Ivvavik National Park of Canada Management Plan 2018

Ivvavik National Park

Table of Contents

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Chief Executive Officer of Parks Canada, 2018.

Cette publication est aussi disponible en français.

Ivvavik National Park of Canada Management Plan, 2018.

  • Paper: R64-514/2018E
  • 978-0-660-23910-1
  • PDF: R64-514/2018E-PDF
  • 978-0-660-23909-5

For more information about the management plan or about Ivvavik National Park:

Mailing address:
Ivvavik National Park of Canada
Parks Canada Agency, Western Arctic Field Unit
P.O. Box 1840
Inuvik, Northwest Territories, X0E 0T0




Front cover image credits

top from left to right: Fritz Mueller, Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison, Parks Canada
Bottom: Fritz Mueller


Catherine McKenna
Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Canada’s national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas belong to all Canadians and offer truly Canadian experiences.

These special places make up one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and cultural heritage areas in the world.

The Government is committed to preserving our natural and cultural heritage, expanding the system of protected places and contributing to the recovery of species-at-risk. At the same time, we must continue to offer new and innovative visitor and outreach programs and activities so that more Canadians can experience Parks Canada places and learn about our environment, history and culture.

This new management plan for Ivvavik National Park of Canada supports this vision.

Management plans are developed through extensive consultation and input from various people and organizations, including Indigenous peoples, local and regional residents, visitors and the dedicated team at Parks Canada.

National parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas are a priority for the Government of Canada. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this plan for their commitment and spirit of co-operation.

As the Minister responsible for Parks Canada, I applaud this collaborative effort and I am pleased to approve the Ivvavik National Park of Canada Management Plan.

Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Wildlife Management Advisory Council - North Slope

Advisory Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change Ottawa, Canada
K1A 0H3

November 30, 2017

Re: lvvavik National Park Management Plan

Dear Minister McKenna:

The Wildlife Management Advisory Council-North Slope (WMAC-NS) is pleased to recommend the revised Ivvavik National Park Management Plan (2017) to you for your acceptance.

Ivvavik National Park was the first national park in Canada established under a comprehensive land claim agreement. The Inuvialuit Final Agreement (1984) established a cooperative management regime for the Park that is reflected in this management plan. WMAC-NS recommends this new revised plan under our authorities outlined in section 12(9) of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement.

The plan's revised goals and objectives builds on and further develops the strong relationship between the Inuvialuit Final Agreement and the Canada National Parks Act. It gives recognition to the long-standing dependence and the rights of the Inuvialuit to use, manage, and benefit from the Park's resources. It also recognizes the interests of all Canadians in conserving an area of outstanding national and international significance. Regular revisions to the plan are a helpful way of ensuring Ivvavik National Park management is responsive to issues and challenges associated with environmental, social and economic changes in the region. They also reflect a renewed commitment to optimizing Inuvialuit economic benefits associated with the park.

Cooperative management arrangements with other relevant agencies are important element of this plan. Parks officials have demonstrated their commitment to these arrangements throughout the planning process. The same cooperation will be vital to the successful implementation of the plan's objectives.

The 2017 revised Ivvavik National Park Management Plan is an important element of a comprehensive conservation regime for the entire Yukon North Slope and we are pleased to endorse it.


Original signed by:

Ernest T. Pokiak, Inuvialuit Game Council
Matt Clarke, Yukon Government
Daniel C. Gordon, Inuvialuit Game Council
David Tavares, Government of Canada
Lindsay Staples, Chair


Approved by and original signed by

Daniel Watson

Chief Executive Officer
Parks Canada

Steve Blake

Field Unit Superintendent
Western Arctic Field Unit
Parks Canada

Executive Summary

Ivvavik National Park was established in 1984 through the provisions of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA). The IFA identified the boundaries and mandate of the park, and provided guidelines for its planning and management. Together Parks Canada and the Inuvialuit have worked to manage Ivvavik with attention to the spirit and intentions of the IFA. This continuing partnership, through bodies such as the Wildlife Management Advisory Council (North Slope), is central to the management and operation of the park and is integral to all aspects of this plan.

