It was during the Canadian Arctic Expedition that the first scientific exploration
of the Coppermine
River took place. In February and March 1915 Anderson, Jenness, Johansen,
and Castel travelled up the river by dog team, using a Nome sled and a toboggan.
They carried out biological, geological and archaeological surveys on the lower
third of the river. Johansen studied the dead and dying spruce at the northern
limit of trees, discovering three species of bark beetles at work in the timber.
Anderson and Castel continued on up the Coppermine to Dismal
Lake and across to Dease Lake. Slowed by soft snow and rough, jagged ice on the
Coppermine and deep soft snow on the Dease, the dogs became exhausted, making
it impossible to reach Great Bear Lake to transfer mail, so they turned back,
reaching Bernard Harbour on 1 April.