Canadian National Park: Quttinirpaaq, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut

by Cie McCullough Buschle on April 25, 2012. Updated May 9, 2012

in Outdoors with Kids, Travel Ideas

The word “park” brings to mind lush greenery, tall trees and brown furry animals. In the monochrome acreage of Quttinirpaaq, park takes on a different meaning. Mountains are charcoal gray, there are no trees at all, and the small furry animals tend to be white.

Arctic hare, Quttinirpaaq National Park

Arctic hare, Quttinirpaaq National Park

Located at the very north of Canada’s Arctic Archipelago on Ellesmere Island – the video footage was shot a mere 750 km from the North Pole – Quttinirpaaq is more than its black and white landscape. There is sparse vegetation, but it is enough for the lemming, arctic hare, muskox and arctic wolf that live there, as well as the small herd of Peary caribou.

Although remains of human settlement has never been found, passes through the mountains show evidence of migrant tribes that are over 5000 years old. In 1881, however, Fort Conger was built in the northern end of the park as a military base, scientific research station, and camp for Arctic exploration. The fort is now maintained as a Federal Heritage Building.

It used to be that the only way to see Quttinirpaaq was by flying there, but recently many cruise lines have been started stopping for a short time. As Quttinirpaaq Park is well into the arctic, the best time to visit is between late May to mid August, when the sun is up for 24 hours. Even then, be prepared for winter weather at any time. Be also prepared for gorgeous views.

Gull Glacier at Tanquary Fiord opposite to Parks Canada campsite; Quttinirpaaq National Park

Gull Glacier at Tanquary Fiord opposite to Parks Canada campsite; Quttinirpaaq National Park

| Cie McCullough Buschle lives with her dog Einstein and a cat named Burton Guster Took. She enjoys researching history through holidays, toys, and everyday objects. Cie is a sculptor and clay hand builder and spends her time traveling back in time to the Middle Ages as part of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

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