Ivvavik, meaning “a place for giving birth, a nursery,” is a name that recognizes the park’s significant role as the calving ground for the Porcupine caribou herd—a key traditional wildlife resource for the Inuvialuit and other Indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Ivvavik’s story reflects the connection between the people and the land and waters of which they are a part.

The vision of this plan reflects this special relationship and continues to value expanded knowledge about the park and its conservation. It honours the traditions, culture and aspirations of the Inuvialuit people and seeks to ensure continuing cultural traditions, and long lasting environmental conservation and economic benefits. Ivvavik is also recognized as a place of experiential learning for visitors about the land and its importance to Inuvialuit culture.

Four key strategies are identified to guide management of Ivvavik National Park during the life of this plan. The first aims to protect and conserve natural ecosystems, habitat, wildlife, cultural resources and Inuvialuit practices, based on the best available scientific and traditional knowledge. It recognizes the importance of a comprehensive knowledge base about the park that can be utilized regularly and effectively in management decision making. The second strategy encourages opportunities for use while respecting ecological and cultural values. As a remote wilderness, specific efforts will be needed to engage people visiting Ivvavik to access immersive and meaningful opportunities to experience the park and the culture of its traditional inhabitants. The third strategy ensures that meaningful and tangible opportunities will strengthen Inuvialuit benefits from park related economic activities and management. Emphasis in this strategy is placed on both direct benefits such as employment in park operations, as well as indirect benefits through park related business opportunities. The fourth strategy develops understanding and awareness of the significance of the park to global natural and cultural diversity through the sharing of knowledge and experience with others.

These strategies will guide the implementation of the plan through the next decade toward realizing the vision for Ivvavik National Park. 

1.0 Introduction

Parks Canada manages one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and historic places in the world. The Agency’s mandate is to protect and present these places for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations. Future-oriented, strategic management of each national park, national marine conservation area, heritage canal and those national historic sites administered by Parks Canada supports the Agency’s vision:

“Canada’s treasured natural and historic places will be a living legacy, connecting hearts and minds to a stronger, deeper understanding of the very essence of Canada.”

The Canada National Parks Act and the Parks Canada Agency Act require Parks Canada to prepare a management plan for each national park. The Ivvavik National Park of Canada Management Plan will ensure Parks Canada’s accountability to all Canadians, outlining how park management will achieve measurable results in support of the Agency’s mandate.

The Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA) called for the creation of Ivvavik National Park as part of a larger tract of lands and waters - the Yukon North Slope - that falls within a special conservation regime. The dominant purpose of the park is the conservation of wildlife, habitat and traditional Inuvialuit use. In addition to protecting core calving areas of the Porcupine caribou herd, and maintaining the exceptional ecological diversity of an area representative of the Northern Yukon and Mackenzie Delta natural regions, the park sustains and gives recognition to the living history of human relationships with the landscape going back 8,000 years.

The IFA also established the cooperative management environment in which Ivvavik is managed. The Wildlife Management Advisory Council (North Slope) (WMAC NS), which is made up of representatives from the Inuvialuit, the Yukon Government, and the federal government, plays a central role. WMAC NS advises the minister responsible for national parks on aspects of park planning and management and recommends the park management plan to the minister. Parks Canada manages Ivvavik National Park in collaboration with WMAC NS and has worked closely with WMAC NS and other key partners to develop this draft management plan.

The plan sets clear, strategic direction for the management and operation of Ivvavik National Park by articulating a vision, key strategies and objectives.

This plan is not an end in and of itself. Park managers will maintain an open dialogue with the Inuvialuit on the implementation of the management plan to ensure that it remains relevant and meaningful. The plan will serve as the focus for ongoing engagement on the management of Ivvavik National Park in years to come.

