New management plan for Canada’s northernmost national park | Polarjournal
The landscape of Quttinirpaaq National Park is characterized by diverse tundra and glaciated mountains. Photo: Paul Gierszewski via Wikipedia(CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED)(cropped)

The new 10-year management plan for Quttinirpaaq National Park on Ellesmere Island, Canada’s northernmost park, will increase Inuit involvement by, among other things, actively involving them in park management.

The Canadian government organisation Parks Canada announced on its website a few days ago that the new 10-year management plan for Quttinirpaaq National Park in the northern part of Ellesmere Island will strengthen cooperation with Inuit in the areas of research, tourism and infrastructure development. In addition to the active participation of the Inuit in park management, the new plan also aims to ensure that the rights of the Inuit are protected and that their knowledge is incorporated into management decisions.

People from Resolute Bay and Grise Fjord, Inuit organizations, researchers and federal and territorial partners collaborated on the development of the plan, which is reviewed every ten years.

Quttinirpaaq National Park is located in the north of Ellesmere Island, whose neighbour to the east is Greenland. Map: Parks Canada

The 37,775 square kilometer national park, the second largest in Canada, was established in 2000 and has been jointly managed by Inuit and Parks Canada in the Joint Park Management Committee since the beginning.

Quttinirpaaq means “land at the top of the world” in Inuktitut which fits perfectly. Located in the north of Canada’s Ellesmere Island, it is only around 800 kilometres from the North Pole. It is characterised by its vast tundra, which is framed by black mountain peaks and massive glaciers. Here, musk oxen and Peary caribou can roam the landscape largely undisturbed.

Discovering the microscopic world of Quttinirpaaq National Park

The park can only be reached by plane or cruise ship. In the years between 2008 and 2017, the authorities counted an average of 17 visitors per year in the absence of cruise ships. When cruise ships call at the park, the annual number of visitors rises to an average of 215, as Nunatsiaq News reports in an article.

Julia Hager, PolarJournal

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