Guests of Parks Canada’s #ArcticDream base camp trips fly from Inuvik, over the tangled channels of the Mackenzie Delta and through the British Mountains. Cameras are at the ready, to capture the scenery that unfolds beneath the wings of the Twin Otter bush plane. Suddenly, the emerald water of the Firth River appears, threading its’ way through Ivvavik National Park. Then, there’s a cluster of tents on the landscape. The group lands at a comfortable base camp in the heart of the park, where a worn red sign at the end of the gravel airstrip welcomes everyone to “Sheep Creek International Airport.”
The Inuvialuit people have travelled this land for generations, hunting, trapping and harvesting. Ivvavik, which means “nursery” or “place of giving birth” in the Inuvialuktun language, protects a portion of the Porcupine caribou’s calving grounds. In 1984, Ivvavik became the first national park in Canada to be created through an Indigenous land claim agreement. The park is managed cooperatively by Parks Canada and the Inuvialuit.