Map 1: Regional Settings

Regional Settings of Ivvavik National Park

Map 2: Ivvavik National Park


2.0 Significance of Ivvavik National Park

During the 1970s, the importance of protecting the range of the Porcupine caribou herd drew nation-wide attention as a result of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry, led by Justice Thomas Berger. The Inquiry called for the establishment of an international wildlife refuge straddling Canada and the United States. On the Canadian side of the border, this initiative resulted in proposals for the highest level of protection and conservation for a large area of the northern Yukon. A land claim agreement eventually included 9,750 square kilometres within the traditional territory of the Inuvialuit for the creation of what was to become Ivvavik National Park. Ivvavik was the first national park in Canada to be created as a result of an aboriginal land claim agreement.

Ivvavik National Park of Canada protects for all time portions of two of Canada’s natural regions: Northern Yukon, and Mackenzie Delta. The park’s significance and relevance to Canadians stems from its ecological uniqueness and diversity, as well as its cultural landscape that is both ancient and yet strongly alive today.

Ivvavik, meaning “a place for giving birth, a nursery,” recognizes the park’s significant role as the calving ground for the Porcupine caribou herd - the traditional subsistence wildlife resource for the Inuvialuit and other Indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Commitment to maintaining ecological diversity means protecting habitat for other large mammals such as grizzly bear, muskox and polar bear. Coastal areas, freshwater rivers and lakes provide major breeding and nesting areas for an incredible variety of migratory birds. The Firth River has one of the largest stocks of Dolly Varden char in western Canada. Dolly Varden char are an important traditional food source for the Inuvialuit.

Ivvavik National Park lies within the Beringia Refugium, an unglaciated area extending between North America and Siberia. Because the area was not glaciated during the last ice age, the Firth River is one of Canada’s most ancient rivers and several of the park’s archaeological sites are among the oldest in the Canadian Arctic. Eight different cultures are known to have traveled in and used the resources of the current park area. The oldest known site, Engigstciak, is estimated to have been used 8,000 years ago. Ivvavik’s story of people and the ecosystem of which they are a part flows over millennia, into the modern era from an ancient past.

3.0 Planning Context

Legislative basis of the park: Section 12(6) of IFA states that “the planning for the National Park and the management thereof shall have as their objects to protect the wilderness characteristics of the area, maintaining its present undeveloped state to the greatest extent possible, and to protect and manage the wildlife populations and the wildlife habitat within the area.” Federally, the Canada National Parks Act and the IFA are the primary guiding legislation for Ivvavik. It is important to note that the IFA prevails where any inconsistencies or conflicts with the Canada National Parks Act arise. Other federal legislation which applies include, but is not limited to, the Parks Canada Agency Act, the Species at Risk Act, and the Canada Environmental Assessment Act.

Cooperative management environment: The IFA defines the relationships between Parks Canada and the Inuvialuit and provides the foundation for the ongoing cooperative management of the park. Effective environmental management is achieved through a cooperative approach which integrates land and wildlife management with the needs of people and their cultural identity. In addition to the Wildlife Management Advisory Council – North Slope (WMAC NS), other IFA-mandated cooperative management organizations which are involved in the management of the park include the Fisheries Joint Management Committee, the Environmental Impact Screening Committee and the Environmental Impact Review Board. Parks Canada also works closely with the Inuvialuit leadership in the region and in the community of Aklavik to ensure strategies for growing economic opportunities and managing wildlife are balanced and informed. The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Inuvialuit Game Council, Aklavik Hunters and Trappers Committee and the Aklavik Community Corporation are all Inuvialuit organizations established under the IFA. To develop this management plan, a cooperative working group was established, known as the Ivvavik National Park Management Plan Working Group.

Economic benefits: The IFA recognizes the important contributions that Ivvavik National Park and Parks Canada make to the Inuvialuit people both in terms of employment and business opportunities. Training to ensure access to employment is specifically cited in the IFA, as is preferential access to park related economic opportunities.

