Scotty creek research station
A non-profit, Indigenous-led Research Station

About us

Scotty Creek is located 50 km south of Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories, Canada, and drains a 152 km2 landscape of boreal forest, wetland and discontinuous permafrost. In the 1990s, Scotty Creek was one of several river basins in the circum-polar region studied by GEWEX (GlobalEnergy and Water Exchange), an early climate change study that provided key insights into how northern ecosystems are changing, and laid a foundation for future educational, scientific andcommunity engagement programmes. Periodic field measurements at Scotty Creek began in 1994, and in 1996, the Water Survey of Canada installed a stream gauging station at the Scotty Creek outlet. In 1999, a seasonal camp was established in the basin headwaters along with thefirst multi-year instrumentation for year-round data collection and environmental monitoring. In 2003 the camp was upgraded to an all-season research station. This dramatically increased the capacity for field studies at Scotty Creek. The “Old Camp” as this site is known, was replaced by the First Lake Camp (2007-2012) and then by the Goose Lake Camp (2012-present). The Scotty Creek Research Station (SCRS) as it came to be known, has evolved into one of the leading research and outdoor educational stations in Canada’s north, and has distinguished itself as acentre of collaboration between western science and Indigenous communities.

Since the SCRS is located in the heart of one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth, it is uniquely positioned for research, education and outreach/engagement opportunities focussed onthe impacts of climate warming on northern environments and communities. Even over the last decade, permafrost thaw has transformed large areas of the Scotty Creek watershed from forest-covered, permafrost lands to permafrost-free, tree-less muskeg. Climate warming throughout the Dehcho region has disrupted land covers, water resources and ecology, and as a result, researchers and educators from across North America and beyond are drawn to the SCRS to learn about the impacts of climate warming through western scientific and Indigenous lenses. Over the years, the station has accumulated state-of-the-art research and educational infrastructure, and its facilities include over 5 kms of boardwalk/signage, heated structures, stable AC power, sanitation systems, satellite internet, docks for floatplanes and boats, and other features of a fully-functioning, year-round station offering unique opportunities for high-quality experiential learning, education, and research.

In mid-October, 2022, an out-of-season wildfire burned much of the station to the ground (see CBC article: However, the LKFN in collaboration with our partners were determined to rebuild the station so that it could resume its important contributions to the knowledge economy by bringing together community members, researchers, students and educators so that they can share critical knowledge and experiences on climate warming and co-develop knowledge-based solutions and adaptation strategies. The importance of Scotty Creek to the LKFN community and our partners was captured in several news articles following the fire (e.g.

In the months following the fire, the LKFN and their partners raised the funds needed to rebuild the SCRS, Canada’s first and only Indigenous-led research station. The SCRS has now re-openedand resumed its unique contributions to collaborative research and learning.