Wood Buffalo National Park

Spring Break-Up, Ice Jams and possible Boating Hazards in the Peace-Athabasca Delta and Peace / Athabasca / Slave River Systems in WBNP

Issued: May 06, 2022


  • Spring break-up of the Peace, Athabasca and Slave Rivers has begun. An ice front on the Peace River moved past Peace Point and to the mouth of the Slave River during the night of May 5. On May 6, several ice jams located along the Peace River and Slave rivers  near the mouth of the Slave River, at the Quatre Fourche bend and at Moose Island, were observed. Depending on how long the ice holds, there could be flooding in these areas. Water levels are increasing in rivers and lakes. Rapid changes in water level can occur as ice jams form and move. Parks Canada will continue to monitor this situation, along with local land users and partners.
  • On May 5, a High Streamflow Advisory was released by the Government of Alberta for much of the Peace River basin due to a developing low pressure system and widespread rain and rain/snow (50 – 80 mm) across northern Alberta over the coming days.
  • As the melt and break up continues, there may be trees, stumps and woody debris mixed in with the ice flowing downstream. Lake Athabasca still has ice cover and drifting ice pans are moving downstream. These are dangerous, difficult conditions: even for experienced travelers in the delta.
  • Due to possible hazards posed by this debris and drifting breakup ice, Parks Canada strongly advises against boating in the Peace Athabasca Delta and the lower Athabasca and Slave River corridors (including the Rocher, Quatre Fourche and Coupe river channels).
  • Spring meltwater in the river headwaters of the Canadian Rockies has been slow to melt. Flow from the mountains in May and June will result in further flow and possibly higher water levels. This could include the movement of tree trunks and additional woody debris. Anticipate hazards all summer long and avoid boating in lowlight conditions (dawn/dusk/night).
  • Any boaters using park waters should be self-sufficient and prepared for significant delays out on the land due to constantly changing conditions. Boaters should consider leaving a trip plan with friends/family and ensuring that the trip plan holder knows who to contact if the event of problems.
  • Parks Canada works closely with Indigenous, provincial and federal government agencies to monitor emergencies, breakup floods and to respond to public safety incidents as required.

Staying informed:



Melissa Zimmer
Communications Officer
Southwest NWT Field Unit
Parks Canada
(867) 872-0170


Rhona Kindopp
Wood Buffalo National Park
Southwest NWT Field Unit
Parks Canada
(867)- 872- 0980

Date modified :