The second largest National parksCanada is the Quttinirpaaq National Park with an area of 37,775 square kilometers. The park with the almost unpronounceable name is located in Nunavut.
The name comes from the indigenous people of the Inukitut and means summit of the world. In 1988, most of what is now the park area was elevated to Ellesmere National Park Preserve. In 1999 it was renamed Quttinirpaaq. Since February 19, 2001 it is officially a national park.
Geography of Quttinirpaaq National Park
The Ellesmere Islands are located in the northern part of the park. A major exception, also in terms of area, is the area around the Canadian military station Alert. This is in the extreme northeast of the island. Any civilization is far from the park area. The strongly rugged area of the island corresponds to about 10 percent of the area of Germany.
The Arctic Ocean encloses the region’s coasts. The impressive glacial valleys, deep gullies and seven fjords jut out of the landscape.
The United States Range and British Empire Range have an ice cover layer up to 1,000 meters thick. This still comes from the last ice age. Hazensee is about 158 meters above sea level. This is often referred to as an oasis. Because the lake, protected by mountains and plateau, reaches average midday temperatures of up to 20 degrees in summer. And thus remains completely frost-free for almost 70 days! History of the Quttinirpaaq National Park More than 4,000 years ago people stayed here in what is now the Quttinirpaaq National Park. They lived here too, what are the traces of settlement prove from that time. Today we know that the first people in this region were Paleo-Eskimos. They belonged to the pre-Droset culture. This was followed by the tribes of the Dorset culture and then that of the Thule culture.
The traces of the last population can still be seen. However, they end between 1600-1850. Because during the so-called Little Ice Age, people disappeared from Ellesmere Island.
It was not until 1882 that Lieutenant Adophus Washington Greely reached this area. It came from an American research station called Fort Conger and immediately reported on the many glaciers and the extensive mountainous world. A research base was established from 1957 to 1958. The discovery of pre-glacial organisms is particularly important. These were preserved as the area around the lake remained uncovered by glaciers during the Ice Age. Scientists are still busy analyzing the area to this day.
The flora and fauna of the Quttinirpaaq National Park can be found
here in certain areas, such as lichens, mosses and vascular plants of all kinds. At the Hazensee there is a comparatively rich vegetation, which serves as a food source for numerous animals.
In addition, grass mats and various types of pasture can be found in the park area. Among other things, the arctic poppy and the white silver arum can be found here. So far, 130 plant species have been counted.
The musk ox can be found in large numbers throughout the park area. The peary caribou, polar hare and lemmings have also successfully established themselves in the area. The arctic wolves benefit from the large food supply and have lived here for over 1,000 years. Arctic foxes can also be found here. Ringed seals, bearded seals, walruses and occasionally whales and polar bears can be found in the coastal region. The Hazensee has only one type of fish, the arctic char.
Parts of the park area are not accessible to tourism due to the protection regulations. The rest that can be entered, however, offers a dreamlike landscape.