Torngat Mountains National Park of Canada
Wilderness Hiking© Parks Canada / Sheldon Stone
Experiences for visitors
The national park offers visitors an exceptional opportunity to experience the Arctic landscape and environment. It is a landscape that holds tremendous potential for life-altering experiences. While this is a remote and wild area, indigenous peoples have lived here for thousands of years. People of European descent have explored the coastal areas in the last two hundred years. Today’s visitors come to the Torngat Mountains for wilderness-oriented experiences.
Everyone needs to register
All visitors must register before entering Torngat Mountains National Park. Doing so provides us with information about you that we may need in an emergency situation. It also helps us in our efforts to better understand visitor use of the park for management purposes. You may register by phone, fax, or in-person at the Nain office.
If travelling on a guided tour, ensure that your operator has registered you as one of his/her clients with the park office. If using the services of a guide, you should take responsibility for your own registration and ensure that the guide is registered as well.
Park Warden viewing blue tarn and glacier© Parks Canada / Heiko Wittenborn
Information required for registration:
- Group member information (names and addresses of everyone in the group including guides)
- Name, address and phone number of an emergency contact for each member of the group.
- List of your major identifiable equipment like tents (number, colour, etc.)
- Type of communication equipment
- Type of activities you will undertake
- Detailed itinerary. Start and end locations and intended routes.
- Date you are planning on leaving the park
- Description of polar bear deterrents
- Means of access to the park (which charter company, outfitter company you are with)
It is mandatory to deregister
Once you have finished your trip contact the park office in Nain, or phone the office and leave a message, to indicate that your party has successfully completed its trip. If you wish to speak to a Parks Canada staff person, please call during office hours.
Camping in Torngat Mountains National Park© Parks Canada / Sheldon Stone
The national park has no designated campsites or facilities. Visitors may camp anywhere, except at archaeological sites. In order to protect the integrity of this pristine wilderness, we ask that you practise No Trace Camping. All garbage must be packed out. Please consult with the park office in Nain for more advice on low-impact camping techniques.
Cooking with camp stove.© Parks Canada / Sheldon Stone
Use a reliable cookstove. Availability of wood is limited to driftwood along the coast, and slow-growing shrubs in the inland valleys. You should not plan on using wood for cooking and we recommend that you only burn wood as a last resort in an emergency. The weather can make building a fire challenging.
If a fire is necessary, ensure that it is small enough to burn to ash before you leave the site. Be extremely careful. Never build a fire on moss or tundra where it can spread underground. A tundra fire can destroy vast tracks of wilderness and there are no people or resources this far north to stop it. Double check that your fire is out before leaving: if you can place your hand in the ashes, it is safe to leave. Be especially careful with cigarettes (and pack out your butts).
Dish and excess cooking water should be poured into a shallow sump hole away from campsite and bodies of water. Filter food scraps and pack them out with other litter. Litter and food scraps can be minimized with careful planning and preparation. Food can be packaged in plastic bags instead of cans, bottles, or tin foil. Carefully measured meals should minimize leftovers. Avoid smelly foods.
Small pond on the shore of Saglek Bay.© Parks Canada / Heiko Wittenborn
Fresh water is available from countless streams and ponds in the Torngat Mountains. Visitors are advised to fine filter (<0.5 microns), treat (iodine or chlorine in warm water), or boil their drinking water.
Minimize the use of soaps and, when necessary, use biodegradable soap. Residual soap should not be dumped in lakes or streams. Sponge or "bird" bath using a pot of water well away from water bodies. This procedure allows the biodegradable soap to break down and filter through the soil before reaching any body of water.
Managing human waste
Faeces decompose very slowly in the Arctic environment. At the same time, dangerous pathogens present in human faeces can survive even Arctic conditions. Visitors are encouraged to pack their wastes out of the park whenever possible or bury it under rocks away from trails, campsites and fresh water sources. If travelling along a body of salt water (i.e. one of the coastal areas of the park) it is acceptable to deposit faeces in a shallow pit below the high water mark.
Minimize the use of toilet paper. Burn it as completely as possible and pack it out. Tampons should be packed out in a zip-lock bag along with other garbage. If you are travelling with a large group or using a base camp, dig a shallow communal latrine (15 cm) at least 50 metres away from traffic routes, campsites, and bodies of water. Make sure the latrine hole is properly covered after use to hide its presence from those that follow and to discourage animals from digging it up.
Environmentally conscious backpackers and mountaineers now pack out their own waste. We challenge you to do the same. A way of dealing with human waste away from outhouses is to deposit waste in a paper bag, and put the paper bag in a plastic bag. When you get to an outhouse, put the paper bag containing the waste into the outhouse. Pack the plastic bag out.
Sailboat, Nachvak Fjord© Parks Canada / Jeff Anderson
Sailing or Cruising by Motorboat
All vessels must meet the minimum safety standards contained in the Canadian Small Vessel Regulations. Current regulations are located in the Safe Boating Guide available from the Canadian Coast Guard
Regulations and reminders of conservation practices
National parks protect the ecological integrity of landscapes and wildlife representative of Canada's vastness and diversity. Please tread lightly on the land as you explore the wonders and beauty of Torngat Mountains National Park of Canada. By respecting the following regulations and conservation practices, you will be helping to ensure the continued protection of the park's natural and cultural heritage for future generations.
- Pick up and pack out all of your litter. If you smoke, that includes your cigarette butts. On your way out - when your pack is lighter - try to pick up any litter left by others. Report any large accumulations or large items, such as empty fuel drums, to park staff.
- Disturbing wildlife is illegal in a national park. Respect the need of the wildlife for undisturbed territory. We are the visitors here.
Caribou© Parks Canada / Heiko Wittenborn
- Do not touch, feed or entice wildlife by leaving or offering food.
- Don't approach wildlife, even for photographs.
- Avoid known nesting, calving and denning areas.
- Watch out for bird nests and chicks so as not to step on them; many arctic birds are ground nesters.
- Keep a safe distance from all wildlife and change your route if needed.
- It is unlawful to possess a firearm without a permit. The exception to this regulation are the beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claim Agreement and of the pending Nunavik Inuit Land Claim; they may carry firearms in the park when engaged in traditional activities or guiding under a Parks Canada business license.
- Leave rocks, plants, and other natural objects such as bones and caribou antlers, as you found them. Allow others a sense of discovery! Also, these items are integral to the ecosystem as a food source for rodents, insects and other species. As they break down in the soil, they provide valuable nutrients to plants. To remove, damage or destroy plants and natural objects is prohibited within national parks.
- Although formal archaeological exploration has been focussed primarily on coastal areas, there is evidence of Inuit and pre-Inuit occupation and use throughout the park that has not yet been formally documented. Do not remove any artefacts or disturb any features that look - even remotely - like an archaeological site. These sites include tent rings, graves, blinds, fox traps and food caches and can be almost indiscernible to the untrained eye. Archaeological sites are important cultural resources that tell us about life in the park area up to 7,000 years ago.
Do not build cairns, other markers, or leave messages in the dirt. Such markers detract from other visitors' sense of discovery and wilderness experience. They can also be misleading and potentially dangerous. However do not disturb or destroy any cairns that you do find. Some are of historical significance.
Caribou Antlers© Parks Canada / Sheldon Stone
Stone ring© Parks Canada / Sheldon Stone