Vietnamese noodle house. Don’t let the outsides of these eateries fool you; they really do serve good food.

Lecture in the Wildcat Cafe

25 best new adventure trips

Back in November 2006, National Geographic Adventure Magazine did a feature on the 25 best new adventure trips worldwide. Of course they had to stay ahead of Outside’s list.


Bhutan: they list a trip to Merak and Sakten. They are totally correct that this would be a great trip.  The people of Sakten are traditional, nomadic yak herders. The women of Sakten are polyandrous (women marrying more than one man, often brothers). They wear unique yak-hair hats, with spouts designed to keep the rain off their faces.

BC: Paddling around Great bear rainforest and cycling the Okanagan Valley. Both great trips.

NWT: A 14-day trip on the Hornaday River in Tuktut Nogait National Park, run by Black Feather. The trip featues a chance to see a herd of 80,000  caribou that moves through the park each summer. Where do I sign up??

It’s fantastic that out of 25 best new adventure trip, three are in Canada. Goes to show that we are still a major player in the adventure travel category. Indonesia, PNG, and Mongolia or any of the central Asian countries were not mentioned.

Canol Heritage Trail

Outpost Magazine (March/April 2007 issue) has a great article about one of Canada’s great treks: the Canol Heritage Trail in the NWT. This 355km trek along an old WWII road/pipeline is not for the faint of heart: if involves several major river crossings, and you aren’t likely to see anone (other than some big grizzlies) along the way. In 2006 only three parties completed the trip. One more reason to take on the challenge.
Some resource sites:

NWT Tourism and Parks
Backpacking the Canol Heritage Trail
Canol Heritage Trail site