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Nunavut National Parks

auyuttuq nat parkNunavut has four large national parks. Auyuittuq Park is located on southern Baffin Island in the Arctic, and Sirmilik National Park is located on the northern part of the island. Ukkusiksalik National Park is on the northwest coast of Hudson's Bay on the mainland. Quttinirpaaq is the most remote northern park in North America, and accessible only by charter aircraft.

Auyuittuq National Park - Sweeping glaciers and polar sea ice meet jagged granite mountains in Auyuittuq National Park. Established in 1976, Auyuittuq - an Inuktitut word meaning "land that never melts" - protects 19,089 sq km of glacier-scoured terrain. Located in the eastern Arctic, on southern Baffin Island, the park includes the highest peaks of the Canadian Shield, the Penny Ice Cap, marine shorelines along coastal fiords, and Akshayuk Pass, a traditional travel corridor used by the Inuit for thousands of years.

Quttinirpaaq National Park – During the brief arctic summer on Quttinirpaaq, the sun remains high in the sky bathing the land in continuous daylight. There is no darkness to mark the passage of time telling you when to sleep and when to wake. There are no trees to remind you of lands further south. The scale of the land is both immense and intimate. Intricate patterns of rock, frost-cracked ground, willows and wildflowers at your feet extend out from where you stand into endless vistas in the clear, dry air. Glaciers on a mountainside 15 km away seem to be details in a landscape within reach.

Resolute Bay, Nunavut, is the launching point for trips into Quttinirpaaq National Park. From Resolute Bay, you must charter an aircraft to get to the park. It is a four-hour flight by Twin Otter.

Sirmilik National Park – Sirmilik National Park represents the Northern Eastern Arctic Lowlands Natural Region and portions of the Lancaster Sound Marine Region. The park will comprise three separate land areas. Bylot Island is a spectacular area of rugged mountains, icefields and glaciers, coastal lowlands and seabird colonies. Oliver Sound is a long, narrow fiord with excellent opportunities for boating, hiking and camping. Borden Peninsula is an extensive plateau dissected by broad river valleys. The park features landforms and superb wilderness hiking and camping, and a major seabird colony in the vicinity of Baillarge Bay.

Ukkusiksalik National Park - Ukkusiksalik National Park is located just west of the community of Repulse Bay and the Arctic Circle. The park surrounds Wager Bay, a 100 km long saltwater inlet on the northwest coast of Hudson Bay in Nunavut. Declared a national park on August 23, 2003, Ukkusiksalik became Canada’s 41st national park. Named after the soapstone found within its boundaries, the park includes 20 500 km2 of eskers, mudflats, cliffs, rolling tundra banks and unique coastal regions.

While Inuit do hunt in the region, the parkland is uninhabited. Inuit had lived in the area from 1000 AD through to the 1960s, and the Hudson’s Bay Company had a trading post there from 1925-1947. Over 500 archaeological sites have been identified in the park, including such features as fox traps, tent rings, and food caches. The park protects a representative sample of the Central Tundra Natural Region.

For more information see Parks Canada

See also

Birding North Canada

Nunavut Territory

Amphibians of the Territories

Reptiles of the Territories

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