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Quttinirpaaq National Park

Quttinirpaaq National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Map showing the location of Quttinirpaaq National Park
Quttinirpaaq National Park
Location of Quttinirpaaq National Park in Canada
Location Nunavut, Canada
Nearest city Resolute
Area 37,775 km2 (14,585 sq mi)
Established 1988
Governing body Parks Canada

Quttinirpaaq National Park is a Canadian national park. Located on the northeastern corner of Ellesmere Island in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut, the most northerly extent of Canada, it is the second most northerly park on Earth after Northeast Greenland National Park. In Inuktitut, Quttinirpaaq means "top of the world". It was established as Ellesmere Island National Park Reserve in 1988, and the name was changed to Quttinirpaaq in 1999,[1] when Nunavut was created, and became a national park in 2000.[2] The reserve covers 37,775 square kilometres (14,585 sq mi),[3] making it the second largest park in Canada, after Wood Buffalo National Park.


  • Landscape 1
  • Wildlife 2
  • Human history 3
  • Park 4
  • Gallery 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The land is dominated by rock and ice. It is a polar desert with very little annual precipitation.

Much of the highlands of the park are covered in ice caps. These ice caps, and the glaciers that descend from them, date back at least to the last episode of glaciation.

The park includes Barbeau Peak, which at 2,616 m (8,583 ft) is the highest mountain in Nunavut.


Some wildlife, notably lemming, Arctic hare, muskox and Arctic wolf live in the park, but sparse vegetation and low temperatures support only small populations. There is a very small Peary caribou population as well. During summer months, birds nest in the park including semipalmated plovers, red knots, gyrfalcon and long-tailed jaeger. Common plants include dwarf willow and Arctic cotton, in addition to grasses and lichens. Plant and animal life is more concentrated in the Lake Hazen region, which has a milder climate than the surrounding ice cap-covered mountains and valleys.

Human history

Due to its high latitude and limited wildlife, there has never been any significant human presence within this part of Ellesmere Island. The pass from Tanquary Fiord through to Lake Hazen shows evidence of being used by arctic people since about 5000 years ago. Tent rings and food caches show that the area was visited by pre-Dorset, Dorset and Thule people, the ancestors of modern Inuit.

The east and north end of the island was used as a starting point for various polar explorations. Fort Conger was an early Arctic exploration research base, and is now maintained as a Federal Heritage Building.[4]


Parks Canada maintains warden stations and gravel air strips at Tanquary Fiord Airport, Lake Hazen and Ward Island. Tanquary Fiord and Lake Hazen are the main access points for tourists.[5] Beyond these warden stations, there are no facilities within the park itself. Two backpacking routes are the route between Lake Hazen and Tanquary Fiord, and a loop around the Ad Astra and Viking ice caps, both approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi).

In 2004, the park was one of nine sites added to Canada's tentative list of potential World Heritage Sites.[6]


Quttinirpaaq National Park
Map of Quttinirpaaq National Park 
Gull Glacier in Tanquary Fiord 
Tanquary Fiord, showing confluence of Air Force River, Rollrock River and Macdonald River 
Air Force Glacier 2011 
Air Force Glacier 1997 
River Beauty and Ekblaw Lake 
Confluence of Scylla and Charybdis Glaciers 
British Empire Range, in the north of Tanquary Fiord 
Arctic Fox
(Alopex lagopus
Arctic Hare
(Lepidus arcticus

See also


  1. ^ "Quttinirpaaq National Park". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  2. ^ Stewart, Emma J.; Howell, S. E. L.; Draper, D.; Yackel, J.; Tivy, A. (2008). Cruise tourism in a warming Arctic: Implications for northern National Parks (PDF). Contributed paper for the Canadian Parks for Tomorrow: 40th Anniversary Conference, May 8 to 11, 2008,. Calgary, Canada:  
  3. ^ "Quttinirpaaq National Park of Canada". Parks Canada. 13 April 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "Cultural Heritage". Quttinirpaaq National Park of Canada. Parks Canada. 18 September 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  5. ^ "How to Get There". Quttinirpaaq National Park of Canada. Parks Canada. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "Quttinirpaaq". UNESCO - Tentative List. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 

External links

  • NASA Earth Observatory page
  • Parks Canada
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