Fort Providence: It’s a natural
Best things to see and do in this Northwest Territories hamlet
Situated on the bank of the Mackenzie River, the hamlet of Fort Providence is surrounded by natural attractions that draw visitors from all over the world. Roaming freely through the town are wood bison, commonly known as buffalo. They’re part of the Mackenzie herd, whose home is actually a protected reserve east of town.
Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary
This covers over 10,000 square kilometres and is home to 2000-plus bison that are on the threatened species watch list. There isn’t really a specific entrance to the sanctuary and just travelling the Frontier Highway is said to be one of the best ways of viewing the animals, as they graze along the side of the road.
Fort Providence Territorial Park
This park is located along the Mackenzie River and very close to town. The small campground is the perfect place to stay while exploring the area or when putting your hook in the water on the chance of catching a fish. Bird lovers and those who enjoy a good hike will appreciate what they find here.
Lady Evelyn Territorial Park
A short distance from the Fort Providence Territorial Park is the amazing Lady Evelyn Falls, located near the main entrance of the Lady Evelyn Territorial Park on the Kakisa River. This is another great fishing location. The water thunders over a 15-metre-high limestone cliff crossing the whole width of the river and the air is damp from the mist. The trails are perfect for sightseeing and hiking and the picnic grounds are ideal as a place to stop and eat your lunch. If you like to canoe, swim, or fish, the Kakisa River will definitely tempt you and a boat launch is available. Take the time, it’s a beautiful spot.
McNallie Creek Falls
Also part of the Waterfalls Route is McNallie Creek Falls, located along the Mackenzie Highway. The inviting picnic area is just the thing for taking a break before walking the short distance to the viewing platform that overlooks these 17-metre falls. The steep cliffs around the falls are home to cliff swallows that nest in the ravine below.
The Mackenzie River is so large you must use a ferry to cross it. To reach Fort Providence, a free government-operated ferry transports vehicles to the other side. Considered to be the world’s 10th largest river, the Mackenzie was the main transportation route to northern villages and trading posts in the past. Today tugs and barges loaded with product still use the river as they head “down north.”