Getting to Fort Liard
Fort Liard is situated in the Deh Cho Region, in the southwest corner of the Northwest Territories. The community is nestled in a valley at the junction of the Liard and Petitot rivers, approximately 240 km due north of Fort Nelson, B.C. and 544 km north-east of Yellowknife. The opening and continual improvements of the Liard Trail have greatly influenced the once-isolated community.
Fort Liard has been nicknamed the “Tropics of the North” because of its southern location and micro climate that brings long hot summer days and the occasional Chinook winds in the winter. The closest communities to Fort Liard are Nahanni Butte, NT and Fort Nelson, BC.
The population of Fort Liard is approximately 591. English and South Slavey are spoken throughout the community.
The area has been occupied for many generations by many tribes including the Small Knives and the Slavey Dene. Archaeological digs at nearby Fisherman’s Lake in the Kotaneelee Range show strata that indicate 9,000-10,000 years of occupancy.
The Northwest Company founded a post in the Fort Liard area sometime before 1807. The post was generally referred to as “Riviere aux Liards” (River of Aspens). The Post merged with the Hudson Bay Company in 1821.
The introduction of oil and gas, tourism and business has changed the traditional way of life however many residents still pursue this lifestyle. Trapping, hunting, fishing, arts and crafts, provision of local services and forestry are major economic factors.
Travel by Road
From the south, Fort Liard is easily accessible via the Alaska and Liard Highways. Take the Alaska Highway through Fort Nelson, BC. Approximately 35 km north of Fort Nelson, take British Columbia Highway 77 (later becoming NWT Highway 7), otherwise known as the Liard Trail.
From the north, Ford Liard is accessible via the Mackenzie and Liard Highways. Take the Mackenzie Highway to Checkpoint, NT (65 km east of Fort Simpson). From Checkpoint, take the Liard Trail south to Fort Liard.
Fort Liard is 5 km off the Liard Trail.
Travel by Air
There are no regular scheduled flights in or out of Fort Liard though charters are available.