Nunavik Parks hopes to draw new visitors with packaged trips
Parks agency also hopes to double number of local visitors
It doesn’t come cheap, but for just under $5,000, you can trace the century-old travel routes of Ungava Bay Inuit along the Koroc Valley on cross-country skis, snowshoes or snowmobile.
The price includes transportation to the site, Kuururjuaq, one of Nunavik’s three provincial parks, plus meals, nine days’ accommodation and the services of a local guide.
As one of its new packaged excursions, Nunavik Parks invites visitors to “Follow our ancestors’ footsteps to Qurlutuarjuq,” along the turquoise and winding Koroc River.
It’s one of many pre-planned trips the organization has recently packaged and posted to its newly-launched website, where visitors can go to discover what Nunavik’s parks have to offer.
“It’s been over a year that we’ve been working on this, a site that gives people more access to the actual experience they can have at our parks,” said Patrick Graillon, assistant director of park operations at the Kativik Regional Government.
Nunavik Parks’ original website was quite technical, he added. There was too much text.
The new website is more user-friendly, he said, and allows visitors to choose between three main sections: parks, culture and experience.
By clicking on all-inclusive packages, potential visitors can quickly see the types of travel experiences they could have in the region, while learning about history and Inuit culture.
Graillon calls the site a “work in progress.”
“We hope to add more experiences,” he said. “And we hope to respond as quickly as possible to the demands people might have.”
Nunavik has three provincial parks, parc national des Pingualuit west of Kangiqsujuaq, which centres around the vast Pingualuit crater; parc national Kuururjuaq, spread out along the Koroc Valley and surrounding Torngat Mountain range; and its newest addition, parc national Tursujuq on the shores of Hudson Bay with its scenic cuestas.
While they are managed by the provincial government of Quebec, the parks are called “national” in French.
Graillon acknowledges that the new site is targeted to potential visitors from the South.
But Nunavik Parks has made efforts over the last year to reach out to local and Inuit visitors.
Last year, the organization offered a contest to win weekend packages to visit the parks, an initiative they hope to repeat again in 2016.
Visitor numbers vary greatly, Graillon said — there is no norm. Between June 2015 and October 2015, the three parks each welcomed between 70 and 80 visitors each, but past years have seen larger and smaller groups.
“In 2015, we actually had a lot more visitors from the North, and fewer from the South,” Graillon said.
“With the arrival of the site and weekend packages, we hope to almost double the number of people from the North who visit the park this year.”
But parks officials also hope its new website will help promote tourism in the region’s three parks, with a fourth park to be made official later this year.
You can visit the website at nunavikparks.ca.