Auyuittuq National Park

Welcome to Auyuittuq National Park! Discover the beauty of the Canadian Arctic, with mighty glaciers, towering mountains, and a rich Inuit history. Explore ancestral hunting routes, observe polar bears and beluga whales, and enjoy hiking, mountaineering, and nature photography. Be prepared for extreme weather and contribute to the conservation of the park. Come and experience this unique adventure in Auyuittuq!

Introduction to Auyuittuq National Park

Auyuittuq National Park

Geographical Location

Located in the Qikiqtaaluk region of Nunavut, Auyuittuq National Park is a place of extremes. It stretches from the coast of Cumberland Sound to the interior of the Cumberland Peninsula. Its coordinates are 67°30′0″ N, 66°0′0″ W.

Meaning of the Name Auyuittuq

The name Auyuittuq is of Inuit origin and means "the land that never melts." This name accurately represents the vast expanse of ice and snow found in the park.

History of Auyuittuq National Park

Establishment of the Park

The park was established in 1976 as a National Park Reserve and in 2001, it was officially recognized as a National Park, protected under Canada’s National Parks Act. It is cooperatively managed by Inuit and Parks Canada under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and the Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement of Auyuittuq, Quttinirpaaq, and Sirmilik National Parks.

Historical and Cultural Significance

Auyuittuq National Park holds great importance for the Inuit people who have inhabited this region for thousands of years. Many of the current hiking routes were once Inuit hunting trails.

Geography and Physical Features

Description of the Geography

The park is a vast expanse of 21,470 square kilometers of mountains, glaciers, valleys, and rivers. Here, you’ll find the Mount Thor, known for having the Earth’s highest vertical drop.

Glacial Landscape and the Canadian Shield

The park sits on the ancient Canadian Shield, resulting in an impressive glacial landscape. The valleys and fjords formed by glacial erosion are among the park’s main attractions.

The Tallest Mountain in the Eastern Arctic Range: Mount Barbeau

Standing at 2,616 meters, Mount Barbeau is the highest peak in the Eastern Arctic Range and is located within Auyuittuq National Park.

General Climate Conditions

The climate in Auyuittuq National Park is polar maritime, which means long and cold winters, and short and cool summers. Although summer brings almost constant sunlight, direct sunlight doesn’t reach the park for about a quarter of the year.
Winds of 15-20 km/h are common throughout the year, but they tend to be stronger (30-40 km/h) from late summer to early winter, with extreme gusts of up to 100 km/h. The Penny Ice Cap, steep mountain slopes, and the linear valley of Akshayuk Pass create conditions of constant winds along the trail. Be prepared for sand blowing in the summer and zero visibility during the snow season.

The park receives very little precipitation, but late summer is the rainiest period of the year. Be prepared for snow at any time and place in Auyuittuq! By mid-August, it’s common to find new snow on the pass, and above 2000 feet elevation, the snow is permanent.

Best Times to Visit

The months from June to August are ideal for exploring the park, as temperatures are relatively warm, and the days are longer.

Flora and Fauna

Dominant Plant Species

Despite the harsh conditions, the park hosts a variety of arctic plant life, including various species of lichens, mosses, and perennial flowering plants.

Resident and Migratory Animal Species

The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including polar bears, arctic foxes, caribou, and more than 30 species of birds, some of which are migratory.

Endangered Species

The park plays a crucial role in protecting several endangered species, such as the polar bear and the beluga whale.

Activities in Auyuittuq National Park

Hiking and Mountaineering

The park offers plenty of opportunities for hiking and mountaineering, with routes varying in difficulty and duration.

  1. Akshayuk Pass Route: a challenging hiking and mountaineering route that traverses the spectacular Akshayuk glacier valley. Enjoy panoramic views, mighty glaciers, and steep cliffs on this thrilling adventure.
  2. Mount Thor Route: embark on an exciting expedition to Mount Thor, known for having the Earth’s highest vertical drop. Conquer challenging slopes and steep rocks while marveling at the stunning landscape around you.

Wildlife Observation

Auyuittuq National Park is a paradise for nature lovers, offering excellent opportunities for observing the local wildlife.

Photography and Nature Painting

The stunning landscape of the park provides a perfect setting for photography and nature painting.

Services and Facilities

Visitor Centers

The park has visitor centers in Pangnirtung and Qikiqtarjuaq, where visitors can obtain detailed information about the park and its attractions.

Accommodations and Campsites

There are several shelters and campsites available within the park to accommodate visitors during their stay.

Regulations and Restrictions

To ensure the protection of the park, there are various regulations and restrictions that visitors must adhere to, including limits on permitted activities and waste disposal.

Safety in Auyuittuq National Park

Preparation for Extreme Weather

It is essential for visitors to be well-prepared for the extreme and rapidly changing weather conditions. It is recommended to carry appropriate gear, including warm and rainproof clothing.

Prevention of Wildlife Encounters

The park is home to several species of wild animals. Visitors should maintain a safe distance and never feed the animals.

First Aid and Emergencies

Visitors should be equipped with a first aid kit and have basic knowledge of first aid. In case of an emergency, rescue services are available.

Ecological Impact and Conservation Efforts

Climate Change and its Impact

Climate change poses a real threat to Auyuittuq National Park, affecting the park’s flora, fauna, and glacial landscapes.

Current Conservation Efforts

Current conservation efforts in the park include monitoring endangered species, visitor management, and environmental education.

How Visitors Can Contribute to Conservation

Visitors can contribute to park conservation by following park regulations, minimizing their impact, and participating in education and volunteer programs.

How to Get to Auyuittuq National Park

Public and Private Transportation

Visitors can reach the park by plane to Pangnirtung or Qikiqtarjuaq, and then take a boat or dogsled to the park.

Accessibility and Adaptability in the Park

Despite its remote location, the park strives to be accessible and welcoming to all visitors, with accommodation and activity options for a wide range of abilities and preferences.

Photo Gallery