Safety and guidelines
Wapusk National Park
We rarely head out for an adventure with the expectation that something will go wrong, and most times, everything will go right. But sometimes the unexpected happens. You can reduce the impact of an unfortunate circumstance by being well informed and well prepared.
For important information about safety while enjoying Wapusk National Park, explore the topics below.
Wapusk National Park offers spectacular scenery, wildlife and opportunities to experience northern culture and history.
The remoteness of this area and limited rescue capabilities increase the risk from natural hazards. Be prepared to deal with extreme weather, unpredictable terrain and travel in polar bear country. Severe cold in winter, coupled with snow conditions and lack of landmarks, mean even routine winter travel can be hazardous.
To help ensure the safety of our visitors, Parks Canada engages in visitor risk management and visitor safety planning, builds and maintains facilities (such as hazard signs and fenced compounds), and works with other government departments and non-governmental agencies to provide trip planning and safety information, as well as search and rescue services.
For general information on how to stay safe when enjoying the outdoors, visit AdventureSmart.ca.
Canoeing, kayaking, or paddling
Please note that Parks Canada does not recommend kayaking or canoeing on the coastal waters of Wapusk National Park.
There are several safety concerns with trips of this nature, including but not limited to:
- Traversing the coastline will not relieve you from the presence of polar bears;
- Ice may be on the Hudson Bay well into July
- Storms and fogs are frequent;
- Tides can be one to four metres. The coastal areas have very shallow waters and the tidal flats, in places, can stretch out for over 10 kilometres along the eastern coast and can leave you stranded with outgoing tides in bear country;
This coast is notoriously treacherous and even the locals are wary of the waters. There are no marine search and rescue facilities here at Parks Canada or in the Churchill area should you encounter any problems.
To get the most from your visit and limit your impact on the park, please observe the following:
- Be self-reliant and prepared to be responsible for your own safety.
- Be properly provisioned and equipped, and have the level of knowledge, skill and physical fitness required for the activities you plan to undertake.
- Obey the rules and instructions of the commercial operator you are travelling with.
- Consider the safety information and advice provided by Parks Canada, and observe any regulations that are in place to help you stay safe.
- Seek out additional advice from park staff if you are uncertain about the hazards and risks you may encounter.
- Be prepared for medical, wildlife and weather-related emergencies.
Safety is everyone's responsibility. At Parks Canada, we do our part to make sure you can have a safe visit by assessing the risks, managing hazards, and making sure that safety information is freely available to everyone. You can do your part by seeking out the information you need to stay safe and make well informed decisions while enjoying these special places. Visit our websites and stop at a visitor centre before your visit for the most up-to-date information. Make sure you are fully prepared for whatever activities you choose to do so you can have a safe, enjoyable and memorable visit.
Parks Canada 24 Hour Emergency Dispatch
Phone number: 1-780-852-3100 (can be dialled from a satellite phone)
Phone number: 1-877-852-3100 (toll free)
Devices such as "SPOT" or "inREACH" and satellite phones are the only devices that work in Wapusk. Your adventure is not the place to learn how to use your emergency device. Be familiar with it and understand the difference between the “SOS/Emergency” and “Messaging” functions. Pre-enter your messages and tell your contact person how to reach Parks Canada in case of an emergency.
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