Ukkusiksalik National Park of Canada

Natural Wonders & Cultural Treasures

Geology

Inukshuk © Paula Hughson / Parks Canada

The park is comprised of tundra superimposed on the Canadian Shield - a characteristic that makes this region stand out. The landscape is remarkably uniform - an endless series of low ridges, broken by a myriad of jigsaw-puzzle lakes and broad rivers. Evidence of surging Pleistocene glaciers is found throughout the region. Eskers wind across the land. Old beaches and deposits of marine clay over 200 metres above present sea level show that the entire region must have been awash in gigantic lakes and rivers at the melting of the last great ice sheets. Wager Bay has distinct features which include 8 metre high tides and strong tidal action that produces a dramatic reversing waterfall. In addition, two areas of salt water remain open yearround , contributing to the rich marine life found in the park.

Vegetation

Arctic Flowers © Paula Hughson / Parks Canada

The entire region is characterized by an almost continuous cover of low tundra vegetation consisting of dwarf birch, willow, Labrador tea, mountain avens and other tundra flowers, and various species of the blueberry clan. A broken fringe of boreal forest clings to sheltered river valleys.

Wildlife

Polar Bear© Paula Hughson / Parks Canada

The wildlife of Ukkusiksalik National Park which has attracted hunters to this area since ancient times, still abounds. Here is the world of the Pleistocene, or as close as one can get to it today - a world where the wildlife remains in its primeval state. Polar bears congregate here in summer and can regularly be seen along the shore. Arctic wolves hunt among vast herds of caribou, barren-ground grizzlies patrol their riverbank domains, and polar bears cruise the coast of Hudson Bay hunting for seals. Inland from the Hudson Bay coast, muskox bulls can be seen. Along the Arctic coast, untold numbers of geese, snow geese, tundra swans and other waterfowl nest and moult. Overhead, golden eagles, bald eagles, gyrfalcons, peregrine falcons, roughlegged hawks and other birds of prey soar.