Created in 1993, Katannilik Park preserves over 1200 square kilometers of beautiful arctic terrain. The park extends north from the Hudson Strait at Kimmirut, across the Meta Incognita Peninsula as far as Frobisher Bay near Iqaluit. The Soper River, part of the Canadian Heritage Rivers System, flows through the park, draining the high plateaus of the peninsula into the Hudson Strait. As the river descends from the plateau, there are many stunning changes of scenery, including mountains, ravines, and numerouswaterfalls (the name Katannilik means “place of waterfalls” in Inuktitut). The park also has stands of Arctic Willow, some of the largest trees to be found on Baffin Island where trees are scarce in general. The landscape of the park was created by centuries of glaciation, and this has led to dramatic cliff terraces, sometimes rising straight up from the banks of the water to heights of 305 metres (or 1000 feet).
There are many kinds of wildlife throughout the park, including caribou, arctic hares, ptarmigation, and arctic wolves. There are also polar bears and visitors to the Park and to Nunavut in general, should take time to read about traveling safely in polar bear country. Visitors to the Park are required to register both when they enter and leave. See the information available at www.nunavutparks.com.
In the summer, the park can be explored by foot and by canoe, raft or kayak, and there are many challenging white-water rapids for the river-kayaking enthusiast. In winter, one can tour the region by ski, snowmobile and dog-sled. The historic overland route, the Itijjagiaq Trail, which travels 120 km across the peninsula to Frobisher Bay, is an excellent snowmobile route during the winter.
The Taqaiqsirvik Territorial Park Campground is a good option for those who wish to camp near the park and at a convenient proximity to Kimmirut. The campground has been refurbished recently, and there are outhouses, tent pads and fire pits. Information about camping can be found at the Park Visitor Centre and is also available at www.nunavutparks.com.