Ukkusiksalik National Park
Ukkusiksalik National Park, (pronounced ‘oo-koo-sik-sa-lik’), protects a 20,000 square kilometre (7,722 sq. mi.) area surrounding Wager Bay, a 100 kilometre long (62 mile) inlet on the northwest coast of Hudson Bay. Wager Bay is so huge that many 18th century explorers thought it might be the long sought Northwest Passage. It wasn’t, but it is important for other reasons.
The richness of Ukkusiksalik lies in its wildlife, valuable natural resources and numerous cultural sites. ‘Ukkusiksalik’ means ‘the place where there is stone to carve pots and oil lamps’ in Inuktitut, which refers to the large quantity of soapstone found within the park’s boundaries.
The plentiful marine life in Wager Bay has drawn Inuit people and their ancestors for many centuries. Evidence of this history is found in the more than 500 archaeological sites within the park boundaries that include tent rings, food cache sites, fox traps and an extensive site called ‘Aklungiqtarvik,’ meaning ‘place of the rope game.’ Notable for a large, distinctive stone feature on the south side of the site, archaeologists believe this area was used prehistorically through to relatively recent times.