The Land

Shaped over millennia by forces of wind, water and ice, the Yukon North Slope boasts an array of landscapes and geological wonders. As part of the Canadian Arctic, the area is one of the most severe environments for people and wildlife – and also one of the most interesting.

Learn more about this land, including our incredible parks, below.

Ancient History

The unglaciated Yukon North Slope, which is the area west of the Firth River, is believed to be one of the few surviving patches of Beringia. Today, the most potent reminder of the Ice Age, and Beringia itself, is the presence of permafrost in parts of the Yukon North Slope. Permafrost is an important characteristic of the area, and extends far out into the Beaufort Sea Bed. 

Today's Landscape

The Yukon North Slope of today is home to a number of mountain ranges, including the British, Barn and northern Richardson Mountains. To the east, shaped by the passage of glaciers, are the gently sloping coastal plains (the source of the region's name). These different elevations are reflected in seasonal vegetation patterns, and provide important migration routes for animals.

Protected Lands

Two parks were created on the Yukon North Slope, as part of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement: Ivvavik National Park and Herschel Island (Qikiqtaruk) Territorial Park. As a result, about half of the Yukon North Slope is now under formal protection through parks created in collaboration with Inuvialuit. The remaining portion, east of the Babbage River to the Yukon-Northwest Territories border, is under a special order since 1980 effectively withdrawing the area from industrial development.

These parks represent the thriving culture and wilderness of our region. Find out more about these special places.

Herschel Island (Qikiqtaruk)

Fox on Herschel

Explore Qikiqtaruk

Ivvavik National Park

Imniarvik Lookout

Explore Ivvavik

A Story of Protection

Check out our podcast, with Council chair Lindsay Staples, on the creation of these parks on the Yukon North Slope.