Annual management plan implementation update 2019-2020

Ukkusiksalik National Park

The Ukkusiksalik National Park Management Plan identifies the long-term strategic direction and management goals for Ukkusiksalik National Park (UNP). The plan is consistent with the Nunavut Agreement, the Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement for Ukkusiksalik National Park (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. Ukkusiksalik National Park is cooperatively managed with the Ukkusiksalik Park Management Committee (UPMC) 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.

Members of the community and Parks staff discuss around a table in a conference room.
Inuit Knowledge Framework Workshop in Naujaat in October 2019. Jackie Nakoolak, Elizabeth Aglukka, Elizabeth Kidlapik, Theresie Tungilik, Donat Milortok, Maryse Mahy, Audrey Qamanirq, Peter Kydd, Jenn Lukacic, Honore Aglukka, Joan Scottie, Michael Tucktoo

Table of contents

Strategy 1: Infrastructure – Ensuring that appropriate facilities are available for protection, presentation, and promotion of Ukkusiksalik National Park.

Objective 1.1: A base of operations and hard-sided shelters are available in the park.

  • A temporary base camp has been established near the Sila airstrip and work continues to establish a base of operations and build hard sided shelters. One hard-sided structure, outhouse, and framed canvas tent are positioned within a 50m x 50m bear fence to support park operations while infrastructure needs are identified and plans are being developed.
  • A draft infrastructure plan, including a base of operations, continues to be developed with the UPMC reviewing and recommending options as the plan progresses. The plan is expected to be completed by December 2020.
  • A pre-fabricated hard sided shelter was delivered to Naujaat via sealift in 2019. Another hard sided shelter was purchased and will be delivered via sealift in 2020.

Objective 1.2: Access routes and points, safe harbours, sensitive sites, and other features are identified and communicated to park users.

  • Access routes, areas of importance to Inuit and sensitive cultural sites have been identified and communicated via a poster at the Ukkusiksalik National Park office in Naujaat. The poster highlights the requirement by order of the Field Unit Superintendent for visitors to register, receive an orientation, and use a bear guard. The poster also indicates where and when activities can or cannot occur at sensitive cultural sites or due to polar bear denning, caribou calving, and guillemot nesting sites.
  • An emergency shelter and equipment cache is available at the Sila airstrip and boat shed. One other emergency cache is located at the site of the previously owned Government of Nunavut cabin located at Douglas Harbor.
  • A number of available harbours have been identified by staff. Information that can help park visitors and users assess the safety of the harbour, such as tides and degree of shelter provided from dominant wind directions, is being collected with the intent of having it shared on the Ukkusiksalik National Park website in the next two years.
  • A concept for an interpretative display to promote the park and inform park users has been developed in consultation with and approved by the UPMC. Three dimensional maps of the park with information panels highlighting the Hudson Bay Company Post, Ak&ungitautitalik and traditional living will be the focus of the displays. Fabrication and installation in Rankin Inlet, Baker Lake and Naujaat are anticipated in 2020 and 2021.

Strategy 2: Living Landscape – Strengthening people’s connections to Ukkusiksalik National Park.

Objective 2.1: Inuit connections to Ukkusiksalik National Park are strengthened and shared.

  • The UPMC held two face-to-face meetings (April 24-25 and October 22-23) and two teleconferences (July 12 and December 13) in 2019-20.
  • A total of 9 outreach programs and products were delivered in Naujaat, Baker Lake, and Coral Harbour which included: a water and energy conservation presentation for 45 elementary school children in Naujaat; dog and harness workshops delivered to 33 high school students in Naujaat; handmade items purchased from Inuit in Naujaat and Baker Lake to create outreach kits; contracts for 6 sets of Inuit cultural display items for the Parks Canada office in Naujaat solicited from all 5 adjacent communities; 14 social media updates to the Parks Canada Nunavut Facebook page; a binder with photos and captions written by Inuit Parks Canada Staff for use in outreach programs; an introduction to Ukkusiksalik National Park presentation delivered to schools in Baker Lake and Coral Harbour; a BBQ event with the RCMP for National Indigenous People’s Day in Naujaat and; and a four-day sewing workshop hosted by an elder and Parks Canada in Naujaat.
  • UPMC member, Theresie Tungilik, participated at the Parks Canada Nunavut booth at the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show in February 2020.
  • Three community members from Baker Lake and two from Naujaat were hired as bear guards for Parks Canada staff and visitors in summer 2019.
  • The UPMC Chair, Jackie Nakoolak, was on site to assist and advise on work occurring at the Hudson Bay Post and site assessments during the summer field season.
  • Two Inuit summer students were hired from Naujaat and Rankin Inlet.
  • A template for conducting condition assessments of park assets was created, and all assets including heritage buildings, fuel caches and radio towers were assessed. The results will be reviewed by the UPMC during spring 2020.

Objective 2.2: Opportunities for park visitors to experience the landscape and hear the stories of Ukkusiksalik.

