Fort Nelson (population: 4,188) is located in the northeast corner of BC at mile 300 (km 483) on the Alaska Highway. Fort Nelson is a major town and stopover destination for travellers leaving British Columbia for the Yukon and Alaska beyond.
Fort Nelson is located at the junction of the Muskwa, Prophet, and Sikanni Chief Rivers, which meet to create the Fort Nelson River. Named after Admiral Nelson, the original settlement in Fort Nelson was a North West Company fur trading post, established in 1805.
Fort Nelson's economy was once based on the fur trade, but the modern thriving community of today relies heavily on lumber and natural gas as the mainstay of its economy, with an increasing emphasis on transportation and tourism.
It is almost impossible not to observe wildlife as you travel through the Northeast, the so-called Serengeti of North America. The area's spectacular wildlife fauna consists of eight species of ungulates, namely Stone Sheep, mountain goats, bison, moose, elk, caribou, and white-tailed and mule deer; plus at least seven species of medium-sized carnivores including wolves, coyotes, foxes, grizzly bears, black bears, lynx and wolverines.
Deer, moose, bears, and elk frequent clearings alongside roads, foraging for food. In some areas, salt licks have been placed near the road to attract ungulates. Be careful when driving these roads, especially at night; if you were to hit a moose, the chances are good that your vehicle would come out of the encounter in worse shape than the moose. Honest.
Back when the Alaska Highway was still a gravel road, the small roadside stations were the essence of life and travel along this long and lonely highway, and they still remain invaluable to the weary traveller today.