Minister Aglukkaq Officially Opens Ukkusiksalik National Park
July 2, 2015 Naujaat, Nunavut Office of the Minister of the Environment, Parks Canada
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today officially opened Ukkusiksalik National Park at a ceremony in the community of Naujaat, previously known as Repulse Bay.
Ukkusiksalik National Park will foster tourism and create employment and economic opportunities for surrounding communities. It will also allow Canadians and international visitors alike to be able to experience this iconic arctic landscape and share in the richness of Inuit culture. It also honours the commitment made to Inuit to establish this park.
Officially protected under Canada’s strongest legislation for the conservation of natural areas, Ukkusiksalik National Park represents the combined efforts of Inuit, the Government of Canada and the Government of Nunavut to ensure that this area is protected for present and future generations. Ukkusiksalik National Park is managed cooperatively with Inuit through the Ukkusiksalik Park Management Committee, made up of community members from Naujaat, Coral Harbour, Chesterfield Inlet, Baker Lake and Rankin Inlet. The new Ukkusiksalik National Park Operational Centre will connect visitors to the park and serve as a base of operations and provide jobs in the community.
Ukkusiksalik National Park is one of many examples of government leadership in support of Canada’s National Conservation Plan by conserving Canada’s lands and waters, restoring Canada’s ecosystems, and connecting Canadians to nature.
- Ukkusiksalik National Park surrounds Wager Bay in Nunavut, an inland sea that extends 100 km westward from Hudson Bay, and the region has always been, and remains, important to local Inuit communities, who travel there to hunt and fish.
- Named Ukkusiksalik after the soapstone found within its boundary, the 20,880 km2 park is home to caribou, muskox, wolf, polar bear, barren-ground grizzly and arctic hare, as well as golden eagles, peregrine falcons and other species. It also contains an impressive variety of land forms including eskers, mudflats, cliffs, rolling tundra banks and unique coastal regions.
- The formal establishment of Ukkusiksalik National Park under the Canada National Parks Act ensures greater ecological protection to important northern ecosystems. In doing so, it contributes to the completion of Canada’s National Parks System by protecting, for the first-time, a representative portion of the Central Tundra Natural Region.
- On June 23, 2015, Qausuittuq National Park was formally established on the northern part of Bathurst Island as Canada’s 45th national park. Qausuittuq joins Ukkusiksalik and the other national parks in Nunavut to protect the region’s rich natural and cultural heritage while creating jobs and opportunities for Inuit.
“The opening of Ukkusiksalik National Park will provide a unique opportunity for people from around the world to experience the beauty of the Kivalliq region, and to hear its stories and share in its culture. The park will not only promote our culture and traditions, it will foster tourism, create jobs and economic opportunities for Inuit living in surrounding communities.”
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
“Ukkusiksalik National Park showcases the stark beauty and dignity of Nunavut’s Kivalliq region. Thank you to the people of the surrounding communities for your hard work and dedication in making this a reality. I am excited that visitors from across Canada and beyond will now be able experience this part of our territory’s culture and lifestyle, in a protected area.”
The Honourable Johnny Mike, Nunavut’s Minister of the Environment
“The communities of Naujaat, Coral Harbour, Chesterfield Inlet, Rankin Inlet and Baker Lake have been waiting a long time for this day. Ukkusiksalik National Park is an important part of our lives and of our history. We are very happy that Ukkusiksalik National Park is now protected to ensure our grandchildren and their children can continue to benefit from this very important part of our land – of Nunavut. The Ukkusiksalik Park Management Committee will continue to work with Parks Canada staff as we manage this valuable place – together.”
Jackie Nakoolak, Chair of the Ukkusiksalik Park Management Committee
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Office of the Minister of the Environment
Nunavut Field Unit