If you’re looking to camp in Wood Buffalo National Park this summer, here’s what you need to know

Public Service Announcement

Yellowknife — May 20, 2021

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) reminds Northwest Territories (NWT) residents that with camping season underway, out-of-territory travellers are permitted to travel through the NWT to camp in the Alberta portion of Wood Buffalo National Park.

In the summer of 2020, the GNWT implemented a border station and pass system at the NWT-Alberta border in the Fort Smith area to maintain protections for COVID-19 in the NWT, while respecting deep ties between communities on either side. The border station in this area is busy, typically averaging over 300 crossings by vehicles per week.

This border station serves as a gateway into Wood Buffalo National Park and includes popular camping destinations like the Pine Lake area and the park’s Salt River trail network, which are located on the Alberta side of the NWT-Alberta border in the Fort Smith area.

For out-of-territory travellers travelling through the NWT to reach the Alberta portion of Wood Buffalo National Park, there are processes in place to ensure minimal-to-no-contact with NWT residents and communities.

Important processes include:

  • When entering the NWT at the Highway 1 border station (60th Parallel), out-of-territory travellers, must go directly to the Highway 5 border station in Fort Smith and proceed to their camp site in Wood Buffalo National Park. They must only stop in NWT communities for essential reasons such as getting gas, using a washroom or a medical emergency.
  • Out-of-territory travellers must present themselves at the Highway 5 border station in Fort Smith and obtain the appropriate pass to continue to Wood Buffalo National Park.
  • While camping in the Alberta portion of Wood Buffalo National Park, it is recommended that out-of-territory travellers follow public health guidelines set out by the NWT’s Chief Public Health Officer. These guidelines include staying in their own accommodations, not visiting and mingling with other park guests, remaining at least two metres from others and using a clean-trip kit, including sanitizer and masks when visiting busier areas of the park.
  • Upon leaving the park, out-of-territory travellers must present themselves at the Highway 5 border station in Fort Smith, return their pass, go directly to the Highway 1 border station (60th Parallel), and not stop in NWT communities for non-essential reasons as they leave the territory. 

NWT residents are also reminded that they can continue to travel in and out of the NWT at the Highway 5 border station in Fort Smith without having to submit a Self-Isolation Plan or self-isolate upon entry to the NWT, in accordance with the Fort Smith Border Protocol. They should also follow the public health guidance set out by the NWT’s Chief Public Health Officer when they are visiting or camping in the park.

For more information on camping in Wood Buffalo National Park call (867) 872-7960 or email pc.woodbuffaloinfo-infowoodbuffalo.pc@canada.ca

For more information on travel requirements at the NWT-Alberta border in the Fort Smith area, contact 811 or email protectnwt@gov.nt.ca.

 

For media requests, please contact:

Darren Campbell

Manager, COVID-19 Communications 

Health and Social Services

COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat

Government of the Northwest Territories

Darren_P_Campbell@gov.nt.ca