Visitor guidelines

Sirmilik National Park

Our protected areas are unique places and require unique rules to protect them.

Breaking the law in a National Park or National Historic Site can result in consequences including evictions or tickets, or in more serious cases, court appearances and/or large fines.

View the Canada National Parks Act and its regulations.

For visitor safety, it is mandatory to register all trips into the park prior to entering and to de-register once done. If you plan on travelling on Inuit-owned land contact the Qikiqtani Inuit Association at 1-800-667-2742 for permission. During the registration and orientation we can point out areas of interest along your route. This information helps make your trip safe and enjoyable. We also provide information on the hazards present in the park, and the risks associated with the activities you plan to undertake. You will be briefed on current route conditions, weather, water levels, area closures, park regulations, polar bear sightings and much more.


You cannot take-off or land an aircraft in a national park without a Restricted Activity Permit from Parks Canada, with some exceptions as listed in the National Parks of Canada Aircraft Access Regulations. All aircraft must comply with the Canadian Aviation Regulations and National Parks of Canada Aircraft Access Regulations.


Consuming alcohol is only allowed at registered campsites, private residences or on licensed premises. Alcohol is not allowed at beaches, day use areas, cook shelters, or on trails. During certain periods of the year, specific campgrounds may have temporary alcohol bans in effect. These will be identified through notices posted online and at the campgrounds.

Alcohol restrictions can vary between communities in Nunavut. Parks Canada recommends that you contact any Nunavut hamlets you will be visiting, prior to your arrival, to confirm local restrictions on controlled substances.

More information: Buying alcohol in Nunavut

Area closures and restrictions

Area closures and restrictions are sometimes needed to protect natural or cultural resources or for visitor safety reasons. Closures are enforceable by law. Closure notices will be posted at the trailheads, access points, park offices, and information centres. Information on closures is also available on our Important Bulletins page.


There are no designated campsites in the park; you may camp anywhere you like, except at archaeological sites,designated areas of special preservation, rockfall areas, and potential wildlife habitat.


Cannabis is legalized and strictly regulated in Canada. It is your responsibility to understand federal, provincial, and municipal regulations for cannabis use.

Where cannabis can be used in Quttinirpaaq National Park:

  • Public use (including day-use areas): Allowed - No smoking or vaping within 3 metres of buildings
  • Registered Parks Canada campsites: Allowed
  • Campground common areas: Not allowed
  • Backcountry: Allowed
  • Trails: Allowed
  • Playgrounds: No smoking or vaping – radius undetermined

Commercial film and photography permits

Commercial filming activities have special considerations. All commercial activity is subject to business licencing and permits.

In Sirmilik National Park, permits are required for operating a business (guiding, outfitting), filming and commercial photography, research, landing an aircraft, establishing a cache or base camp or transporting a firearm through the park. Permits must be acquired through the Parks Canada office well in advance (some permits may take 90 days or more to be issued). Research permits are only issued in winter or spring.

If you plan to carry out any commercial filming activity within Sirmilik you must first get a film permit. This may be a lengthy process so contact the park well in advance to discuss your project with the Park Manager and the Visitor Experience Manager. Contact us at 867-975-4673.


All Parks Canada places are ‘no drone zones’ for recreational use. If you do not possess a permit or special permission to fly your drone in a Parks Canada place, please leave your drone at home. Learn more about our drone usage rules.

Environmental conservation practices

  • Choose routes on durable terrain.
  • When travelling across steep terrain use rock outcrops or snow.
  • Select campsites in durable locations where signs of your occupation will be minimal, especially for base camps or if you are travelling in a large group.
  • Use biodegradable soap and only when necessary.
  • Dish and excess cooking water should be strained and poured into a shallow sump hole away from campsite and 100 metres away from water sources. Strained food particles should be packed out with garbage.
  • Pack out everything that you packed in. Do not leave garbage in the outhouses. This includes your toilet paper! Burn it or pack it out.
  • Do not build cairns (rock pile or Inuksuk), markers, or leave messages in the dirt.
  • Leave human waste exposed to air to degrade quicker in the sun and air. Do not cover it. Please use an area 100 metres away from main routes and water sources.
  • When at operational stations, use the outhouse facilities provided.


Fires are not permitted in this national park. Use a stove for cooking and be sure to bring sufficient warm and waterproof clothes.

As fires are not allowed, backcountry campers will have to carry white gas (or naptha) and portable stoves. White gas may be purchased in Pond Inlet or Arctic Bay, but visitors should phone the suppliers ahead of time to ensure that it is in stock. On commercial airlines, white gas can only be transported as a dangerous good. Contact the airline you plan to travel on for further information.

Firearms and hunting

It is unlawful to possess a firearm without a permit. The exception to this regulation is for beneficiaries of the Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement and Nunavut Agreement; they may carry firearms when engaged in traditional activities within National Parks in their lands.


Sport fishing is prohibited in Sirmilik National Park.

Garbage and litter

Pick up and pack out all of your litter. For those of you who smoke, that includes your cigarette butts. On your way out - when your pack is lighter - try to pick up any litter left by others. Report any large accumulations or large items, such as empty fuel drums, to park staff.

Good times in the great outdoors are safer and more rewarding when you Leave No Trace of your visit. A good rule of thumb is to leave “no trace on the place” and “no trace on others’ space”.

All garbage must be packed out.

Proper food management when camping is essential to avoid problem wildlife situations (birds, foxes, polar bears). Avoid smelly foods and foods that produce waste. Food scraps should be filtered out of dish water and packed out with other litter. Dish and excess cooking water should be poured into a shallow sump hole away from the campsite and bodies of water.

