Camping safety

Ukkusiksalik National Park

We advise you to fine filter (<0.5 microns), treat (iodine or chlorine in warm water), or boil your drinking water. To prevent the spread of diseases, human waste should be disposed of in a responsible manner, at least 100 metres from water sources and 50 metres from trails. More information will be provided during your orientation.

Floe edge

Camping close to the floe edge can be dangerous. Be especially wary when prevailing winds are strong and during large tides (full or new moons) since these conditions increase the following risks:

  • Ice breaks up along the floe edge.
  • A huge pan of ice may break off from the land fast ice (it may be up to 10 kilometres or more in size) even if there is no wind or extreme tides. Bring a global positioning system (GPS) and regularly check to see if the coordinates change. If you are caught without a GPS use this method: visually align a piece of ice some distance from you to the land and periodically check to see if the land fast ice you are on is moving.
  • Watch for moving ice that is wedging and piling up into the land fast ice.
  • Polar bears travel along the floe edge in search of food. Polar bears will hunt for fresh prey or will scavenge any carcasses they find. Do not go near an old kill because polar bears, with their excellent senses of smell, will come to forage from it. Polar bears are very efficient and skilled stalkers (both on ice and in the water). Always keep watch for them.
  • Always camp in hard-sided accommodations or with an experienced outfitter equipped with a polar bear fence and camp well away from the floe edge itself.

Thin ice

  • Some parts of the sea ice are prone to thinning out earlier than the rest of the ice due to strong water currents. Leads — long cracks in the sea ice — can be narrow and crossed with caution or can be too wide to traverse and must be avoided. Please talk to Parks Canada staff to identify specific locations.
  • When there is deep snow, if one area has a darker hue than the surrounding snow that usually means the ice is thin. Pass by that area, giving it a wide berth.
  • If deep snow is present and there is water on top of the snow or the snow is soaked through with water, it means that there is open water covered with snow. Do not approach this area.
  • Sea ice close to river mouths is generally thin. Stay away from those areas.
  • Bays and inlets often have strong currents during spring and are prone to thin ice and open water. Avoid travelling through bays and inlets that have narrow channels.

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