5.0 VISITOR MANAGEMENT AND PARK PRESENTATION
Aulavik offers an outstanding Arctic wilderness experience and opportunity to learn about this environment. Features of the park which are particularly notable are:
- vast, pristine tundra landscapes;
- abundant wildlife, particularly muskoxen;
- the Thomsen River canoeing experience;
- solitude and remoteness;
- Inuit cultural heritage; and
- ease of hiking and navigation when compared to other northern parks offering similar remote wilderness adventure.
Visitors have a high expectation of experiencing these features in an unobtrusive
way. Management of Aulavik will reflect the park's opportunities and expectations
and remote, isolated wilderness adventure. Visitors are required to exercise
the hallmarks of wilderness recreation: self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and
no-trace user techniques.
Visitation is presently concentrated along the Thomsen River. Canoeing is the primary activity. Hikers also use the park, although there are no routes prescribed as yet for the park.
© Parks Canada
Over the past three years, the number of visitors to Aulavik has ranged up to 20 visitors per year, with cruise ships increasing the level to approximately 100 visitors per visit in one day. The park is in its infancy and it is difficult to predict future visitor patterns. Instead of speculating on future types of use, park managers will use an adaptive approach in facilitating the Aulavik wilderness experience. The visitor guidelines identified in 5.1 will provide a basis for management in this context. Although people are encouraged to experience Aulavik, use limits may be required to protect the natural and cultural environment and ensure the high quality of wilderness experience.
A visitor market analysis for Aulavik has been completed to help determine the type and level of appropriate uses and facilities to be provided in the park. The analysis was carried out by Parks Canada in consultation with the comanagement bodies identified in the ANPEA (6.11). Until it is reviewed there will be no visitor facility development in the park and only multi-day visitation will be encouraged.
Both the ANPEA provision stating that, "The Park shall be operated and
managed to protect the natural character of the Park and the Park's wildlife
populations and their habitat..." (Section 3.03), and the views expressed
by visitors and other members of the public strongly indicate that development
of visitor facilities, if any, must proceed carefully.
Aulavik has an equally important role in educating and inspiring members of
the broad Canadian public who are unlikely ever to visit the park. Key messages
are the importance of this environment, the need for its protection, and the
park's role in the family of Canadian national parks and global environmental
Section 6.06 of the ANPEA provides guidance for promotion of public awareness as follows:
"Through the distribution of information to the Canadian public, and the use of Park interpretation programs, the Parties agree to promote public awareness, appreciation and understanding of all aspects of the land within and adjacent to the Park, its past and present use, and in particular, the related cultural heritage of the Inuvialuit."
A park interpretive display for both the visitors to Aulavik and Sachs Harbour residents is presently being developed at the Aulavik National Park office in Sachs Harbour.