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The Inuujarvik Territorial Park

Inuujaarvik Territorial Park (campground) provides a great place to camp while in Baker Lake - the Geographic Centre of Canada! It is perfect for canoeists from the Thelon or Kazan Heritage Rivers wanting to check out the Arts and Crafts the hamlet is famous for, the Inuit Heritage Centre, or want to find an outfitter to take you out fishing.

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The Thelon and Kazan Rivers, both heritage rivers, flow into Baker Lake and are popular with canoeists. Campground facilities are available near the hamlet at the Inuujarvik Territorial Park (located between the hamlet and the airport).

 

The Kazan Heritage River

bakerlake heritage riverThe Kazan River flows through the cradle of Caribou Inuit Culture, in the heart of Nunavut's barren lands. Over the centuries, the Inuit have left a subtle imprint on the rugged landscape of the Kazan valley, where tree cover is rare and the rocky outcrops of the Shield are dramatically exposed. The banks of the Kazan are rich with signs of former occupation, including inuksuit standing sentinel at river crossings, campsites and caches. This unique concentration of historic and prehistoric sites adds a fascinating atmosphere to a visitor's experience.

The apparently barren wilderness lies on the migration route of the 500,000 strong Qamanirjuaq caribou herd – one of the largest movements of land mammals in the world. It also is home to numerous muskox, the rare wolverine, and more than 60 species of birds. The endangered peregrine falcon nests along the river, favouring the spectacular cliff sides of Kazan Falls, and the river's pure waters support an array of fish, including lake trout and grayling.

 

The Thelon Heritage River

The Thelon sweeps majestically out of spruce-lined valleys, winding across the barrens through vast shimmering lakes set like mirrors in the treeless tundra, finally emptying into Baker Lake.

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This boreal-Arctic oasis supports a rich and unusually diverse northern concentration of wildlife. Paddle through a land of muskox, white wolves, moose, barren-ground grizzly, wolverine; soaring gyrfalcon, peregrine falcons and more than 10,000 moulting Canada Geese. The 275,000 strong Beverly caribou herd crosses the river in large groupings at a number of spots during the herd's annual migration.

bakerlake pipsi For the Inuit of the village of Baker Lake, the river is a vital source of caribou, fish and spiritual renewal. The Thelon, together with its sister river, the Kazan, has long been home to the Caribou Inuit, the only inland community of Inuit in Canada. The shores of the Thelon, particularly from Beverly Lake downstream, are a treasure-house of pre-historic artifacts and Inuit campsites, some dating back thousands of years. The Thelon continues to play a vital role in the lives of the Caribou Inuit, who now reside primarily in the community of Baker Lake at the river's mouth. It was their strong desire and effort to have the river and their traditional life lead to its designation as a Canadian Heritage River in 1990.

 

The Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary

The Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary includes an expanse of 52,000 square kilometers, straddling the border of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Located approximately halfway between Baker Lake and Yellowknife, the sanctuary was established in 1927 to conserve muskox populations.

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In the past, the sanctuary drew Inuit inland from such distant areas as Bathurst Inlet, the Back River/Chantrey Inlet, and the Kazan River. All sought the valuable driftwood brought to the shores of Beverly Lake by the Thelon and Dubawnt Rivers. Travelling by dog team during the winter, these trips likely involved many chance meetings of Inuit from distant and diverse areas of Nunavut in Akiliniq, a trade centre for the central Arctic and provided opportunities to exchange material goods and information.

 

Fall Caribou Crossing National Historic Site

Fall Caribou Crossing National Historic Site of Canada spans a section of the lower Kazan River (Harvaqtuuq) between the Kazan Falls and the narrows in Thirty Mile Lake (Quukilruq) in the Territory of Nunavut. In this area, the river has an east-west orientation, and is relatively narrow with gently sloping shorelines. The entire area is criss-crossed with extensive caribou trails. The designation refers to the entire cultural landscape with its associated resources.

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Fall Caribou Crossing was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1995 because:
- the Fall Caribou Crossing hunt on the Kazan River, focusing on the inland or caribou hunt, speaks eloquently to the cultural, spiritual and economic life of the Inuit in the Kivalliq region, and stands as a site of particular significance to its community.

The heritage value of Fall Caribou Crossing National Historic Site of Canada lies in its witness to centuries of inland Inuit caribou hunt in a cultural landscape with particular natural geographic features, abundant evidence of human occupation associated with the caribou hunt, and animated by oral histories, cultural traditions and archaeological patterns related to long term inland Inuit use, maintenance and activity. For centuries, the fall caribou crossing on the Kazan River was essential to the inland Inuit, providing them with the necessities of daily life and the means to survive the long winter. Once in the water, the caribou were vulnerable to hunters in kayaks who caught and lanced as many as possible. The Inuit cherished and cared for the land at the crossing areas in accordance with traditional beliefs and practices to ensure that the caribou returned each year during their southward migration. To inland Inuit, the caribou was the essence of life. All parts were valuable for food, fuel, tools, clothing and shelter.

 

The Ukkusiksalik National Park

The Ukkusiksalik National Park is located just south of the community of Repulse Bay and the Arctic Circle and surrounds Wager Bay, a 100-km-long saltwater inlet on the northwest coast of Hudson Bay in Nunavut. The park is accessible by scheduled flights from either Winnipeg or Yellowknife via Rankin Inlet, Baker Lake, or Repulse Bay. The Ukkusiksalik National Park covers 20,500 sq. km.

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Named after the soapstone found within its boundaries, the park protects important habitat for caribou, muskox, polar bear, grizzly bear, golden eagles and many other arctic wildlife species. The landscape of Ukkusiksalik features eskers, mudflats, cliffs, rolling tundra banks and unique coastal regions and it is the first national park to encompass almost an entire watershed. Wager Bay is important to local Inuit communities as a hunting ground, and also because of its cultural significance. More than 500 archaeological sites are located within the park.

The Park offers many activities like: camping, hiking, wildlife viewing. It is highly recommended that visitors hire a local outfitter to take them into the park due to the high polar bear population.
The communities of Baker Lake and Repulse Bay are located near the park. Contact the Economic Development Officer at Hamlet of Baker Lake for more information and for a list of licensed outfitters in the region.