Quttinirpaaq National Park (Ward Hunt Island)

Scientists have been working at the station since the 1950s. Parks Canada has two Weather haven shelters with oil burner furnaces (each can sleep two people). Pending availability, researchers are welcome to use the sleepers. Centre d’études nordiques (CEN)/ Centre for Northern Studies operates three automated climate stations of SILA Network in the region, and these are in operation year-round. A laboratory made of insulated fiberglass and powered by solar panels was built in 2010.


Name Email Phone Number
Primary Contact Emma Hansen Emma.Hansen@pc.gc.ca (867) 975-4976
Secondary Contact Nunavut Field Unit Nunavut.Info@pc.gc.ca (867) 975-4675

Download Quttinirpaaq National Park (Ward Hunt Island) profile as a PDF document

Parks Canada

Regular Member




Ward Hunt Island

Nearest Community
Grise Fiord

Territory/ Province

Aboriginal Government/ Homeland

Facility Type
Seasonally-Operated Field Camp

Research Hinterland
Coastal, Marine, Sea Ice, Lake

Main Research Disciplines
Climatology, Environmental Sciences, Hydrology, Isotopic Chemistry

Research History
The Ward Hunt Island Observatory research station is owned and run by CEN in collaboration with Parks Canada (www.pc.gc.ca/index.aspx). Ward Hunt Island was briefly used as a weather station during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58, and as the starting point for a number of attempts to reach the North Pole. During the Canadian – United States Ellesmere Ice Shelf Operations of 1953-54 the first ice-shelf and geological studies along the north coast of Ellesmere Island were performed in the area.

Current Projects
Structure and functioning of lake and river ecosystems at high latitudes; dynamics of northern ice shelves; cyanobacteria ecology; impacts of UV radiation and climate change on aquatic ecosystems.

Generator, Solar, Wind

Satellite phone, VHF

Local Transportation
Transportation to the site is possible only via Twin Otter or helicopter

Equipment Storage
Some storage in a weather haven is available

Dormitory/Sleeping Facilities
Two weather havens with bunk beds

Dining/Kitchen Facilities
One kitchen weather haven with living/dining area

Laboratory Facilities

Fuel Availability
Both Parks Canada and Polar Continental Shelf Program maintain fuel caches for operational needs only, except in the case of an emergency. Arrangements for fuel can be made through PCSP, but may require additional permitting by Parks Canada. Please see polar.nrcan.gc.ca for more details.

Research Requirements
Contact the Research Coordinator for the Nunavut Field Unit of Parks Canada at (867) 975-4762 or Nunavut.Research@pc.gc.ca

Special Rules and Regulations
The site is administered by Parks Canada, Quttinirpaaq National Park. All persons going to the site must first contact Parks Canada at (867) 975-4673 for more details on park regulations. Quttinirpaaq National Park is cooperatively managed with the people of Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay through a Joint Park Management Committee as outlined in the Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement for Auyuittuq, Quttinirpaaq, and Sirmilik National Parks.

Local External Resources

Nearest Medical Service
Nursing Station in Grise Fiord (570km), and Iqaluit hospital (2615km), air access only.

Safety Considerations
Anybody traveling to Quttinirpaaq National Park has to participate in a mandatory safety orientation delivered by Parks Canada staff.

No charge for permitted researchers.

Other Information
The first known sighting of the island was in 1876 by Pelham Aldrich, a lieutenant with the George Nares expedition, and named for George Ward Hunt, First Lord of the Admiralty (1874-1877).

Last Updated


Sleeping quarters


Aerial view of camp