Celebrating the Canol Trail Wire Clean Up

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Blog Entries

February 2, 2018

Smiles, handshakes and hugs abounded in Tulita on Tuesday at a community feast celebrating the completion of the Canol Trail wire clean-up program.

Read the joint news release here.

The event marked the end of the three-year project to cut and consolidate roughly 350 kilometres of communication wire abandoned along the CANOL Trail which traverses the Mackenzie Mountains of the Sahtu Region. 

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At each table, stories were shared.

Some talked about their hiking adventures and the majestic peaks, tunnels and waterfalls where few, if any, people have ever set foot.  Others, with broad smiles, spoke about the work on the trail; grueling yet satisfying - and how it created a chance to reconnect with their culture.

Leon Andrew provided historical perspective recounting the experience of fellow elder, Morris Mendo, who was living in Tulita when American troops first arrived, during World War II, to develop the CANOL Pipeline to supply oil to the Allied Forces in Alaska.

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The now abandoned route of the CANOL pipeline is an important part of our history as a region, territory and a country - but it is also home to the original pipeline infrastructure from 1942, which has deteriorated over time. 

The wire clean up took place from 2015 - 2017, thanks to the dedicated and collaborative efforts of three levels of government: the Doi T’oh Territorial Park Corporation, the Government of the Northwest Territories’ Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment, and the Government of Canada.

With a focus on Sahtu hiring, training and procurement; the project has created new opportunities with lasting benefits for residents of Tulita and Norman Wells.

In addition to facilitating the wire clean up, ITI is developing infrastructure along the trail; including the construction of a hiking shelter which is anticipated to be completed in summer 2018.

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By the Numbers:

50 – Approximate number of hires of Sahtu Dene and Metis residents. There were also spin-off benefits for locally owned companies, including transportation and catering.  

350 – Approximate number of kilometres of wire cut and consolidated along the Canol Trail. 

355 – The number of kilometres that make up the Canol Trail.

3 – The number of levels of governments collaborating: Doi T’oh Territorial Park Corporation, the Government of the Northwest Territories’ Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment, and the Government of Canada

9 – The number of weeks of summer clean up season each year.

3 – The average number of weeks each team spent on the trail at a time, consolidating the wire.

600 – Approximate number of helicopter slings during the project.

1,000-3,000 – Range of pounds carried per helicopter sling.

20 – The average number of chartered twin otter flights per season.

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(Pictured above: cut wire is consolidated and packed)

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