Global Warming Is Closing Canadian Ice Roads For Good

The desolate, beautiful Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road is closed for good.

Tuktoyaktuk Winter RoadTawna Brown

The days of the ice roads may be few. Canada has more than 3,300 miles of them, all necessary for keeping North America’s farthest-flung inhabitants supplied through a long and brutal year. But The New York Times reports that the fractal network of paths are freezing later and thawing earlier than ever before. Canadian authorities point to climate change as the culprit and have begun preparing for a time when the ice can no longer support human travel. It means construction of new and expensive all-season roads. It means the chances to ride the ice grow slim.

If pointing your two wheels toward the Arctic Circle in the depths of winter sounds insane, talk to the Canadians for whom every season is riding season. The Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk once stretched across the frozen Mackenzie River and the Arctic Ocean. It closed permanently in 2017.