Research Licenses

All research conducted within the Northwest Territories requires a government license. You should submit your application at least three months before your project begins. Most license applications will be sent to local communities and co-management boards for their review. Seeking feedback on your proposal from these groups in advance can expedite the process by allowing you to address any concerns they may have before the formal licensing process begins. Contacting the Renewable Resources Councils is a good starting point.

Private Land

More than 22,000 km2 of land within the Mackenzie Delta belongs to the Gwich’in Tribal Council. A high-resolution map is available on their website. To request access to this land, contact the Gwich’in Tribal Council’s Department of Lands & Resources.

To the north of the Gwich’in Settlement Area is the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. Information on Inuvialuit private lands is available here.

Logistical Support, Equipment Rentals and Research Facilities

The Aurora Research Institute in Inuvik can provide a wide range of services to researchers, including logistical support, accommodations, lab space, boats, winter clothing, rifles and field equipment. Visit their website for a full description of their services.

Map of the Gwich'in Settlement Region
Map of the Gwich'in Settlement Region


The most economical way to ship goods to the Mackenzie Delta is usually by transport truck. The two main companies are Northwind Industries and Manitoulin Transport.

Several airlines operate passenger and cargo services to Inuvik and surrounding communities. Helicopters can also be chartered. If you are planning aerial surveys, contact NWT Environment and Natural Resources for requirements to avoid disturbing wildlife (867-678-6650 or

Vehicles can be rented from Driving Force in Inuvik.

Motorboats can be rented from the Aurora Research Institute. Drivers are available if needed. It may also be possible to hire someone local to transport you by boat. The Renewable Resources Councils can provide further assistance.

Road Conditions/Ferries

The current condition of all-season roads, ice roads, and ferries is listed on the NWT Department of Infrastructure website. Keep in mind that conditions can change quickly.

Aklavik is accessible by ice road during the winter, but can only be reached by boat or aircraft during the summer.

Vehicles travelling the Dempster Highway cross the Peel and Mackenzie Rivers by ferry in the summer and on ice bridges in the winter. When planning your logistics, keep in mind that there is about a month each spring and fall during which the ferries are unable to operate, but the ice is not yet thick enough for traffic. During this time, the Mackenzie Delta is not accessible by road. The timing of closures depends on the weather, but you can get a general idea by looking at the historical opening and closing dates for the ferries and ice roads.