Herschel Island-Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park

Herschel Island map

YG Photo

Herschel Island - Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park lies five km off the north coast of Yukon in the Beaufort Sea. This 116 km2 island protects important natural and human heritage. Between land and sea, its dry polar climate is home to a unique array of arctic plants, animals and sea life, including the largest colony of Black Guillemots in the Western Arctic.

This is a living park. It is the home of the Inuvialuit, who have used the site for thousands of years. Signs of their old dwellings are still visible on the island. In the late 1800s, American whalers established a station at Pauline Cove. Several historic structures are still standing. Inuvialuit families use the area for traditional activities and researchers come from around the world to study the island's changing wildlife, geomorphology and climate.

Getting there

From mid-June to mid-September, the park is accessible by boat and aircraft on a charter basis. You can charter aircraft out of Inuvik, Northwest Territories (250 km southeast). Boat charters may be operating out of various Mackenzie Delta communities.

A park permit is required to land and aircraft or other vessels, including boats, on the island.

The island is often shrouded in fog, particularly in late summer, and flights can be delayed for hours or even days. Be prepared with sufficient gear and food.

If you are rafting or kayaking the Firth River on the Yukon mainland, you can end your trip at Herschel Island–Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park. However, you must make prior arrangements for return travel.


You should plan to bring all the equipment necessary for independent camping in an arctic environment. Facilities are limited to driftwood windbreak shelters for tenting, fire rings and driftwood, outhouses, and a limited supply of potable water. Park rangers maintain the facilities and offer interpretive assistance at Pauline Cove. The staff includes local rangers who can provide insight into Inuvialuit culture and history. There is a charge for overnight camping on the island of $12 per tent per night.

Park management

A review of the park management plan is now underway, at the final draft stage. It is available for public review until March 9th, 2018. The process is being led by a joint committee, whose members include representatives from Yukon government and Inuvialuit organisations. For more information, contact brian.johnston@gov.yk.ca.


Herschel Island–Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park was designated as a Natural Environment Park in 1987, as a result of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement. This agreement identifies the Yukon North Slope, including Herschel Island, as a special conservation area with the primary purpose of conserving wildlife and habitat and providing for traditional aboriginal use.

Working with the Inuvialuit and their advisory bodies, Yukon Government has been primarily responsible for the management and maintenance of the park.

In 2006, a new Herschel Island–Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park Management Plan was jointly developed by federal and territorial government agencies, the Aklavik Hunters and Trappers Committee, the Inuvialuit Game Council along with the Wildlife Management Advisory Council (North Slope). This plan outlines the management issues that have arisen since the establishment of the park and the strategies for addressing them. A review of this plan is now underway (see above).

Additional resources


Contact Yukon Parks

Inuvik Office

Phone: 867-777-4058

Fax: 867-777-4062

Address: Box 1129, Inuvik, NWT, Canada, X0E 1L0

North Region

Phone: 867-993-7714 (April - October only)

Park Officers: 867-993-7899

Fax: 867-993-6548

Address: Box 600, Dawson City, Yukon

Canada Y0B 1G0

Main Office - Whitehorse

Phone: 867-667-5648
Park Officers: 867-456-3974
Toll-free (in Yukon, NWT & Nunavut):
1-800-661-0408 ext. 5648
Fax: 867-393-6223
Email: yukon.parks@gov.yk.ca
Facebook: www.facebook.com/getoutyukon Address: Box 2703 (V-4) Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada Y1A 2C6