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Remote parks get new welcome mats

Chris Woodall
Northern News Services

Sachs Harbour/Paulatuk (May 15/06) - New exhibits opened at the visitor centres in Sachs Harbour on May 10, and in Paulatuk on April 26, showcasing two of Canada's most remote national parks.

For Sachs Harbour, that means Aulavik National Park, located at the opposite end of Banks Island.

For Paulatuk, it's Tuktut Nogait National Park, found due east of the hamlet. Both parks are not easy to travel to, but although farther away from any settlement, Aulavik had more visitors (66) last year than Tuktut Nogait at 54.

The Paulatuk centre features a selection of wildlife as well as arts and crafts made in the area.

The Sachs Harbour facility shows off similar exhibits, but features large char forms painted by hamlet school children.

"Deep canyons, long rivers and the diversity of wildlife - caribou, muskox, grizzly and char - are the attractions," said site manager Delia Berrouard of Tuktut Nogait's 18,000 square kilometres.

There are more than 270 archaeological sites within Aulavik's boundaries, said park site manager David Haogak of Sachs Harbour. The sites hearken back to when the Copper Inuit, predecessors of today's Inuvialuit, occupied this area of the North.

"We're also known as the muskox capital of the world," Haogak said, noting the park boasts the largest muskox you'll ever see.

Both parks have strong ties with Inuvialuit organizations.

Aulavik is co-operatively run with the Sachs Harbour Hunters and Trappers Committee and the hamlet community corporation.

Tuktut Nogait has a partnership with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Paulatuk's community corporation and the hamlet's hunters and trappers committee.

It will take some effort to get into either parks, said both Berrouard and Haogak.

"It can be a huge expense to go up there, but the park's canoe-able waters offer an easy slow-paced trip," Haogak said.