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- May 2017
The Mackenzie River is a major river system in northwestern North America. It is exceeded only in basin size by the Mississippi-Missouri system. The entire Mackenzie River system is 2,635 miles long and passes through many lakes before emptying into the Beaufort Sea of the Arctic Ocean. The Mackenzie River alone is 1,025 miles long when measured from Great Slave Lake. It begins at Great Slave Lake where the elevation is 512 feet above sea level. Great Slave Lake can be as deep as 2,000 feet in certain places. It is filled with clear water on the eastern side and shallow, murky water on the western side. The headwaters of the Mackenzie River include numerous large rivers. The drainage basins of the Mackenzie River include the Liard River, Peace River, and Athabasca River. The ice that forms on the Mackenzie River over the winter months begins the break up in early to mid-May in the southern sections. Ice covering some portions of the Mackenzie River can break up as late as the end of May. The Mackenzie River basin is home to a very small and sparse population despite the natural resources available in this area. This area is home to muskrat, marten, beaver, lynx, and fox. Pulpwood and other small conifer trees can be found here. Petroleum and natural gas are usually the underlying reason larger settlements have formed in this area (Robinson 1999).
Robinson, J. Lewis. 1999. Mackenzie River. July 26. Accessed May 2017, 2017. https://www.britannica.com/place/Mackenzie-River#ref466063.