Annual management plan implementation update 2019-20

Quttinirpaaq National Park

The Quttinirpaaq National Park Management Plan identifies the long-term strategic direction and management goals for Quttinirpaaq National Park (QNP). The plan is consistent with the Nunavut Agreement, the Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement for Auyuittuq, Quttinirpaaq and Sirmilik National Parks (IIBA), and Parks Canada Agency’s (PCA) mandate to protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage, and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure their ecological and commemorative integrity for present and future generations. QNP is cooperatively managed with the Quttinirpaaq Joint Inuit/Government Park Planning and Management Committee (JPMC) established under the IIBA.

This update is PCA’s 2019-20 annual progress report on the implementation of the management plan for partners, stakeholders, Inuit rights holders and the public. The current management plan is at the end of its 10-year lifecycle (October 2009-2019) and a new plan has been drafted, and is ready for public consultation. PCA fully achieved 50% of the 2010 management plan targets and partially reached an additional 25% of the targets.

Three Parks Canada employees stand together on rocky terrain with mountains in the background.
Left to right: Parks Canada employees Cynthia Pialaq, Levi Eegeesiak Jr., and Valerie Amarualik on patrol in the Air Force River valley.
Photo Credit: Valerie Amarualik/Parks Canada Agency

Table of contents

Priority 1: To manage the use of Quttinirpaaq in order to protect and maintain its ecological integrity, cultural resources and arctic wilderness experiences.


  • Seventeen (17) buildings and objects were assessed for their connection to the Defense Research Board to ensure their presentation is consistent with their historic value. Fourteen (14) are considered to be cultural resources.

Priority 2: To describe and understand park ecosystems through science and Inuit traditional knowledge and through the stories and knowledge of the people who have a long connection to the area, and to incorporate this information in heritage presentations.


  • Ongoing ecological integrity monitoring programs for freshwater and tundra ecosystems continued in 2019.
  • The Quttinirpaaq JPMC reviewed and advised on research and collection permit applications. Nine permits were active in 2019.
  • Hydrologic study of May Creek, Tanquary Fiord Camp’s water supply, reveals that while the creek is no longer fed by Bowman Glacier, precipitation and permafrost thaw should continue to provide an adequate supply of water to the camp.
  • The new Kettle Lake Walking tour focuses on Inuit culture and history.

Priority 3: To improve site-specific ecological integrity through Environmental Management System measures, local clean-ups, and site remediation.


  • Physical remediation of contaminated sites at Tanquary Fiord, Lake Hazen and Fort Conger was completed in 2018.

Priority 4: To identify the state of Inuit archaeological sites and historical artifacts in the park by monitoring representative and unique sites.


  • Monitoring protocols for Kettle Lake, Blister Creek and Fort Conger were revised, and updated in 2018 and then applied to the monitoring work in 2019. Monitoring data collected in 2019 will be compared to those collected in future years.
  • Twelve (12) buildings and two (2) objects, including a monument and Stevenson Shelter (shelter for meteorological instruments), have been assessed to be cultural resources from the Defense Research Board (DRB).
  • Data loggers, recording temperature and humidity, installed at Fort Conger were accessed, data downloaded, and redeployed. These data are part of a project to assess the environmental conditions that contribute to the deterioration of the Peary Huts; data will be analyzed after several years of collection.

Priority 5: To communicate the results of an active research and monitoring program, emphasizing global environmental change, in order to make Quttinirpaaq relevant to Canadians.


  • Permitted researchers submitted annual field reports and information on resulting publications to PCA, the Hamlets of Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord, and the JPMC.
  • Quttinirpaaq is promoted annually at the conference for Arctic Research in Canada.
  • All research and monitoring outcomes are shared with the JPMC; the details on several projects are also posted on the Quttinirpaaq National Park website.
  • Ecological integrity monitoring data is shared through open data sources, providing the opportunity for use by other researchers. In 2019-20 four requests for data from academics at three Canadian universities were fulfilled, including data from weather stations at Lake Hazen and Tanquary Fiord and active layer data from tundra monitoring.