Climate change: Climate change continues to alter the ecological and physical processes of the region at an ever increasing rate. Changes in permafrost, coastal erosion and slumping, shifting seasons and dramatic fluctuations in temperature have significant impacts on natural systems, historical resources and modern cultural practices of the Inuvialuit. As a national park, Ivvavik can play an important conservation role in these global issues. Commitment exists among partner agencies to share scientific, traditional and local information about changes in the environment and environmental stressors. Strategies that reduce regional human contributions to climate change will be identified and implemented where practical.

Subsistence Use: Inuvialuit maintain wildlife harvesting rights for subsistence needs within the park. The Beaufort coast and major river corridors are critical areas as they form important travel and navigational corridors. Polar bears are harvested in the winter and spring seasons and grizzly bears during the spring and early summer. Through the summer months, Inuvialuit utilize fishing and whaling camps on and near the Ivvavik coast to take advantage of the marine resources. The Firth River boasts one of the largest Dolly Varden char stocks in western Canada and contributes to Inuvialuit harvest. Through the fall season geese and occasional ungulates such as Dall's sheep, moose and muskox are harvested. Porcupine caribou are harvested year round, and are central to Inuvialuit food security. Harvest of grizzly bear is also important and is managed according to a quota system.

Visitation: Ivvavik National Park sees approximately 100 visitors each year. Since 2013 the majority of annual visitors have either participated in fly-in camping trips at Ivvavik Base Camp, or joined commercial or private whitewater rafting expeditions down the Firth River. Ivvavik Base Camp trips offer visitors the opportunity to explore the park through 5-7 day guided packages including chartered air access, accommodations and catering services.

Regional and species-specific plans: Along with the broad ecosystem-based management plans that exist for the region, there are several species-specific plans that offer guidance in the management and protection of various species such as the Porcupine caribou herd, grizzly bear and musk ox. Species at risk legislation for extirpated, endangered or threatened species or a species of concern, enacted planning processes for wolverine, polar bear, the tundra subspecies of peregrine falcon and short-eared owl.

Herschel Island-Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park: Lying just off the north coast, Herschel Island-Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park is closely related to Ivvavik both spatially and historically. Along with Ivvavik, Herschel Island-Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park is part of the North Slope ecological area that is subject to a special conservation regime established under the IFA, with the primary purpose of conserving wildlife and habitat and providing for traditional aboriginal use. There are opportunities for the parks to complement each other in matters such as visitor experiences and management, cruise ship management, and Inuvialuit connections to the parks.

Connected conservation areas: Ivvavik is connected to other conservation areas that include: Herschel Island-Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park, withdrawn area identified in the IFA, Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, Old Crow Flats Special Management Area, and Vuntut National Park.

Changes since the 2007 management plan: Progress in working toward the vision set out in the 2007 management plan has been significant. Formerly known as Sheep Creek Warden Station, Ivvavik Base Camp has evolved from an operations camp to a central node for programming and visitation in the heart of the park. Strategic investments in infrastructure and assets have decreased the environmental footprint of Ivvavik Base Camp, while providing for a safer and more comfortable experience for Canadians and visitors from around the world. Building on new partnerships and Ivvavik's increasing profile as an Arctic tourism destination, Parks Canada is helping to create a diverse and resilient tourism sector in the region. In terms of ecological integrity, targeted conservation science projects have helped to further the collective understanding of the natural region. Ecological integrity monitoring has also confirmed that a high degree of ecological integrity exists in the park.

State of the park assessment: The Ivvavik National Park of Canada State of the Park Assessment (2015) identified three key issues which need attention during the development of this management plan. They are: 1) integration of traditional knowledge in the management of the park; 2) low visitation leading to limited economic benefits to communities, and limited opportunities to connect with Canadians; and 3) coastal erosion, requiring monitoring of affected areas to provide a better understanding of processes to inform management decisions.

4.0 Vision

In 1993, Parks Canada and the community of Aklavik worked together to establish a vision statement for Ivvavik National Park:

“The land will support the people who protect the land.”

