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Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Co-op

Peel River Ferry
Operational Period

Peel River Ferry Timing

What is happening?

  • Over the last 32 years, the average date that the Peel River ferry service begins is June 1st and the average end date is October 25th. The length of the season averages 146 days.
  • The start of ferry service in 2011 was near average but ended with a record late season on Nov. 8.
  • The shortest season occurred in 1980 (125 days). The longest ferry season was in 2010 (163 days).

Why is it happening?

  • Weather conditions in the river basin determine when spring break-up occurs and when ice starts to run in the river in fall. Long-term changes in these weather conditions should influence the length of the season for both ferry service and ice roads.
  • Since 2008 the Department of Transportation has been trying to minimize the time between the last ferry run of the season and the opening of the ice road. Perhaps as part of that effort during the last three years the ferry has set new records for late operation (Novemebr 5, 3 and 8).

Why is it important?

  • The timing of spring break-up and of winter freeze-up influences many parts of the ecosystem, including animal movements and river habitat conditions. These dates also have an economic impact on people living in the Delta as transportation costs change dramatically when the rivers cannot be crossed.

Technical Notes

  • The data presented here only go back as far as 1980 and we have limited information for the years 1975-1979. Data provided by Government of Northwest Territories Department of Transportation.

Text revised: March 6, 2012     Data added: March 6, 2012