The Sahtu embraces the Mackenzie River south of its delta as far as Tulita and the great swath of land across to and including Great Bear Lake to the east, the world’s eighth largest lake. There’s no year-round road access: you either fly in, canoe the Mackenzie – no mean feat – drive on the famed winter access road or sign up with fishing and hunting charters that boat or fly you into the backcountry, home to some of North America’s finest fishing lodges and lakes. In 1994 a road was built as far as Wrigley, 225km northwest of Fort Simpson, but plans to push it through to Inuvik will be a long time in the making. In the meantime, most tours operate out of the area’s nominal capital at Norman Wells, on the banks of the Mackenzie River in the lee of the Franklin Mountains, which separate the river and Great Bear Lake. The Sahtu has just four other communities: Fort Good Hope, north of Norman Wells; Déline on Great Bear Lake; Colville Lake, north of Great Bear Lake; and Tulita, south of Norman Wells.

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