To realize this vision, the following statements must hold true:

  • Ivvavik National Park, “a birthing place”, is a land that maintains the interconnectedness of the Porcupine caribou herd and the culture and traditions of the Inuvialuit people.
  • Ivvavik National Park is a wild, unspoiled Arctic wilderness with exceptional ecological diversity. The park has healthy and functioning ecosystems, as evidenced by clean lakes and rivers, abundant wildlife and ongoing natural processes such as predator-prey relationships, migration and fire.
  • Ivvavik National Park plays a role in global conservation issues such as climate change and wildland protection, mainly as a benchmark for measuring changes in ecosystem integrity, and communicating those changes.
  • Ivvavik National Park is a place where visitors experience a remote and wild environment. Through hands-on experiential tourism, visitors learn about Inuvialuit culture and the importance of the land to the Inuvialuit People.
  • Ivvavik National Park provides an environment for Inuvialuit to reconnect with their cultural traditions, and pass on their traditions to the next generations. Cultural resources such as ancient dwelling sites are respected, and link the past with the living culture.
  • Ivvavik National Park supports the aspirations of the Inuvialuit People to benefit fully from the park. Inuvialuit are employed in park positions, providing leadership in park management, and participating in the tourism, contracting and service economies related to the park.
  • Ivvavik National Park works in partnership with regional development initiatives to stimulate park-related economic benefits to Inuvialuit peoples.
  • Ivvavik National Park respects and incorporates traditional and scientific knowledge in decision making.
  • Ivvavik National Park thrives by creating and maintaining effective partnerships that contribute to conservation and expanding knowledge about the park.

5.0 Key Strategies

Over the life of this plan the management of Ivvavik National Park will be guided by the following four strategies and their corresponding objectives and targets. Successfully implementing these strategies will depend upon the continued strengthening of the partnership between the Inuvialuit and Parks Canada. The partners commit to building their relationship through expanding capacity within the Inuvialuit communities, and ensuring consistent engagement in the decision making and operations of the park. This commitment to partnership extends through all the strategies and objectives that follow.

Key strategy 1:

Understanding and conserving the natural and cultural resources of Ivvavik National Park

Conservation and protection of the natural and cultural resources of Ivvavik National Park are requirements of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA) and the Canada National Parks Act. Natural ecosystems, habitat, wildlife, cultural resources and Inuvialuit practices will be protected. The Porcupine caribou herd plays a critical role in sustaining Inuvialuit cultural traditions and life on the land; maintaining its health is a key focus of conservation efforts. Effective management requires a comprehensive understanding of park resources that is best achieved through a combination of traditional and scientific knowledge. This strategy constitutes a commitment to acquire, share and apply a broad spectrum of information that is relevant to decision making. It is also a commitment to employ adaptive management principles to promote the conservation of natural and cultural resources in the park.

Objective 1.1:

Management decisions are informed by scientific and monitoring evidence and Inuvialuit traditional knowledge.


  • conservation science/traditional knowledge projects are conducted through Inuvialuit and Parks Canada collaboration, on an ongoing basis;
  • traditional knowledge is incorporated into research design and ecological integrity monitoring plans and is conducted according to established practices; and
  • research and traditional knowledge collection results are made available to park managers and cooperative management partners each year, and discussed in cooperative management forums.

Objective 1.2:

Ecosystems and cultural resources are regularly monitored and resulting information is integrated into park management decisions.


  • ecological integrity and cultural resource monitoring takes place on an annual basis;
  • monitoring findings are made available to park managers and cooperative management partners, and discussed in cooperative management forums;
  • how traditional knowledge has been used in decision making and actions is summarized annually; and
  • Parks Canada and Yukon Parks have formally discussed opportunities for collaboration in ecological integrity and cultural resource monitoring in Ivvavik National Park and Herschel Island-Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park within three years.

Objective 1.3:

Ivvavik’s natural and cultural resources are protected by a proactive law enforcement program that identifies, monitors and responds to threats.


