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Wetum Ice Road Excursion

Iceroadroute google earth

Five Adventurers: Cougar, CupCake, Reaper, Dos and Pathfinder. Three vehicles, and a few hundred pounds of gear. The expedition team departed for Ft. Albany by way of winter roads.  The winter roads of the James Bay region (of the Arctic Ocean) are a lifeline for the local residents of Attawapiskat, Fort Albany, Moosenee, and Moose Factory.   There are no all season roads that reach these remote communities due to the wilderness and Muskeg (Swampy flatlands of the region).   Access to these communities is normally by air or barge.   This makes the cost of living very expensive as most products need to be flown in or brought by ocean barge.

However, during the winter, if the climate permits, these communities build winter (Ice) roads south to other communities.   This allows residents to drive their vehicles to communities with cheaper staples and supplies to get them through the year.

The James Bay Winter Road has been built most years for a couple of decades and connects the communities of Attawapiskat (furthest north), Fort Albany and Moosenee/Moose Factory.   Moosenee and Moose Factory are supplied by rail through the polar bear express.  This allows these communities to provide supplies at much less cost.

More recently, the Wetum Road has been built by the Cree Community of Moose Factory.  The Wetum road connects Moosenee/ Moose Factory to hydro company roads at an outpost call Otter Rapids.  This in turn connects the communities to the Canadian Highway system and the rest of civilization.

The life of a winter road is short – normally 1 to 2 months.  Some years, the roads are not completed.  There is a lot of work to create these roads and a sizable budget spent by the local communities.   The current expedition team was unable to schedule the trip or consider planning options until the winter roads were opened and the window is small.

The purpose of the expedition was to explore this newly created transportation connection in hopes that others will embark on their own journeys and pursue whatever it is they need to reach.