The COVID-19 checkpoint on Highway 5 at the border of Alberta and the NWT will be removed starting Aug. 1.

The Government of the Northwest Territories Press Secretary’s Office said in a news release on July 21 that the station near Fort Smith will see its last day on July 31.

According to the release, extensive consultation has been done with Indigenous leaders in the area as well as the Town of Fort Smith and notes the municipality has one of the highest vaccination rates in the NWT.

The removal of the checkpoint will mean that accessing Wood Buffalo National Park will be easier for northerners.

”The border serves as a gateway into Wood Buffalo National Park and popular destinations on the Alberta side of the border such as the Pine Lake area and the Salt River trail network,” said Dawn Ostrem, communications manager with the COVID Secretariat in the release. “When the checkpoint is removed, the pass system needed to travel to those locations will be discontinued.”

People from Alberta visiting the national park will be able to continue accessing it through Highways 1, 2 and 5.

“Border security at Highway 1 will notify the Compliance and Enforcement Officer located in Fort Smith of Alberta travellers en route to Wood Buffalo National Park,” Ostrem said.

“Alberta campers and tourists must abide by person in-transit conditions,” which are laid out in the territory’s Public Health Order – COVID-19 Travel Restrictions and Self-Isolation regulations.

NWT residents can contact ProtectNWT with inquiries and complaints and officers will investigate all complaints.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. A through and through "County boy" from Prince Edward County, Ont., Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin...

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