  • a law enforcement work plan is developed and implemented, identifying how protection priorities will be advanced by effective law enforcement throughout the year; and
  • law enforcement planning, goals and actions are conducted in collaboration with Inuvialuit community users who contribute their traditional knowledge and observations in order to ensure compliance with park regulations.

Key strategy 2:

Discover the Yukon North Slope and the culture of the Inuvialuit

Ivvavik National Park maintains its remote wilderness character, yet important opportunities exist for appreciating its spectacular environment and for understanding the deep cultural and traditional roots of the Inuvialuit people in the area. Attracting visitors who seek a wide range of opportunities will be important. Traditional Inuvialuit users of the park will engage visitors to Ivvavik in immersive and meaningful experiences related to this special place and the culture of its long-established inhabitants. The traditional stories and contemporary local insights are shared with park visitors and researchers. This strategy also seeks to ensure that all park users do so in a manner respectful to the land and the dynamic Inuvialuit relationship with the ecosystem.

Objective 2.1:

Through targeted outreach and promotions activities, Canadians are inspired to make Ivvavik a destination.


  • visitor numbers show an increasing trend within limits related to the integrity of park resources and facilities;
  • target markets are reached through collaboration with regional, territorial and national marketing partners, tourism providers and others; and
  • non-personal media (e.g. brochures) promoting visitor opportunities are developed and renewed as needed.

Objective 2.2:

Interactions by Parks Canada staff, Inuvialuit and other service providers engaging with park visitors are enhanced.


  • increasing quality of interpretive programs delivered by Parks Canada staff and Inuvialuit service providers results in consistently positive satisfaction and enjoyment ratings from visitors;
  • Inuvialuit service providers engaging with visitors receive regular visitor experience training; and
  • opportunities for Inuvialuit and other service providers’ participation in interpretive programs are expanded.

Objective 2.3:

Visitor use and satisfaction feedback contributes to improving visitor experience offerings in Ivvavik.


  • a visitor information profile, adapted for Ivvavik, has systematically collected visitor feedback and has been completed within three years; and
  • a summary of visitor feedback is provided to park managers and cooperative management partners on an annual basis.

Objective 2.4:

Trip planning information aids, encourages and informs outfitted and independent visitor opportunities.


  • visitor information publications are updated regularly,
  • the relevance and accessibility of visitor information publications to contemporary visitors are reviewed regularly; and
  • partners’ promotional material, including those of Inuvialuit service providers, are presented where appropriate.

Objective 2.5:

The feasibility of marine based visitor opportunities relating to increased cruise ship and private craft traffic along Ivvavik’s north coast will be assessed.


  • the challenges and opportunities related to marine visitor access are investigated within five years and mitigation strategies, including a communication strategy to address adverse impacts, are applied as required; and
  • marine access protocols developed in partnership with key stakeholders are available to targeted users.

Key strategy 3:

Helping Inuvialuit communities grow and flourish

Enabling the Inuvialuit to be equal and meaningful participants in the northern and national economy and society is a core principle of the IFA. In agreeing to the establishment of Ivvavik National Park, the Inuvialuit chose to share this treasure with all Canadians and the world, with the expectation that park related jobs and economic opportunities would contribute to the well-being of families and communities. Meaningful and tangible opportunities to strengthen Inuvialuit benefits will be sought. This strategy addresses issues of both capacity for participation as well as the promotion of economic and employment opportunities.

Objective 3.1:

Opportunities for greater Indigenous involvement in the park workforce, contracting and other economic benefits are realized.


  • Inuvialuit are well-represented at a variety of levels within the Ivvavik National Park workforce, including positions that value traditional ways of knowing and caring for the land;
  • Parks Canada regularly contributes to regional skills development and capacity building initiatives targeted at Inuvialuit in the region;
  • a human resources strategy for career development and capacity building at Parks Canada is developed in cooperation with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the Government of the Northwest Territories and other key partners to encourage retention and advancement of Inuvialuit staff; and
  • tourism, contracting and other business ventures are increasingly providing economic benefits to Inuvialuit.