  • The Hudson’s Bay Company Post and Ak&ungitautitalik were featured in online stories as part of a social media campaign for Canada’s Historic Places Day in July 2019. The stories were developed in consultation with the UPMC.
  • Three community exhibit display locations have been identified in Rankin Inlet, Baker Lake, and Naujaat. The areas of focus for the displays include the Hudson’s Bay Company Post and Ak&ungitautitalik. A contract for interpretive content development is expected to be awarded in 2020-2021.
  • Visitor site assessments were conducted at the Sila River area, Hudson Bay Company Post, Ak&ungitautitalik, Douglas Harbor, Catholic Mission, Handkerchief Inlet and Berthie Bay to develop visitation mitigation measures for sensitive sites. Site restrictions are communicated through the Closure Poster and the Superintendent’s Order.
  • Wildlife viewing guidelines have been created and await UPMC review. Formatting for a web based and paper wildlife viewing hiking guide for visitors is being drafted.
  • Key site information on Piksimanik River, Nuvudlik Islands, Ak&ungitautitalik, Hudson’s Bay Post and the Sila River area is being gathered to support the development of an online tool to support a virtual visit to Ak&ungitautitalik (rope-game site).
  • A skin tent program is currently being developed for community outreach and for visitor experience programming.
  • A hiker’s guide is being developed for the Sila River area in consultation with the UMPC and is expected to be completed in 2021-22.

Strategy 3: Gathering Knowledge – Collecting scientific information and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit in support of protecting, presenting and promoting Ukkusiksalik National Park’s natural and cultural resources.

Objective 3.1: Scientific information and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit are collected to determine the current health of Ukkusiksalik National Park’s ecosystems and to detect changes in the future.

  • The remote sensing components (sea ice coverage and phenology, aquatic productivity/Chlorophyll a, water surface temperature) of the park’s marine monitoring program are on-going and led by Parks Canada’s National Office. Development of a field measure is planned for 2020.
  • In 2019, the Ukkusiksalik Inuit Knowledge Working Group, and other knowledge holders, reviewed a report on Inuit Knowledge of the park’s marine ecosystem, collected during the 2016 Ukkusiksalik National Park Marine Baseline Data Collection Project. This and another outstanding report (biotic habitat mapping) from the project are expected to be completed in 2020-21. Once complete, these and all other 2016 Marine Baseline Data Collection Project reports will be compiled into one final report; conclusions and recommendations will be made available to the public.
  • Baseline plant community data was collected in July 2019 and the five-year monitoring cycle can now begin.
  • Permafrost depth monitoring was completed in August 2019 and annual monitoring can now begin.
  • Three Inuit from Naujaat participated in an Inuit Knowledge ecological integrity monitoring pilot project to take photos and make observations while in the park. The observations will be presented to the Inuit Knowledge Working Group and Parks Canada staff as part of the park’s Ecological Integrity Monitoring Program

Objective 3.2: Scientific information and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit are being used to inform and support long term management decisions.

  • A face to face meeting was held in Naujaat with the Ukkusiksalik Park Management Committee, the Inuit Knowledge Working Group, and Parks Canada staff to initiate the development of a framework to address: how Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit will be incorporated into management decisions; how all parties will communicate and work together, and; coordinating the logistics of administrating the Inuit Knowledge Working Group. Follow up meetings with the above mentioned groups were held and a draft document is being developed for review by all parties in fall 2020.
  • A permit application has been drafted for submission to the Nunavut Research Institute to collect Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit pertaining to Ukkusiksalik from community members from Baker Lake, Chesterfield Inlet, Coral Harbor, Naujaat, and Rankin Inlet.
  • Relevant information to implement the fishing prohibition information in Article 10.8 of the Ukkusiksalik National Park IIBA to correspond with the updated National Parks of Canada Fishing Regulations has been submitted to the Parks Canada Agency National Office. The amendments to the regulations and its schedules are pending Parliamentary approval.

Objective 3.3: Progress has been made towards identifying and protecting the cultural resources that tell Ukkusiksalik National Park’s story.

  • Work continued on the Hudson’s Bay Company Post stabilization project again in this summer. Interior bracing and rotten wood were removed at two of the three buildings. This project supports PCA’s commitment under Section 12.6.4 of the Ukkusiksalik National Park IIIBA to clean up and stabilize the buildings at the Hudson’s Bay Company Post to a condition suitable for their use as part of the interpretative program for the park.

Conclusion – Next steps

Parks Canada Nunavut Field Unit and the Ukkusiksalik Park Management Committee 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:

  • Finalizing the infrastructure plan and the Inuit Knowledge Framework with the UPMC and Inuit Knowledge Working Group.
  • Continuing the development of ecological integrity monitoring programs.
  • Initiating the development of cultural resource monitoring programs.
  • Reviewing research priorities with the UPMC.
  • Strengthening the capacity of the UPMC by delivering training to members on the IIBA, governance and their role in park management, and improving committee administration (code of conduct, by-laws) (Note: training was planned for March 2020 in Rankin Inlet, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic).

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