Kanadas Ivvavik National Park was established in 1984. The park covers an area of 10,168 square kilometers. It is located in the Yukon Province in northwestern Canada.
The coast of Lake Beaufort is the homelandof the Ivvavik National Park. The border with Alaska runs in the area of the park. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge of Alaska is the direct neighbor of the Canadian National territory. The Vuntut National Park borders in the south. So it is located in the middle of protected areas. Vuntut Park is an area of the state organization ParksCanada.
Indigenous people and the finding of a name
The Ivvavik National Park got its name from the indigenous people living there, the Inuvialuit. They called the area the place of birth. In their tribal language this is called Ivvavik. This is how this name was later used for the national park.
However, it is not a place where the women of the tribe gave birth, rather the caribou calves are born here.
Ownership of the park area
The Ivvavik National Park is the first national park in its current form, which was created on the basis of territorial claims agreements between the Canadian government and the indigenous people living there.
There is no road connection to the park itself. The area can only be reached via charter flights. In the park area itself you will find high mountains, wide river valleys and extensive tundra landscapes.
On the Arctic coast you can see steep and rough rock faces. When visiting the region, one can observe herds of caribou and numerous water birds. Over 90 percent of Ivvavik National Park consists of the British Mountains. Therefore, many mountain bird species are native to the area. The mountains reach a height of up to 1,800 meters.
History of the Ivvavik National Park
The landscape shows many V-shaped valleys, which were created from frost, water and wind erosion. The Invailuit who live here know the area very well. Their migrations were not actually intended, but due to food shortages they had to keep moving to find new sources of food. They also made a living from hunting deer and caribou. Whale and seal hunts were also practiced here.
The Invailuit People wanted the whalers avoid and were thus forced to move on and off again and again.
The fur trade flourished and so more and more fur hunters came to the area of today’s national park and slaughtered seals. The indigenous peoples participated at the beginning, because this way they could benefit from a new source of income. But more and more fur traders from Europe and America displaced the indigenous people and took over their living space. Today the primitive peoples no longer live in the park. They only come here for hunting, fishing or cultural events.
The indigenous people must have settled in the region thousands of years ago. During excavations, archaeologists found rock dwellings, tent rings and stone fences from that time in the Firth River Valley. Already 5,000 years ago the Invailuit used a platform to view their hunting ground. This plateau lies at a height of 300 meters and was created from an ice formation. The Engigstak has been a well-known place for the indigenous people for a long time. Like many other relics from that time, it can be visited today.