Objective 3.2:

Participation by Inuvialuit youth in Ivvavik programs and employment is increased.


  • innovative programs aimed at facilitating park careers for youth and adults are in place and are successfully recruiting Inuvialuit into the park work force;
  • the number of Inuvialuit youth participating in learning activities and employment in the park increases; and
  • opportunities for implementing a cultural camp or gathering event to be held in Ivvavik are explored with Inuvialuit partners.

Objective 3.3:

Inuvialuit individuals and businesses are participating in and benefitting from park related operations, services and economic activity.


  • Parks Canada advertises opportunities and gives priority to Inuvialuit businesses and individuals to participate in park operations and visitor service delivery; and
  • a program for building the capacity of Inuvialuit to participate in park management and monitoring activities in contracted support roles such as research assistants, cultural hosts and bear monitors is implemented in concert with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the Government of the Northwest Territories and other key partners.

Key strategy 4:

Sharing our stories

Working together with Inuvialuit partners, Parks Canada will promote the park and the natural and cultural values for which it was created. Ivvavik National Park provides a platform for the communities of Inuvik and Aklavik to connect Canadians and international audiences to the land, a vibrant culture, and the global significance of the park. Innovative approaches are needed to inspire greater awareness and understanding of the existence of Ivvavik, its landscapes, conservation work, cultural heritage significance and visitation opportunities.

Objective 4.1

Canadians at a distance have made connections to Ivvavik National Park.


  • the number of urban outreach contacts shows an increasing trend;
  • the virtual reach of Ivvavik is increased through social media and other web platforms, including Inuvialuit webpages as appropriate; and
  • Ivvavik National Park is regularly featured in external print, digital and broadcast media platforms.

Objective 4.2

Communication of ecological and cultural resource conservation activities is actively developed and enhanced through effective partnerships


  • Parks Canada and Yukon Parks have formally discussed options for working together to achieve and communicate common conservation goals for Ivvavik National Park and Herschel Island-Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park within three years.


Parks Canada’s national park zoning system is an integrated approach to the classification of land and water areas in a national park and designates where particular activities can occur on land or water based on the ability of each area to support those uses. The zoning system has five categories:

  • Zone I – Special Preservation;
  • Zone II – Wilderness;
  • Zone III – Natural Environment;
  • Zone IV – Outdoor Recreation; and
  • Zone V – Park Services.

Three zones are used in Ivvavik. The current zoning plan is largely consistent with the previous management plan. Particular attention will be paid to the coastal areas of the park during the life of this plan to ensure activity levels and zoning are consistent. Zoning provisions do not apply to Inuvialuit exercising their traditional subsistence harvesting rights within Ivvavik National Park.

Specific recognition is given to a number of Zone I - Special Preservation areas. The sites and the nature of the significant resources are:

  • Clarence Lagoon: cultural resources, including a cluster of early Inuvialuit sites.
  • Catton Point: historic and late pre-contact resources, including a cluster of early Inuvialuit sites.
  • Roland Bay: remains of several historically important Inuvialuit structures.
  • Firth River “fish holes” and Joe Creek “fish holes”: critical breeding and overwintering habitat for Dolly Varden char; small sites with a very high density of fish for over six months of the year.

The IFA commits Ivvavik National Park to be managed as a wilderness park that will “protect the wilderness characteristics of the area, maintaining its present undeveloped state to the greatest extent possible” (Section 12(6)). In keeping with the IFA and the park vision, the majority of Ivvavik National Park is Zone II – Wilderness, recognizing the perpetuation of ecosystems with minimal human interference as the key consideration.

Only one location in Ivvavik National Park, Ivvavik Base Camp, is designated as Zone III - Natural Environment because of the level of facility development used in support of opportunities for experiencing the park’s natural and cultural heritage values. This site is also used as an operational and research base for the park.


