Be Amazed!Picture yourself at the great caribou birthing grounds outside Rankin Inlet and Chesterfield Inlet. Imagine camping in Polar Bear Pass on Bathurst Island or Whale Cove, where you can literally hear the calls of the whales. Discover a bird sanctuary home to 10,000 birds. Nunavut is among the earth’s rarest treasures, pristine, unequalled and off the beaten track. Whether a day excursion or a backpacking trek in the wilderness, a unique experience awaits in one of the most stunning and untouched wilderness environments in the world.
Nunavut - Untamed, unspoiled and undiscovered.
Outdoor Safety in Nunavut:
- Nunavut stretches across an area of 1.994 million square kilometers, and represents 20% of Canada’s land mass. However, the territory is relatively sparsely populated, with just over 31,000 habitants. Exploring the vast wilderness is an enormous draw for the outdoor enthusiast, but preparation is utterly essential, as there are no roads in Nunavut. Getting lost or stranded is always a possibility, and it may take a while for searchers to find you. There are limited aircraft throughout Nunavut. Air access can be delayed, sometimes for many days, due to various weather conditions.
- Nunavut is home to four of the world’s most northern national parks – Auyuittuq, Quttinirpaaq, Sirmilik and Ukkusiksalik – which offer extraordinary possibilities for the outdoor adventurer. When you arrive in Nunavut, the mandatory parks registration and orientation system will allow you to find out about the area you will be visiting. Ask park staff for specific information regarding your trip plans and be flexible in case you receive information that will cause you to alter your plans. The best choice is almost always to work with Nunavut’s guides and outfitters, who have the experience, knowledge and gear to ensure a rewarding – and safe – experience.
- Weather is the single most important factor in preparing to explore Nunavut -- do not form quick opinions about the Arctic climate and its apparent dangers. The Arctic climate can be kind, but anyone caught unprepared is in extraordinary danger. January to March are especially cold months, with average temperature hovering around -25 degrees Celcius.
- During the Nunavut summer, the sun shines for up to 21 hours a day, which can lead to sunburns if sunscreen isn’t worn. Conditions can change quickly, so make sure you dress in layers, including some waterproof clothing. Winds of 15 to 20 kilometers per hour are common year round throughout Nunavut. Winds are stronger from late summer to early winter and have reached extremes of over 100 kilometers per hour very quickly. Beware of blowing sand in summer and white out conditions when there is snow.
- More than half of the world’s population of polar bears inhabit Nunavut. The world’s largest land predator, polar bears can tip the scales at as much as 800 kilograms – about the size of a small car. Polar bears are best avoided entirely – never approach a bear, or offer it food. To reduce the risk in bear country:
- Always travel in groups of at least four people and stay together.
- Make noise to communicate your presence.
- Always travel in daylight and be aware of your surroundings.
- Polar bears may be hard to see – scan around with binoculars at regular intervals.
- Avoid areas of restricted visibility, pushed up sea ice, boulders, driftwood or vegetation.
- Watch for tracks, droppings and diggings.
- If you see an animal carcass, leave the area immediately.
- Order necessary maps well in advance of your trip. Don't rely on obtaining them when you arrive in the north. Check out the Natural Resources Canada Centre for Topographic Information (link) for more information.
- Emergency communication devices such as satellite phones could save your life, provided you know how to use them properly. Some satellite phones may be available for rent in Nunavut, but they are not widely or always available. Local topography and weather conditions can limit reception. Carry a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit for navigation as well as a Personal Locator Beacon. Both can be used to relay accurate location coordinates in case of emergency. Consider what you would do if the equipment is lost or fails. Notify friends and family where you will be before you go hiking, camping, or snowmobiling by completing a Trip Plan (link).