Feces should be deposited at least 100 metres from camp sites, travel routes and water bodies. Toilet paper must, of course, be packed out.

Natural and historic objects

It is illegal to collect plants, mushrooms, berries, animals, animal parts (including antlers and tusks), fossils, driftwood, rocks, signs, or any other historic or natural object. Do not eat any edible plants. Much of the vegetation is sparse and some are rare, existing marginally on the most northerly extent of their range. Plants are also an important food for wildlife. No person shall remove, deface, damage or destroy any flora or natural objects in the park.

No person shall wilfully remove, deface, damage or destroy any prehistoric or historic artefacts or structures in the park. Do not remove or disturb any rocks from any features that look - even remotely - like an archeological site. These sites include tent rings, fox traps and food caches and are almost indiscernible to the untrained eye. Archeological sites are important cultural resources that tell us about life in the park area up to 4,000 years ago.

Do not build cairns, other markers, or leave messages in the dirt. Such markers detract from other visitors' sense of discovery and wilderness experience. They can also be misleading and potentially dangerous. For example, a cairn marking a good river crossing one day may mark a deadly crossing place when the river changes its course or flow, which rivers here do regularly. Do not disturb or destroy any cairns that you do find. Some are of great historical significance.

If you believe you have found something significant, leave the item in place and report your finding to the nearest Parks Canada office. Please leave these natural items for others to enjoy.

Pets and service animals

  • At all times, pets and sled dogs must be kept under physical control.
  • Don’t leave your pet unattended during your visit to Sirmilik National Park. Wildlife, weather, and an unfamiliar environment can be scary or dangerous for your pet.
  • Don’t allow your pet to chase any wild animal - it’s illegal and dangerous.
  • Remember to clean up after your pet.
  • Service animals are welcome, in the company of their handlers. Please keep service animals on a leash or harness during your visit.

Pre-trip checklist

Before booking my travel I have:

  • Contacted Parks Canada in Pond Inlet.
  • Made a reservation to attend a mandatory orientation and registration session (~ three hours) and allowed sufficient time before my trip to do this (taking flight and weather delays into consideration).
  • Received and thoroughly reviewed the Sirmilik National Park Visitor Information Package.
  • Received the Sirmilik National Park interpretive brochure/map.
  • Received and thoroughly reviewed the Safety in Polar Bear Country brochure.

For hiking or skiing I have:

  • Provided Parks Canada with a detailed itinerary of my planned trip including any side trips.
  • Ensured that my skills and experience are equal to the needs of the trip.
  • Contacted local outfitters to arrange for transport into the park.

For expeditions, mountaineering and / or glacier travel I have:

  • Contacted Parks Canada well in advance to discuss routes and plans.
  • Ensured that my skills and experience are equal to the needs of the trip.
  • Provided Parks Canada with a detailed route description of my planned trip.

To setup a base camp or caches (a permit is needed in advance) I have:

  • Provided Parks Canada with details of my planned trip including base camp locations, cache content and location.
  • Requested and received the necessary permit(s) for my planned activities from Parks Canada.

For a sea kayaking trip I have:

  • Provided Parks Canada with details of my planned trip.

If I am starting my trip in Arctic Bay I have:

  • Booked my flights accordingly to attend an orientation and registration session in Pond Inlet or Iqaluit.
  • Contacted local outfitters to arrange for transport into the park.

Post-trip checklist

Before leaving the park I will:

  • Contact Parks Canada to de-register.
  • Complete the Nunavut Visitor Survey.

Registering and de-registering

To register your trip:

  • Make a reservation for your orientation at the Parks Canada office in Pond Inlet at least 48 hours in advance by phone or email.
  • Orientations are conducted during regular business hours (Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). Orientations will not be started past 3:30 p.m. Please consider this when making your travel and trip plans, and allow appropriate time for your orientation
  • If you are beginning your trip from Arctic Bay, please schedule your flights accordingly to allow time for your orientation and registration to take place in Pond Inlet or Iqaluit.
  • This can take 60-90 minutes depending on what type of trip you are going on.

To de-register your trip:

  • Within 24 hours of exiting the park, visit the Parks Canada office in Pond Inlet or contact them by phone at 867-899-8092. If you wish to speak to a Parks Canada staff member, please call during business hours.
  • Failing to de-register within 24 hours of this date will initiate an investigation by park staff.

What information will you need to provide when you arrive?

  • The name, address and phone number of each group member and an emergency contact for each member.
  • A de-registration date (date you plan to exit the park).
  • The name(s) of the local outfitter(s) that you plan to use.
  • Your flight information.
  • A list of your equipment (brand, number, colour, etc) and your satellite phone number.
  • The type of activities you will undertake.
  • Your detailed in-park trip plans.

Smoking and Vaping

Be aware of provincial smoking and vaping regulations regarding distances from buildings, playgrounds, and other facilities.

Cannabis is legalized and strictly regulated in Canada. It is your responsibility to understand federal, provincial, and municipal regulations for cannabis use.

Where cannabis can be used at Parks Canada places


Disturbing wildlife is illegal in a national park. Respect the need of the wildlife for undisturbed territory. We are the visitors here.

  • Do not touch, feed or entice wildlife by holding out foodstuffs.
  • Don't approach wildlife, even for photographs.
  • Avoid known nesting, calving and denning areas.
  • Watch for bird nests and chicks so as not to step on them; many arctic birds are ground nesters.
  • Keep a safe distance from all wildlife and change your route if needed.

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