Nunavik Parks bookings filling up as summer tourists return

Tour packages starting to sell out, says KRG’s assistant director of park operations

The east-looking view from the Kuururjuaq National Park interpretation centre in Kangiqsualujjuaq. Nunavik Parks is gearing up to welcome adventurous tourists back to the region this summer. (Photo by Jeff Pelletier)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Nunavik Parks is hoping for a tourist boom this year as visitors from outside the region begin booking their summer travels.

Nunavik is home to four Quebec national parks that are operated and staffed locally by Kativik regional government: Kuururjuaq National Park and Ulittaniujalik National Park in Kangiqsualujjuaq, Tursujuq National Park in Umiujaq, and Pingualuit National Park in Kangiqsujuaq.

For the past two years, COVID-19 restrictions have prevented tourists from being able to travel to Nunavik to visit the parks.

However, the situation this year is looking more optimistic as travel packages are beginning to fill up, says Catherine Noiseux, assistant director of park operations in KRG’s Renewable Resources, Environment, Lands and Parks Department.

“The bookings are going very fast for this summer, so some of the packages are already full,” Noiseux said.

“There’s a lot of people that have been contacting us in the past two years, and people were looking forward and expecting to come to Nunavik so we’ve had a lot of requests.”

Despite a lack of tourists from the south, COVID-19 did not require the parks to shut down. Instead, like many other organizations they were forced to adapt to the situation and focus on local programming.

At Kuururjuaq National Park, visitors can paddle along the Koroc River and hike up Mount Mount D’Iberville, the tallest mountain in Quebec.

Park director Charlie Munick said while it wasn’t able to host tourists from around the world for two years, the pandemic did present an opportunity to create programming for Kangiqsualujjuaq residents to spend some time on the land.

“We saw a decline in clients, but we also kept busy ourselves,” he said.

“We took local people up instead — the elders, the students — so we focused more on regional clients. We adapted, just like everyone else did.”

As summer approaches, Noiseux said she hopes people will consider traveling to Nunavik for an extended stay at one of the parks. To make things more accessible, trip packages are all-inclusive, including air travel from Montreal for visitors from the south.

While Nunavik’s parks offer a lot of natural beauty, she said visitors should also look forward to the cultural experience on the land with local guides and elders.

“That’s what you remember most after the trip,” Noiseux said.

Munick shared a similar sentiment. As tourists book their expeditions to Kuururjuaq, he said, he’s excited to welcome new people to his park and his community.

“To those who would like to come to Kangiqsualujjuaq and to visit our park: you are very welcome to do so, enjoy our scenery and authentic life,” he said.


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