Sirmilik National Park

Location: Pond Inlet, Nunavut
Region: Outside Ontario
Character: Arctic

Sirmilik National Park
By Parks Canada

As part of Canada's national parks system, Sirmilik National Park represents the Northern Eastern Arctic Lowlands Natural Region and portions of the Lancaster Sound Marine Region. The park will comprise three separate land areas. Bylot Island is a spectacular area of rugged mountains, icefields and glaciers, coastal lowlands and seabird colonies. Oliver Sound is a long, narrow fiord with excellent opportunities for boating, hiking and camping. Borden Peninsula is an extensive plateau dissected by broad river valleys. The park features landforms and superb wilderness hiking and camping, and a major seabird colony in the vicinity of Baillarge Bay.

Sirmilik National Park offers a variety of wilderness experiences. The best times to visit are spring (late April to early June) for winter activities, and after ice break-up in summer (late July to early September) for hiking and camping. During ice break-up (mid-June to late July) and freeze-up (mid-October to early November), the park is not accessible.

Bylot Island, the Borden Peninsula, and Oliver Sound offer spectacular opportunities for hiking and backcountry camping during the short summer season. Birdwatching is a delight on Bylot Island, with its amazing diversity of birds, including waterfowl and seabirds. The Baillarge Bay is also a seabird colony.

Travelling by sea kayak or canoe is one way to experience the beauty and scenery of Oliver Sound, but only for those who are very experienced. Potential hazards include strong winds, adverse weather, floating ice, and tides. Boat transportation to drop-off and pick-up points is advised.

Spring is a popular time for ski-touring on the sea ice. Skiers are advised to bring along a selection of polar bear deterrents on their trip. Ski-touring and glacier travel is also possible in the mountain and icefield regions of the park.

A spring visit to the floe edge is a wonderful way to see the region's diversity of marine wildlife. Local guides may be hired in Pond Inlet or Arctic Bay.

Several cruise ships visit Pond Inlet every summer. Cruising by the park is one way to experience it.

Proper trip preparation is essential. Winter visits are not recommended due to the extreme conditions caused by unrelenting cold and dark. Please contact the Parks Canada office in Pond Inlet for a complete package of trip-planning information, including a list of licensed guides and outfitters. Due to the remoteness and natural hazards of the arctic environment, travel in Sirmilik is recommended only for those who are highly self-sufficient and experienced in wilderness travel and their chosen activities.