Priority 6: To build awareness, understanding and support of Quttinirpaaq with Canadians, visitors, and the residents of Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay through innovation in heritage presentation.


  • Final drafts of a self-directed walking tour of Kettle Lake and a Hiking Guide for the region around Tanquary Fiord are ready for JPMC review. The Kettle Lake walking tour focuses on the history of Paleo-Eskimo, Dorset and Thule in Quttinirpaaq.

Priority 7: To increase the community tourism capacity of and the tourism benefits for Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay in partnership with others.


  • Working with the Government of Nunavut, PCA held a tourism development workshop in Resolute Bay in April 2019. The two community members who participated in the workshop developed an interpretive cultural community tour which was delivered to the Top of the World charter guests in summer of 2019.

Priority 8: To continue to manage Quttinirpaaq cooperatively.


  • In 2019, the JPMC held two face-to-face meetings, April 9-11 and October 28-30, reviewing research permit applications, the operational plan, the new draft management plan, the renewed PCA Inuit Employment Plan and providing advice on the monitoring programs conducted in the park.
  • The park planning team completed a new draft management plan that focuses on increasing Inuit engagement. It was reviewed and approved by the JPMC for consultation, and included contributions from the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.

Priority 9: To aim to have a representative level of Inuit employment in the Nunavut Field Unit of Parks Canada by 2020.


  • Parks Canada Agency’s Inuit Employment Plan (IEP) was renewed in 2019. Pilimmaksaivik, PCA legal services, PCA’s Indigenous Workforce Strategies team, and the five national parks’ Joint Inuit/Government Park Planning and Management Committees reviewed the IEP. PCA Senior Vice-President Operations approved the plan in April 2020.
  • As of March 31, 2020, the Nunavut Field Unit had a 51% Inuit employment rate (including vacant positions). With vacant positons excluded, the Inuit employment rate was 62%.

Priority 10: To initiate, maintain, and nurture key partnerships for science, cultural resources management, logistics, tourism and marketing, and education.


  • Parks Canada and Polar Continental Shelf Program are discussing a memorandum of understanding to strengthen the support for each departments’ mandate and shared goals.
  • The freshwater ecosystem ecological monitoring program is conducted in partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada annually.
  • Park staff work closely with the two main groups of researchers in Quttinirpaaq from Université Laval and University of Alberta to maintain infrastructure and fulfill shared research and monitoring needs.
  • The three-year Partnering Agreement with Black Feather, which was entered into in December 2018, continued to ensure high quality visitor experience offers.
  • The field unit collaborated with Destination Nunavut to present Quttinirpaaq at the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show in February 2020 and deliver tourism training in Resolute Bay.

Priority 11: To develop a suite of indicators and targets for the management of Quttinirpaaq.


  • The Ecological Integrity indicators for tundra and freshwater are defined, with baseline thresholds in place.

Conclusion — Next steps

Parks Canada Nunavut Field Unit and the Quttinirpaaq JPMC are looking forward to another successful year ahead. Plans for 2020-21 are being adjusted in response to the evolving COVID-19 global pandemic. Key initiatives for the upcoming year include:

  • Consultations on the new draft Management Plan to result in adoption of the new plan.
  • Increasing the presence of Quttinirpaaq staff in the High Arctic through filling new outreach and maintenance positions based in Resolute to be shared with Qausuittuq National Park.
  • Improving communications between Parks Canada and community members in Resolute and Grise Fiord through outreach programming such as community cultural workshops and school visits.
  • Development of guidelines for visiting cultural sites which includes more traditional practices.
  • Progressing towards training opportunities which the Nunavut Field Unit is able to provide to community members to more easily become park staff or contractors, which may also enhance community members’ skills for other employment.
  • Continue to work with community members to enhance tourism opportunities, such as further interpretation training.
  • Advancing work on asset projects including developing an asset strategy, climate change vulnerability assessment planning, and airstrip assessment planning.
  • Initiate background research on heritage value and initiate a comparative analysis in support of future efforts to prepare a nomination for inscription of Quttinirpaaq on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites upon the advice and recommendations of management partners.

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