After nearly two years of no visitors, Parks Canada will be welcoming residents of the Northwest Territories back to Ivvavik National Park.
Lindsay McPherson, a spokesperson for the Western Arctic Field Unit with Parks Canada, says the park can see up to 100 visitors.
"There's just so much to see and there's a really unique cultural aspect to our base camp trips in that there is an Inuvialuit cook and host, so anyone visiting has the opportunity to learn about the natural and cultural history of the Inuvialuit."
Since residents have to isolate for 14 days when entering the territory, McPherson said realistically, they won't see visitors from outside of the territory.
Last year, although most parks in the southern N.W.T. and Yukon were able to open in some capacity, it wasn't the same for parks in the Arctic.
In the Western and Eastern Arctic, all of the national parks except for the Pingo Canadian Landmark were closed to the public for the summer, partly due to search and rescue capacity.
This year, in the Western Arctic, while Tuktut Nogait National Park will remain closed, McPherson says Aulavik National Park will likely reopen along with Ivvavik and the Pingo Canadian Landmark.
The National Parks in the Western Arctic are all remote and only the Pingo Canadian Landmark can be reached by road. Ivvavik tends to attract those who are hoping to experience its rugged beauty and see lots of wildlife.
"It's a really special place. The name itself means 'birthplace' or 'nursery' because it's the traditional calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd," McPherson said.
"Anyone that's visiting has the opportunity to potentially see wildlife including the herd, as well as grizzly bears, wolves and lots of migratory birds."
Although Ivvavik is managed by staff in the N.W.T., it technically lies on the Yukon North Slope between Alaska and the N.W.T.
McPherson said in order to take visitors in, Parks Canada applies for an exemption with the territory. She said if Yukon residents wanted to come into the park, they would be required to go through a permitting system with Parks Canada, and their evaluation would take into consideration whatever health guidelines are in place.
McPherson said staff are just as excited to be able to enter the park and share the experience with visitors again. She said an adult trip is $4,600, and that includes flights into and out of the park, meals, "a rather glamping style back-country accommodation" and a unique experience.
"You are getting this once in a lifetime opportunity that not many people get to see or experience," McPherson said.
"You're just getting to see this pristine area and this wildlife, and landscape … you're going in and having this vacation with everything taken care of for you and you just get to enjoy the immersive experience of it."
McPherson said they are starting to see more bookings of people who want to explore their own backyard but still have availability for visitors from June 20–July 6.
The deadline to book this year is April 30, and you can book by calling 1-867-777-8800.