Fort Chipewyan

Fort Chipewyan, commonly referred to as Fort Chip, is a hamlet in northern Alberta, Canada within the Regional Municipality (R.M.) of Wood Buffalo. It is located on the western tip of Lake Athabasca, adjacent to Wood Buffalo National Park, approximately 223 kilometres (139 mi) north of Fort McMurray.

Fort Chipewyan is one of the oldest European settlements in the Province of Alberta. It was established as a trading post by Peter Pond of the North West Company in 1788. The Fort was named after the Chipewyan First Nation living in the area. One of the establishers of the Fort, Roderick McKenzie, always had a taste for literature, as was seen years later when he opened correspondence with traders all over the north and west, asking for descriptions of scenery, adventure, folklore and history. He also had in view the founding of a library at the fort, which would not be only for the immediate residents of Fort Chipewyan, but for traders and clerks of the whole region tributary to Lake Athabaska, so that it would be what he called, in an imaginative and somewhat jocular vein, "the little Athens of the Arctic regions." This library became, perhaps, the most famous in the whole extent of Rupert's Land.


Tourism plays a key role in Fort Chipewyan's economy, especially in the summer months.


The population of Fort Chipewyan according to the R.M of Wood Buffalo's 2007 municipal census is 1,007, which makes the hamlet eligible for town status. The subsequent 2008 municipal census recorded a population of 1,016. However, with the overall 2008 municipal census result for the R.M. of Wood Buffalo not being accepted by Alberta Municipal Affairs due to the use of extrapolation, Therefore, Fort Chipewyan's 2008 population may be more of an estimate compared to its 2007 figure.

The hamlet had a population of 902 living on a land area of 10.24 square kilometres (3.95 sq mi) as of the 2001 census.

The hamlet's population is predominantly made up of Cree First Nations, Chipewyan (Dene) First Nations, and Metis people.


The hamlet is served by the Fort Chipewyan Airport. The primary method of transportation to Fort Chipewyan is air, until June 2010 was provided by the now defunct Air Mikisew.


There are no all-weather roads to Fort Chipewyan, but it can be reached in the winter from Fort Smith or Fort McMurray on ice roads and winter roads. Although the Alberta government long ago did studies on all-weather road access, no action has been taken. In December 2005, one-third of Fort Chipewyan's residents signed a petition to request the government to build a 50 kilometres (31 mi) all-weather road to connect with existing roads to the northwest that provide access to Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. The major expenditure would be a bridge over the Slave River.


In the summer, the Fort can be reached by boat from Fort McMurray via the Athabasca River.


Fort Chipewyan has a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc) with long, very cold, dry winters and short, warm, wetter summers..

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