Explore the Wilderness with These 5 Key Facts About Aulavik National Park

Sanjh Solanki
Sanjh Solanki Things to Know
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Aulavik National Park is a breathtaking wilderness in Canada’s far north area. It was established in 1992, and it covers over 12,000 square kilometers of pristine Arctic tundra, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the rolling hills of the British Mountains.

The park is home to various wildlife, including caribou, muskoxen, Arctic wolves, and many species of birds. Most visitors to the park explore its wide area by hiking, camping, and canoeing while taking in the spectacular view and learning about the unique culture and history of the local people.

This national park is a must-see destination for anyone interested in exploring the wild north area. It is a unique and unforgettable experience due to its remote, far-away location, stunning natural scenery, and rich history and culture.

1. History of Aulavik National Park

There were a few pre-Dorset culture residents in Aulavik National Park before the Thule culture arrived on southern Banks Island. Banks Island was probably desolate until Inuvialuit arrived in the seventeenth century due to the cold temperature and increasing ice.

Castle Bay and Mercy Bay are the two largest bays of Aulavik Park, located south of the McClure Strait. In Mercy Bay, Captain Robert McClure’s crew left their ship and trekked through the strait’s sea ice to finally reach the HMS Resolute.

Kuptana Archaeological Site

The copper Inuit of Victoria Island traveled to the Mercy Bay region to collect all things left behind by the McClure’s group. They also hunted caribou and muskox in the same region, as shown by the many food caches.

Due to the abundance of foxes, the location had popularity among the Inuvialuit in the 20th century.

One of the biggest sources of income for inhabitants from the Mackenzie Delta and the Alaskan North Slope was fox trapping, and then, after a few years, the fur trade began to collapse. The single settlement on the island, Sachs Harbor, was founded for this reason only.

2. Environment

The park protects the Artic Lowlands, the island’s northernmost point. A very thin vegetation highland plateau rises to 450 meters or 1,480 feet above sea level in the southern parts of the park.

With an estimated 68,000 to 80,000 creatures on the island, 20% of which live in the park, it is considered home to the biggest muskoxen on Earth.

It is also home to the critically endangered Peary caribou and a more typical barren-ground caribou. Around 43 species of birds utilize the region seasonally, in which ptarmigans and ravens are considered the sole year-round species in the park.

Arctic foxes, brown and northern collared lemmings, hares, and wolves roam around this treeless park’s rocky ground. There are many marine creatures as well as birds that can also be seen around the north coast of the park. 

Aulavik National Park
Image by Roxanne Latulippe from Pixabay

The Arctic desert-like Aulavik Park frequently sees strong winds. Around 300mm of precipitation falls yearly on the park.

3. Accessibility

The park can be accessed by chartered aircraft but only briefly in summer. Booking an aircraft is the most suggested method to see the park. The park has four landing areas to reduce any inconvenience that might occur.

Inuvik offers aircraft charter services in the Northwest Territories on the continent, which is 750 kilometers southwest of the southern reserve boundary.

To fully appreciate the park, visitors should purchase a fishing permit or obtain permission to access the park. These inexpensive licenses provide tourists the greatest possible experience by granting entry to several park areas.

4. Attractions Nearby

Besides being a major attraction, Aulavik National Park has many other interesting sights to see in the surrounding area.

One of the most notable is the town of Tuktoyaktuk, located just a short drive from the park, where visitors can explore the unique culture and way of life of the local Inuvialuit people, as well as take in the stunning beauty of the Arctic Ocean.

sunny hillside meadow view
Image by brigachtal from Pixabay

The Richardson Mountains, the Mackenzie River Delta, and the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway, one of the most wonderful drives in the world, are some other nearby attractions.

5. Things to Do in Aulavik National Park

With many activities visitors can explore and experience, Aulavik National Park is a nature’s paradise. Arctic wolves, muskoxen, caribou, animal species, marine fauna, and birds reside at the park. Tourists can also hike around, canoe down, and camp in remote areas.

