Great Canadian Parks / Yukon Territory

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The Parks / Yukon Territory / Ivvavik National Park



 

Archaeologists have uncovered tent rings, rock shelters and stone fences, evidence that native people occupied the Firth River valley thousands of years ago. Engigstcak, a 300 metre-high tussock near the Firth, was used as a lookout for the approaching caribou herds by nine different cultures of prehistoric hunters over a period of 5000 years. The Invailuit came from Alaska to hunt seal, whale, and caribou. They built sturdy driftwood houses, and sod homes for greater warmth in winter. Before the turn of the century, however, many native families moved east to avoid the American whalers who came in search of the bowhead and disrupted an established way of life. At about this time, high fur trade prices made many native trappers rich and a Hudson Bay trading post was built at Clarence Lagoon on the north coast where it is the best preserved trading post in the park today. Serious competition with the American trading interests was eventually overcome during a time when an R.C.M.P. post, an Anglican mission base, and more Hudson Bay Posts were established. The 1940's saw something of a gold rush along the creeks and rivers where abandoned claim posts equipment and mines tell of the prospectors' disappointment. During the 1950's Cold War, the first DEW Line station was built near Komakuk Beach, but it too now stands abandoned. Today the park displays a high degree of ecological integrity with little human interference with plant or animal life. The Inuvialiut no longer live there, but still journey to the coast to hunt seal, whale and caribou and to fish for char and trout.

 

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