The problem for Stephanie Yuill was easy methods to rejoice the twenty fifth birthday of a distant park within the Northwest Territories that sees a handful of holiday makers a yr at the very best of occasions and is closed for the second yr in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The answer has been to have enjoyable celebrating Tuktut Nogait Nationwide Park within the close by neighborhood of Paulatuk/Paulatuuq — inhabitants 300 — after which work on spreading the phrase throughout Canada and past in regards to the park most individuals have by no means heard of.
“Yeah, we now have this beautiful superb park and it’s important to go to it to really expertise,” explains Yuill, Tuktut Nogait’s website supervisor. “However there are all types of the way to nearly expertise the park.”
She has been doing media interviews and digital faculty journeys to share how Tuktut Nogait was created June 5, 1996 with the signing of an institution settlement between Parks Canada, the Authorities of the Northwest Territories and 4 Inuvialuit organizations on behalf of the Inuvialuit folks to guard the Bluenose-West caribou herd.
The park will get its identify from the Inuvialuktun phrase for “younger caribou.” It’s 170 kilometres (105 miles) north of the Arctic Circle. At 18,890 sq. kilometres (about 7,300 sq. miles), it’s greater than Northern Eire, Jamaica, Fiji or Kuwait. To get there, you should fly to the capital metropolis of Yellowknife, then to city of Inuvik after which to hamlet of Paulatuk earlier than climbing or boating the remainder of the way in which (no less than a day’s journey).
Tuktut Nogait has recorded simply 69 official guests since 2010 — averaging between two and 21 — however that quantity doesn’t embrace the locals. “It’s their yard,” says Paulatuk-based Yuill. “It’s theirs to make use of to hunt and fish. We now have no want to trace them.”
Birthday celebrations launched in Might with a 25-day scavenger hunt run by way of the Paulatuk Neighborhood Occasions and Day by day Information Fb group, and 25 enjoyable information in regards to the quantity 25. Radio bingo was successful, with 102 folks out of a inhabitants of almost 300 collaborating.
“There are 25 squares on a bingo card,” factors out Yuill.
A birthday dinner with conventional meals and reside music included 25 individuals who helped negotiate and signal the institution settlement, or who’ve labored on the park and its annual tradition camp.
June 5 — which can also be Inuvialuit Day — was stuffed with video games, mascots, Parks Canada’s iconic crimson chairs pulled out for images and a time capsule with postcard messages that will likely be opened in 2046. Yuill will head into the park this summer time to determine how, factoring in permafrost, to greatest go away the time capsule.
Now Parks Canada is working with Tusaayaksat Journal — which celebrates Inuvialuit tradition, heritage and language — on a double challenge dedicated to Tuktut Nogait and Paulatuk. Come fall and winter, the birthday yr celebrations will possible wrap up with a music evening and a tea for elders.
Parks Canada has two year-round workers assigned to Tuktut Nogait and is getting one summer time scholar. The workers are additionally engaged on the second administration plan for the park. The final one was launched in 2007.
Listed below are a number of the information they dug up about Tuktut Nogait.
• The park boasts greater than 300 recognized archeological websites, some 1,000 years outdated. You’ll see tent rings, looking blinds and meals caches the Copper Inuit used to retailer caribou meat.
• The solar rises on Tuktut Nogait on Might 18 and doesn’t set till July 24. Within the winter, the solar units on November 28 and doesn’t rise till January 13.
• The imply annual temperature is minus 11C (12F) with a summer time imply of 5C (41F) and a winter imply of minus 26C (minus 14F).
• The Bluenose-West caribou that calve within the park are nicely tailored for northern residing. Their guard hairs are just like a ingesting straw — the hole hairs entice air inside and act as insulation for the caribou’s physique warmth. These hole hairs assist them to be buoyant within the water making caribou wonderful swimmers.
• The 300-kilometre lengthy Hornaday River flows via the park, beginning at Blue Nostril East Lake in Nunavut and emptying into the Amundsen Gulf and the Arctic Ocean.
• The Hornaday River was identify after William Temple Hornaday, a zoologist, taxidermist, writer and pioneer within the early wildlife conservation motion in america.
• Paulatuk’s identify means place of coal after the smoking hills northeast of the neighborhood. The cliffs are underlain with oil shales that spontaneously ignite when uncovered to air. The neighborhood is also called Southwind Capital of the Arctic after the prevailing southerly winds that roll off the barren lands. The imply wind pace is estimated at 5.84 meters per second (that’s 21 kilometres/hour or 13 miles/hour).
• Like within the Italian alps, the dominant rock in Tuktut Nogait is dolomite.
The park could also be treeless however there’s a lot happening within the wildlife division.
• The gyrfalcon nests on the rocky ledges of the Brock and Hornaday River canyons that wind via the park. It’s the biggest falcon species and the territorial chicken.
• The fierce wolverine lives right here. Its scientific identify, Gulo gulo, actually means glutton and these omnivores are insatiable. “Plant, animal, alive, lifeless. They’ll eat all of it. Even enamel and bones,” says Parks Canada.
• Muskox and caribou are the one hooved mammals within the Arctic to outlive the top of the Pleistocene Period which got here to a detailed about 10,000 years in the past.
• Muskox have two layers of fur. The outer layer (referred to as “guard hairs”) and the inside layer of shorter hairs referred to as “qiviut” that fall out for the summer time season. Spun qiviut is eight occasions hotter than a sheep’s wool and is likely one of the warmest pure fibers on the earth.
• Of the 92 species of butterflies within the Northwest Territories, the Arctic White, Frequent Branded Skipper and Silvery Blue all name the park dwelling.
• You may see no less than one of many territory’s 22 bumble bee species — the red-tailed bumble bee — right here. The white-tailed, winter and brown-tailed bumble bees additionally hover in areas close to the park.
• The white eight-petal mountain-aven will be discovered all through the park. This member of the rose household is the territorial emblem of the Northwest Territories.
• From late June till the top of July the tundra is carpeted with showy wildflowers, similar to arctic lupine, moss campion, purple saxifrage, Siberian phlox, lapland roseberry, oxytropis, cinquefoil, hedysarum and river beauties.
Flying above the park, you’ll possible see ice polygons. Parks Canada says these honeycomb patterns are created by an annual crack, freeze and thaw cycle within the energetic layer of the soils above the permafrost.
The Arctic is certainly a desert. The imply annual precipitation ranges from 200 to 300 millimetres (20 to 30 centimetres, or eight to 11 inches). That is greater than 5 stacked golf tees however lower than a bowling pin, in accordance with Parks Canada.
At 23-metres (75-feet) excessive, La Roncière Falls is greater than half the peak of 56-metre (184-feet) Niagara Falls. However, as Parks Canada places it, “you do not have to share it with 13 million folks.”
Yuill — who’s initially from Ottawa and has lived in Paulatuk since September 2020 — loves the seasonality and rhythm of life within the north. A number of weeks in the past, 1000’s of geese arrived. Earlier than that it was the caribou, and locals have been cautious to not hunt the pregnant cows. Proper now, it’s egg season and there’s loads of fishing.
There aren’t any plans in the meanwhile to make the park extra accessible to guests, and Parks Canada doesn’t host any guided journeys. There’s nonetheless a lot to study in regards to the park’s ecosystem and the all-important caribou.
“There’s a lot great land right here,” says Yuill. “The park is simply a part of it, and it was created out of respect for the caribou.”