Pingualuit Park creation signed off

Unique meteorite crater now protected from mining


This week in Kangiqsujuaq, Nunavik’s first provincial park, Pingualuit, finally came into official existence, as Pierre Corbeil, Quebec’s minister of northern development, wildlife and parks, and Johnny Adams, chair of the Kativik Regional Government, signed off on a deal covering the park and its management by the KRG.

In August, Quebec Premier Jean Charest had already committed $10 million to a five-year deal that will lead to a total three provincial parks in the region.

Pingualuit protects the unusual crater, known as Pingualuit, “where the land rises” in Inuktitut.

The crater, located 88 kilometers southwest from Kangiqsujuaq — and not far from the Raglan nickel mine — is the result of a meteorite that crashed there 1.4 million years ago.

The crater, 3.4 kilometres wide, is at the centre of the new park, but there’s also the 45 km Puvirnituq River Canyon, home to gyrfalcons, peregrine falcons and rough-legged hawks, the “Great Lakes Necklace” of lakes joined to each other by waterways and water falls, and a series of hills, dubbed the “East Fringe Hills.”

The park is home to lemming, caribou, fox and the occasional muskox, and botanists have found more than 120 different species of vegetation ranging from moss to lichens to miniature willows.

The immediate area around the crater will be protected, although visitor facilities and a campground will be within hiking distance. Huts and sheds will serve as emergency shelters along the path leading into the park.

Kangiqsujuaq, where an interpretive centre houses displays on the park and its history, is the jumping off point into Pingualuit.

A new administrative body within the KRG’s renewable resources department, called the Nunavik parks section, will look after Pingualuit and the other provincal parks planned for Nunavik and will eventually employ 40 throughout the region.

The five-year agreement has a timetable for the creation of two of more provincial parks: le parc des Monts Torngat et de la Rivière Korok near Kangiqsualujjuaq and the Torngat Mountains and le parc des Lacs Guillaume-Delisle et à l’Eau-Claire at the Richmond Gulf near Umiujaq.

Within the provincial parks, Nunavimmiut keep their harvesting rights, but no mining activity is permitted.

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