Additionally, cultural experiences and the opportunity to learn about the history and traditions of the Inuvialuit people are also available. With its breathtaking scenery and rugged terrain, Aulavik National Park is an ideal destination for anyone wanting more adventure and connection with nature.

5.1. Paddling on the Thomsen River

The Thomsen River, one of the farthest northern streams in North America, is located at the center of Aulavik National Park. It flows slowly as it travels 160 kilometers through the park towards the north. It can be readily navigated by canoe or kayak without obstacles.

The Thomsen River valley is the park’s greatest part and is heaven for diverse animals. It normally begins at the headwater lakes, the southern edge of the park, or Green’s cabin, and they usually end at the Muskox River or Castel Bay.

Blue Lake Canoe Adventure
Image by Hong Zhang from Pixabay

Depending on your decided route and distance, the journey mostly spans two to three weeks. This provides a great opportunity to take benefit of the trek along the river and a few days with severe and strong weather.

The river usually gets frozen in mid-June, and by early August, the lower portions might be too shallow for a canoe to float. Late June to July is the ideal time to Kayak in the Thomsen with the best possible weather conditions.

5.2. Camping

The camp doesn’t support any designated official campsites, but there are good places to set up camp except for historical monuments. There are several breathtaking locations to choose from where you are considering hiking, canoeing, or both.

Everyone is recommended not to use trace camping to preserve the unspoiled nature of the park. You must take your waste with you.

The winds may be very strong at the Aulavik National Park, so a sturdy tent is advised for a relaxing trip to ensure safety and security. There are no campfire restrictions at the park, and everyone is supposed to use a camp stove and fuel from a bottle.

5.3. Hiking

The topography of the Aulavik National Park is mild enough to allow trekking almost everywhere, though there is a lack of established routes or trails. Late June to mid-August is the most suitable time for hikers to go on their excursions.

During this time, the temperature is at its hottest, with nature at its bloom, and there is non-stop daylight.

Archaeological and historical sites that showcase the region’s unique past are also accessible to tourists and hikers. Using appropriate maps, one can research their hiking paths beforehand and enjoy their trip.

5.4. Fishing

A current fishing permit is necessary for all visitors to the national park. A fishing license issued by the Northwest Territories government is not accepted in the Aulavik National Park.

One can purchase their legal fishing licenses from the Parks Canada offices in Inuivik and Sachs Harbor yearly or daily. The year-round license is good for a whole year at the park where it is purchased.

freshwater fishing catch release
Photo by Sticker Mule on Unsplash

Fishery resources are not currently updated, but the fish population is believed to be mostly poor in this cold arctic climate. Several limitations and rules for the daily capture and possession limit differ for different species.

5.5. Food and drinks

As Aulavik National Park is situated in a very remote and wild area, it doesn’t offer any restaurants or cafes. Visitors are responsible for bringing their food and drinks as the park does not provide cooking facilities or equipment. Also, all the garbage must be packed out with you to maintain a clean environment in the park.

Takeaway

In conclusion, Aulavik National Park is a true wilderness area in Canada’s Arctic region. Its vast and rugged terrain, diversified wildlife, spectacular views, and rich cultural history make it a must-see destination for all nature lovers and adventurers.

While the park’s remote location and harsh climate are not everyone’s cup of tea, visitors can see the most breathtaking scenery and have unforgettable experiences. From hiking to camping to canoeing, there are different ways to explore the place and connect with Mother Nature.

Furthermore, Aulavik is a natural wonder and an important historical and cultural site. Visitors learn about the traditions and history of the local people who have lived here for centuries and gain a deeper understanding of the human connection to the land.

Overall, Aulavik National Park is a true example of Canada’s northern beauty and resilience. Whether you seek adventure, escape, or cultural connection, it is the best option that should not be missed.

Last Updated on by Namrata

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