“Eskers, mudflats, cliffs, & rolling tundra banks”
Ukkusiksalik National Park is located just west of the community of Repulse Bay and the Arctic Circle. The park surrounds Wager Bay, a 100 km long saltwater inlet on the northwest coast of Hudson Bay in Nunavut. Declared a national park on August 23, 2003, Ukkusiksalik became Canada’s 41st national park. Named after the soapstone found within its boundaries, the park includes 20 500 km2 of eskers, mudflats, cliffs, rolling tundra banks and unique coastal regions. While Inuit do hunt in the region, the parkland is uninhabited. Inuit had lived in the area from 1000 AD through to the 1960s, and the Hudson’s Bay Company had a trading post there from 1925-1947. Over 500 archaeological sites have been identified in the park, including such features as fox traps, tent rings, and food caches. The park protects a representative sample of the Central Tundra Natural Region. Ukkusiksalik National Park is a 20,500 square kilometres (7,900 sq mi) tundra and coastal mudflat region extending south of the Arctic Circle and the hamlet of Repulse Bay, from Hudson Bay's Roes Welcome Sound towards the western Barrenlands and the source of Brown River. The park surrounds Wager Bay, a 100 kilometres (62 mi) long inlet on the Hudson Bay. Although the smallest of Nunavut's four national parks, it is the sixth largest in Canada. Its name relates to steatite found there: Ukkusiksalik means "where there is material for the stone pot" (from ukkusik, meaning pot or saucepan like qulliq). In addition to a reversing waterfall and 500 archeological sites, including an old Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) trading post, the region is home to such species as polar bears, Grizzly Bears, the Arctic Wolf, caribou, seals and Peregrine Falcons. Vegetation in the park is typical low tundra, with dwarf birch, willow and mountain avens. Scattered patches of boreal forest can be encountered in river valleys. The park is uninhabited now, but the Inuit lived there from 11th century to the 1960s. Remains of fox traps, tent rings, and food caches have been discovered in the area. The HBC had an operating trading post in the area from 1925 to 1947. The park was created on August 23, 2003, becoming Canada's 41st national park, and the fourth in Nunavut. It can be reached by flights from Winnipeg, Manitoba and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Little is known about Wager Bay's early history, as until the 19th century the area was inhabited by Inuit who traditionally passed down their history by word-of-mouth. There is, however, a remarkable quantity of stone relics, mainly tent rings from Thule people, inuksuit, caches and shelters which give evidence that the coast of Wager Bay was inhabited since thousands of years. About 500 archaeological sites have been identified within the last years as well from Dorset culture (500 BC - 1000 AD), as from Thule culture (1000 - 1800) and the last two centuries. The prevailing climate is arctic-maritime; relatively little precipitation, low temperatures, and strong winds. It has North America's highest wind chill and largest snowdrifts. Due to this, the National Park is considered to be "high arctic". A remarkable feature is that at the south shore of Wager Bay a steep mountain range, gorged by former glaciers, strongly influences the weather. Due to its proximity to Hudson Bay, drops in temperature and strong fog are normal during summertime, as blizzards are during early autumn. The bay is not completely free of ice before the end of July, although temperatures may range from cool to very warm between May and September.
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Ukkusiksalik National Park
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