FORT SIMPSON N.W.T.

1/20/2022

Territorial outposts are an invention of exploration driven societies to ensure their investments are protected. These remote installations are founded by some hearty individuals that make their way through the bush, desert, or tundra, and becomes a resupplying depot in the middle of who-knows-where. These outposts must have access to water, and after 1903, have reasonably flat land for an airstrip to fly in supplies. Other than that, their beginnings were somewhat dependent on Aborigine selection because of their knowledge of the terrain. The MacKenzie River originates from the deepest North American lake (Great Slave Lake) as it flows north to the Beaufort Sea. It is the second largest drainage system in this continent and removes the rainwater from an area about the size of Mexico. Around 200 of its 1000-mile length is the confluence of the Liard River, and just above that, out on an island is the booming metropolis of Fort Simpson. With approximately 1900 citizens of which half are aborigines or metis (a mixture of European and Native American), this group endures about 8 months of winter and 4 months of bugs. There are 2 airports and a small collection of hospitality businesses that vie for the few tourists that brave that highway for the 10 months it is open. It was settled in 1803, due to fur trade, established in 1822, and incorporated in 1973. With the completion of the MacKenzie Highway and a ferry service that gets vehicles across those 2 fast moving rivers where they intersect, Fort Simpson is now accessible by car. Because of that highway and a dot on the map of North America, this location woke up the adventure spirit of a late 40’s American male named Todd Winter. Spying this town on a Road Atlas of Canada, that was being viewed as he sat on his personal porcelain throne, the decision was finalized as his bowel movement ended. He was now on the phone securing a plane ticket to Edmonton, Alberta along with a sizable rental car.

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