Nelson is located 379 km (236 miles) north of Fort
St. John and 531 km (330 miles) south-east of Watson Lake, Yukon
on Hwy 97, the Alaska Highway.
Fort Nelson started out being a fur trading post in 1805 by the
Northwest Company and then, later in 1865, by the Hudson's Bay Company.
With the use of the Fort Nelson River and other nearby rivers such
as the Liard, Muskwa and Prophet, fur pelts were easily gathered
and transported back by the Hudson's Bay Company to the markets
Nelson Heritage Museum
To understand the development and history of Fort Nelson, especially
transportation interests, you'll have to visit the Fort Nelson Heritage
Museum. To find the museum travel just west of the Mile 300 mile
post on Hwy 97 to find the entrance point.
Today Fort Nelson serves as a major transportation centre for vehicle
and transport truck movement along Hwy 97. During the year both
tourists and industry use Fort Nelson as a service and rest point
on the way to Alaska. If you require any mechanical, service or
parts help, Fort Nelson has a number of outlets to serve you, including
a Husky Station on Hwy 97 which sells diesel and propane. For other
supplies there is an Overwaitea Foods, BC Liquor Store, Tim Hortons
and for food Dan's Neighbourhood Pub all located in town. There
is also a large, clean, well equipped sani-station situated across
from the Fort Nelson Heritage Museum.
The Fort Nelson River also served as a major contributing factor
in the development of aboriginal settlements before the European
arrivals. By being close to the Fort Nelson River, the First Nations
used the Fort Nelson River as a major transportation route during
the summer and winter, travelling up the Muskwa River and north
to Fort Liard and beyond.
and Natural Gas
Other businesses in Fort Nelson include a large component in the
oil and natural gas development and exploration sectors. Fort Nelson
houses a lot of these workers and is used as a focal point for deployment.
There is also a large number of other business and people in building
the infrastructure to support the oil and natural gas industries
The geography around Fort Nelson is fairly flat with some agriculture
due to good soil and a very long, growing day during the summer
time. This makes growing certain crops very substantial with a good
quality. During the summer time, look for the farmers' market where
you can pick up some quality products.
Nelson Recreational Forest
If you happen to want to go for a walk or cross-country ski, try
visiting the Fort Nelson Recreational Forest which is located in
the community. During the winter time on the Saturday before, or
on the full moon, the monthly Moonlight Cross-Country Ski event
is a lot of fun.
Hills Golf Course
For golfers Fort Nelson has a 9-hole course called Poplar Hills
Golf Course. Located high above the Muskwa River at 1377 Radar Road
the course offers some background views of the distant Northern
Rocky Mountains, telephone: (250) 774-3862.
Areas to visit around Fort Nelson include taking jet boats up the
Muskwa River in the Tuchodi River into the Northern Rocky Mountains
Provincial Park. Guides and hunters especially enjoy this recreational
area for the fantastic hunting and fishing that can be found.
When you're travelling, 27 km (17 miles) north-west from Fort Nelson
on the Alaska Highway, Hwy 97 is the turnoff for the gravel highway,
Hwy 77. Mostly referred to and called the Liard Highway, Hwy 77
has opened up vast areas of Northern British Columbia for oil and
natural gas jobs in exploration.
This highway will take you to and across the Fort Nelson River into
the Northwest Territories changing the name to Hwy 7. Going north
into the NWT, Hwy 7 follows the Liard Trail north to the turnoff
to Fort Liard and the Liard River. Hwy 7 eventually takes you to
Checkpoint where it junctions with the Mackenzie Highway or Hwy
If instead you are travelling north on the Alaska Highway, just
near the junction for Hwy 77 you'll start entering the eastern foothills
of the Northern Rocky Mountains. As you climb just outside the Muskwa
River you'll start entering the mountains, eventually coming into
the Northern Rocky Mountain Provincial Park, a very wonderful place
then to Muncho Lake.
River Hot Springs
Travelling farther north on the Alaska Highway located at mile post
496, about 322 km (200 miles) north of Fort Nelson, is Liard
River the site of British Columbia's largest outdoor hot springs
called the Liard
River Hot Springs Provincial Park. A campground is available
and, if you're travelling on the Alaska Highway, the therapeutic
hot springs will provide a nice relaxing break.
Another vast area of north-eastern British Columbia near Fort Nelson
that is opening up is by using the 173 km (108 miles) long, all-weather,
multi-user resource, Sierra-Yoyo-Desan Road. Access is off the Alaska
Highway about 10 km (6 miles) south of Fort Nelson on the Clarke
Nelson River Bridge
Starting after travelling 15 km (9 miles) to the end of Clarke Lake
Road the Sierra-Yoyo-Desan Road will take you across a new two-lane
bridge over the Fort Nelson River. This new bridge replaces travelling
across a one-lane railway bridge to the other side and was completed
by Ledcor Projects Inc. of Vancouver.
Lake Village Site
Along the Sierra Yoyo Desan Road you can visit the Kotcho Lake Village
Site. The heritage site of the local Fort Nelson aboriginal band,
the Dene Tha First Nations is around 100 km (62 miles) east of Fort
Nelson past the small oil field airstrips of Sierra and Yoyo.
There is no road access into Kotcho Lake, so only by walking in,
using a boat or plane can you reach some wilderness camping plus
some areas for fishing and swimming. The Sierra-Yoyo-Desan Road
gets you to within 3 km (2 miles) of Kotcho Lake.
The Sierra-Yoyo-Desan Road eventually ends at Helmet, one of the
largest oil and natural gas finds in Western Canada, part of the
Greater Sierra Oil Field Basin.
on Fort Nelson