Aulavik National Park is on Banks Island, the most westerly island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Aulavik means place where people travel, but the park actually lies 250 km northeast of the nearest community, Sachs Harbour, and 750 km northeast of Inuvik. There are no facilities, campgrounds or developed trails. Chartering an aircraft from Inuvik is the most practical means of accessing the park as there are no roads.
But there is a terrific river, the Thomsen, one of the most northerly navigable rivers in North America.
Muskox are the prime draw on Banks Island. Estimates place the island population at more than 68,000. Aulavik is also home to Peary caribou. Although classified as endangered, recent studies suggest that the population is stable and potentially recovering. There are marine mammals along the north coast of the park - polar bears, ringed seals, bearded seals, beluga whales and bowhead whales.
There are two Migratory Bird Sanctuaries on Banks Island that protect the nesting and moulting grounds of some 500,000 lesser snow geese.
Fossil life forms can be seen in a 350 million year old coastal reef located east of the Thomsen River. Gastropods (snails), brachiopods (lamp shells), corals, and crinoids (feather stars) can be found.
Summer temperatures range from 1°C to 20°C with a daily average of 10°C. Snow and freezing temperatures can occur at any time of the year.
Chief Park Warden
Aulavik National Park
P.O. Box 29
Sachs Harbour, NT X0E 0Z0
Phone: (867) 690-3904