Ivvavik National Park covers an area of 10,168 km² (3,926 sq mi), about the size of Lebanon. It was established in 1984.
Ivvavik is the Inuvialuktun word meaning "nursery" or "birthplace".
- Park office, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was created as a result of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement in 1984, negotiated between the Canadian Government and the Inuvialuit of the Northern Yukon. It is the first national park in Canada to be established as a result of an Aboriginal land claims agreement.
Ivvavik contains the British Mountains which run east to west, parallel to the Arctic coast and merge into the Brooks Range in Alaska. Draining north through the park from the British Mountains is the Firth River, the oldest river in Canada and considered one of the great rafting rivers of the world. The river starts from year-round aufeis formations at the headwaters and then flows through extensive canyon areas before forming a huge delta as it enters the Beaufort Sea just west of Herschel Island. The first raft descent was by Martyn Williams, Alan Dennis and Jim Boyde. Gold miners have operated on the Firth River and at Sheep Creek until the area became a national park.
On the south-east, Ivvavik National Park borders Vuntut National Park, established in 1995. Due to land claims negotiations, Vuntut is still quite undeveloped and has no roads or developed trails. Due to its undeveloped nature, several people have gotten lost and are presumed dead.
Flora and fauna
The area around Sheep Creek is the northern-most extension of Dall sheep habitat in Canada
The park contains many cultural sites of continuing importance to the local indigenous people, both Inuit and Indian. Protecting a portion of the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd, the park allows only a minimal number of people to visit per year.
On the shore of Beaufort Sea, there is abundant game for timber wolves, grizzly bears, and black bears that inhabit the area. Other animals that inhabit this park are red foxes, Alaskan moose, lemmings, Arctic foxes, Dall sheep, gyrfalcons, muskoxen, and wolverines. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge lies just across the border in Alaska.
Travel to Ivvavik National Park begins in Inuvik, 200 km east of the park in the Northwest Territories. With a population of approximately 3,450, this town is the regional centre of the Western Arctic where you will find the Parks Canada office and other amenities.
At the Parks Canada office, you will receive a mandatory orientation session, register and deregister your trip in the park.
You can also purchase fishing permits and souvenirs.
In Inuvik, you can find:
- aircraft charter companies providing services in the region
- grocery stores, restaurants, and hotels
- a bank and ATM
- a hospital
- the Western Arctic Visitor Centre
Charter aircraft is the most common and practical means of accessing the park. Aircraft charter services are available from Inuvik. Inuvik is the largest community in the region and is served by the Dempster Highway and by daily flights from southern Canada.
Fees and permits
- Daily $24.50
- Annual $147.20
- Daily $9.80
- Annual $34.30
- Hiking. Wildlife viewing, photography and birding are all popular activities for visitors travelling on foot. You are likely to see some of the natural inhabitants of the park, such as caribou, grizzly bears, wolves, foxes, muskoxen, gyrfalcons, and golden eagles. The hiking season extends from mid-June until mid-August. A particularly beautiful time to visit is the end of June and early July, when the tundra is carpeted with wildflowers and the caribou are migrating through the park. Hikes can be extended into the third week of August when the autumn colours are at their peak. However, hikers who are en route that late in the season must be prepared for winter-like conditions and delays due to heavy fog. There are no designated trails in Ivvavik: you follow approximate routes, directions, and landmarks such as creeks, rivers, valleys, lakes, eskers, and hills. Investigate your intended hiking route thoroughly using topographic maps and, if possible, air photos. Contact the Park Office to discuss your plans. You must supply a detailed description of your planned route on 1:50 000 scale before your departure to the park. Air access points for hiking include Sheep Creek, Margaret Lake, Komakuk Beach and Stokes Point.
- Ivvavik Fly-in Base Camp, toll-free: , ✉ Inuvik.email@example.com. A Parks Canada guided Arctic base camp trip. Fly in a Twin Otter bush plane over the Mackenzie Delta and into the heart of the British Mountains. Inuvialuit hosts lead you through the mountain wilderness of Ivvavik National Park. 7-day self-guided/non-catered $2,700, 5-day catered trips $3,700-4,450.
- Rafting the Firth River to the Arctic Ocean. Plenty of rapids, canyons, and ample hiking opportunities to view wildlife. Rafting trips begin by flying into Margaret Lake in the heart of the park. Raft a succession of canyons – like the furious Class IV rapids below Sheep Creek – over the course of one or two weeks. In early summer, rafters can watch migrating caribou herds or nesting raptors. Late summer paddlers can fish for Dolly Varden char, hike jagged ridgelines, or explore Engigstciak, a dramatic peak rising from the coastal plain. Organise your own trip with experienced rafters, or sign up for a guided trip with a commercial operator.