Map 3: Ivvavik National Park Zoning


Three changes are identified to the zoning and related designations in Ivvavik:

  • To better align this management plan with the pattern of visitor use, current zoning principles and direction found in the IFA, the Firth River, formerly Zone I, is now included in Zone II - Wilderness, with the exception of the “fish holes” noted above. Zone II supports a high level of protection and is the appropriate zoning for this visitation corridor.
  • To better align this management plan with current zoning principles, the Environmentally Sensitive Area designation has been removed for the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd. The calving grounds continue to be included in Zone II - Wilderness, which supports the high level of protection needed for this important area.
  • The Culturally Sensitive Area designation has been removed for Trout Lake. Interest in pursuing a visitor activity node in this area did not materialize. Trout Lake continues to be included in Zone II - Wilderness, which supports the high level of protection needed for cultural and natural resources which exist here.

Outside the purview of the zoning system are two unstaffed Department of National Defense North Warning Stations at Stokes Point and Komakuk Beach which are considered to be non-conforming uses. Both of these facilities are governed by a consent agreement between the Inuvialuit and the Government of Canada.

7.0 Summary of the Strategic Environmental Assessment

Parks Canada is responsible for assessing and mitigating the impacts of management actions on ecosystems and on cultural resources. The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals prepared by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, requires a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of all plans and policies submitted to the federal Cabinet or to a Minister for approval deemed to have important positive or negative environmental effects.

A strategic environmental assessment was undertaken on this management plan, and the management direction found within has been adjusted to respond to findings. The following is a summary of the environmental assessment:

In accordance with The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals (2010), a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) was conducted for the Ivvavik National Park (INP) Management Plan (2017). The purpose of SEA is to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies, plans, and program proposals to support environmentally-sound decision making. The scope of the assessment included the area within the boundary of INP and the time frame considered in was ten years from the date of the plan, at which time the plan will be reviewed. During this period, individual projects undertaken to implement management statement objectives at INP will be evaluated to determine if an environmental assessment is required under the Inuvialuit Final Agreement and the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act.

The intent of the INP management plan is to continue providing an enhanced level of protection to the exceptional ecological diversity and integrity of an area representative of the Northern Yukon and Mackenzie Delta natural regions and to sustain and give recognition to the history of human relationships with the landscape. Environmental and cultural components of note at the park include the calving ground for the Porcupine caribou herd, the Firth River which is the oldest river in Canada, and archaeological sites, including Engigstciak, that are among the oldest in the Canadian Arctic.

Implementation of the plan will result primarily in positive results, for example: greater understanding and conservation of natural and cultural resources using scientific evidence and traditional knowledge to help advance regional and community conservation priorities and inform management decisions, enhanced visitor experience achieved through new products for experiential learning and increased integration with traditional knowledge and culture, and benefits to Inuvialuit beneficiaries from increased economic and training opportunities.

A strategy identified in the management plan that could potentially result in negative environmental effects is that of increased visitation. However, these effects are anticipated to be mitigated by other strategies proposed in the plan such as the increased research, monitoring, and protection of natural and cultural resources and enhancement of visitor experience through wider communication and new program offers. Additionally, existing policies such as park zoning protect the majority of the park as Zones I (special preservation) and II (wilderness) and the Inuvialuit Final Agreement provides legislated requirements to protect the wilderness characteristics of the area and maintain its present undeveloped state to the greatest extent possible.

Public and Indigenous engagement was conducted on this draft plan. The plan was developed under the guidance of the Ivvavik National Park Management Plan Working Group, represented by the Wildlife Management Advisory Council (North Slope), the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Aklavik Hunters and Trappers Committee, Aklavik Community Corporation, Yukon Parks and Parks Canada. Any concerns raised were incorporated into the plan as appropriate.

The plan supports the Federal Sustainable Development Strategies of Protecting Nature and Canadians. There are no important negative environmental effects anticipated from implementation of the Ivvavik National Park of Canada Management Plan (2018).

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