Firth River Cultural Resources Monitoring
Mervin Joe, Roberta Hartman and Jacquie Bastick examining
stone chips at the Caribou Drive cultural site.
© Parks Canada
The Firth River corridor has over 100 identified cultural sites. These range
from early occupation sites of 8000-10,000 years ago to gold mining sites from
the mid to late 20th century. Today, humans, wildlife and natural processes
such as erosion may impact some of these sites. Parks Canada monitors these
sites to determine their condition, the rate at which they are changing and
the cause of these changes. This information helps with determining if action
needs to be taken to protect the site, and which actions would be the most
- To identify threats to cultural sites along the Firth River in Ivvavik
- To measure the rate and extent of change to cultural sites along the Firth
- To determine thresholds of change that indicate when actions need to be
taken to protect cultural sites.
- To take action, when required, to protect these cultural sites and the
artifacts contained within them.
Methods and Information Collected
- Monitoring is conducted for 7 cultural sites downstream of Sheep Creek.
- The cultural sites that are monitored were previously identified and described.
The sites were photographed, and threats were identified, in 1999.
- Photographs and measurements of soil erosion are used to determine if the
sites have changed.
- The cultural sites along the Firth River are monitored every 5 years. The
next site assessment will be conducted in 2005.
- The main threats to cultural sites along the Firth River are natural erosion,
trampling and burrowing by animals, and human disturbance.
- Erosion may affect sandy sites that are on the river bed. The sand is eroded
by the wind, which reduces the size of the site and uncovers artifacts.
- Sites found on the raised cobble riverbed are very stable and unlikely
to change much over the next few decades.
- The disturbance of sites by wildlife is a concern at sites near the river
bank and on soft ground. Sites may be trampled by migrating caribou or damaged
by burrowing ground squirrels.
Years of Data
- 1995 - original site surveys
- 1999 and 2000
- Parks Canada, Inuvik
- Parks Canada, Western Canada Service Centre, Winnipeg
Artifacts found along the Firth River corridor.
© Parks Canada