- May 2017
Denison Ice Road
The Denison Ice Road was constructed by John Denison, an ice road engineer, and his crew. He drove a Caterpillar tractor which pull freight sleighs in harsh environments like those found in Alaska. His experiences with these long drives between mines sparked his interest in designing a road that could support regular transport trucks and vehicles (Princes of Wales Nothern Heritage Center n.d.). The construction of the Denison Ice Road began in the late 1950s. This road was planned to connect Yellowknife through the Arctic Circle to the Great Bear Lake silver mine. This distance totaled about 530 kilometers or 323 miles. John Denison and his crew worked with Byers Transport to complete the construction of Denison Ice Road. Byers Transport was a company that was at the forefront of ice road construction in the North. The construction of the Denison Ice Road was built through some of the most isolated terrain in the sub-arctic region. In 1988, John Denison received the Order of Canada for his successful construction of and ingenuity in building winter roads (Yellowknifer 2001). A detailed account of the experiences of John Denison and his crew during the construction of the Denison Ice Road can be found in “Denison’s Ice Road” by Edith Iglauer. A copy of “Denison’s Ice Road” can be found by following this link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/denisons-ice-road-edith-iglauer/1100112712?ean=9781550170412.
After completing the Denison Ice Road project, John Denison worked on the construction of a road to Tundra Mine and Discovery Mine. John Denison was married to Hannah with whom he had four kids. His family resided in Edmonton, Alberta and then Kelowna, British Columbia (Yellowknifer 2001).
Princes of Wales Nothern Heritage Center. n.d. Historical Timeline of the Northwest Territories. Accessed May 7, 2017. http://www.nwttimeline.ca/1950/1959_Denison.htm.
Yellowknifer. 2001. Articles on John Denison. January 10. Accessed April 9, 2017. http://www.harbourpublishing.com/excerpt/DenisonsIceRoad/webonly/109.
- Apr 2017
Great Slave Lake
The Great Slave Lake was found in 1771 by Samuel Hearne (Ernst). Many others passed through during the Klondike Gold Rush in 1896-1899, but the region surrounding the Great Slave Lake remained greatly unoccupied. In 1930, a radioactive uranium mineral called pitchblende, or uraninite, was discovered on the shore of the Great Slave Lake and incentivized colonizers. 1934, gold was discovered on Yellowknife Bay, which led to a Yellowknife community settlement. Today, additional communities in this region include Hay River, Fort Resolution, Fort Providence, and Behchoko. The Great Slave Lake is the fifth largest lake is North America and is part of the Mackenzie River System. The Lake gets its name from a tribe of Native Americans called Slavery First Nations (National Geographic). This tribe fished for sustenance and did not explore farther than their immediate surroundings. Their neighbors, the Cree, thought the tribe was weak and often called them awonak, which means slaves. Explorer Peter Pond named the lake the Slave Lake in 1785 and then the Great Slave Lake in 1790. The Lake is known for its variety of types of fish, including trout, pike, and Arctic grayling. The Great Slave Lake is covered in snow and ice 8 months out of the year. The Great Slave Lake region is also the home to the largest intact forest in the world, the Boreal Forest, which contains evergreens, bogs, shallow lakes, and ponds (Pala). This Great Slave Lake cove is the habitat for caribou, waterfowl, beavers, and many fish species.
Ernst, Chloe. "The History and Sites of Great Slave Lake: A Visitor's Guide.” PlanetWare.com. Accessed April 06, 2017. http://www.planetware.com/northwest-territories/great-slave-lake-cdn-nt-ntgs.htm.
National Geographic, February 2002, 1. Global Reference on the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources (accessed April 5, 2017). http://find.galegroup.com/grnr/infomark.do?&source=gale&idigest=6f8f4a3faafd67e66fa023866730b0a1&prodId=GRNR&userGroupName=bucknell_it&tabID=T003&docId=A83374988&type=retrieve&PDFRange=%5B%5D&contentSet=IAC-Documents&version=1.0.
Pala, Christopher. "Forests forever. (Forest conservation in Canada)." Earth Island Journal, September 22, 2010.