The following provides a snapshot of interesting details regarding Quttinirpaaq National Park and the iconic landscapes and areas that the Summits of Canada team will travel through. (Note - information is compliments of Parks Canada’s Quttinirpaaq Visitor Information Package.)
There are four national parks in Nunavut representing various examples of Canada’s 39 natural regions - Quttinirpaaq (Eastern High Arctic), Sirmilik (Eastern Arctic Lowlands), Ukkusiksalik (Central Tundra) and Auyuittuq (Northern Davis).
Quttinirpaaq, Inuktitut for “Land at the Top of the World”, is a vast, ancient, sprawling landscape in the extreme high Arctic that has the expected: ice caps enclosing mountains, kilometres thick glaciers, worn mountains, and sparse tundra. But it also has the unexpected: the highest mountain in eastern North America (Barbeau Peak) and a thermal oasis in the Lake Hazen area. Lake Hazen, one of the largest and deepest lakes in the world above the Arctic Circle, has remarkably lush vegetation and supports higher densities of wildlife than the rest of the park.
Located in Canada’s Nunavut Territory, Quttinirpaaq National Park was established as a national park reserve in 1988 and was established as an official national park in 1999. Canada's second largest national park, Quttinirpaaq, is 37,775 square km in size and is located on Ellesmere Island, and is on the northern tip of the most northerly piece of land in North America.
Inuit Culture: Ancient peoples have a long history on Ellesmere Island, starting with the arrival of the Palaeo-Eskimos about 4,500 years ago, followed by the Last Dorset cultures and the Thule people who arrived during the past thousand years. Archaeological sites give testimony to the resiliency of these people and their ability to survive in this extreme northern climate.
Quttinirpaaq National Park is a polar desert – it is a cold region with little precipitation. Winters are very cold with some of the lowest temperatures recorded in Canada. In contrast, summers, though short, can be surprisingly warm, particularly in the Lake Hazen area. Coastal areas of the park are generally cooler and receive more precipitation than the interior. Winds throughout the park tend to be light, except on the ice caps. There are 24 hours of daylight from May to August and 24 hours of darkness from November to February.