Nunavut national park at Wager Bay gets a little bigger
"This exchange will benefit Inuit"
Nunavut’s Ukkusiksalik National Park — already more than 20,000 square kilometres in size — is now 327 square kilometres larger, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada announced late March 3.
That’s after a land exchange between the Government of Canada and the Kivalliq Inuit Association allowed for the expansion of the park in the heart of the Kivalliq region.
“I am very pleased that this exchange has been completed. This exchange was a result of consultation with Inuit and negotiation between various levels of government and the KIA which will benefit Inuit,” said David Ningeongan, president of the KIA.
Ukkusiksalik, Nunavut’s fourth national park, created in 2004, is located on the northwest shore of Hudson Bay near the community Repulse Bay.
Ukkusiksalik lies along Wager Bay, a kind of inland sea extending 100 km into the barren lands.
There, the action of the bay’s eight-metre tides produces unusual reversing falls where the bay meets Ford Lake.
The park includes a variety of landforms and wildlife: its cliffs and valleys are habitat for peregrine falcons and gyrfalcons, while its tidal flats and river mouths attract migrating birds and waterfowl.
More than 500 archeological sites have also been found in the park area, including inuksuit, food caches, fox traps and tent rings.
A March 3 news release from the federal government said the “mutually beneficial land exchange” included Crown lands and Inuit-owned land under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.
This exchange involved the exchange of a parcel of land within Ukkusiksalik between the KIA and the Crown.
“The transfer will result in this culturally and archaeologically significant land becoming part of the park, benefitting all Inuit and Nunavummiut from its conservation,” the news release said.
Ottawa also transferred two parcels of Crown land to the KIA: one located just west of Baker Lake and a second parcel northeast of Repulse Bay.
“The KIA will benefit from the economic development potential contained in both parcels of land,” the release said.