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Dempster Highway

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Dempster Highway

The Dempster Highway officially opened in 1979 linking Inuvik with southern communities. It is the only gravel highway connecting Inuvik to Whitehorse, Yukon some 1253 km away. The highway is open approximately June 10 to October 14 in the summer, and December 15 to April 30 in the winter.

The highway closes for approximately 6 to 8 weeks in the fall when the Peel and Mackenzie Rivers freeze and again in the spring when they thaw.

For Dempster Highway (Road & Ferry) conditions, phone 1-800-661-0750 for Northwest Territories or 1-867-456-7623 for the Yukon Territories or visit the Government of the NWT, Department of Transportation and Yukon 511.

Ferry service operates on both the Peel and Mackenzie Rivers. The Peel River ferry operates on demand from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m. The Mackenzie River ferry operates every hour on the hour from the Inuvik shore from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.

During the winter (approximately January to April), Inuvik is connected by winter ice road to Aklavik (112 km) and Tuktoyaktuk (194 km) away. In the summer and fall, air service or boat can only access these communities.

Inuvik operates on Mountain Standard Time, the same time zone as Alberta.

In 1958 the Canadian government made the historic decision to build a 671-kilometre road through the Arctic wilderness from Dawson City, Yukon, to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. Oil and gas exploration was booming in the Mackenzie Delta and the Town of Inuvik was under construction. The road was billed as the first-ever overland supply link to southern Canada, where business and political circles buzzed with talk of an oil pipeline that would run parallel to the road. The two would ultimately connect with another proposed pipeline along the Alaska Highway.

To read the entire article, please visit www.dempsterhighway.com.

For more information on Dempster Highway Events, please contact the Tourism Development Officer with the GNWT Industry, Tourism and Investment department in Inuvik at 867-777-7196.