Great Canadian Parks / Northwest Territories

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The Parks / Northwest Territories / Aulavik National Park



 

Located about 600 kilometres above the Arctic Circle, Banks Island is bisected by the principle park feature, the relatively lush Thomsen River Valley. Seasonal snowmelt and rain swell the river late in June creating a brief high water run-off where the continuous permafrost prevents seepage into the soil. Coal seams blacken the hills of the island and loose chunks of coal can be seen scattered on the beach. Along the northwest coast, sheer limestone bluffs rise several hundred metres from McClure Strait, to become the gently undulating hills that flank the Thomsen River valley. Castel Bay and Mercy Bay cut deeply into the northern coastline. To the east of Mercy Bay, deeply carved river canyons dominate the park’s northeast section. A sparsely vegetated upland plateau rises to an elevation of 450 metres between the Thomsen River and Prince of Wales Strait. To the southwest of Castel Bay, rugged desert-like badlands, scoured by the elements into rounded barren hills, are relieved by the poorly drained wetlands around the Muskox River.



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