Herschel Island Territorial Park
Tourism Region: Beaufort Sea
Herschel Island Territorial Park is located off the northern shore of the Yukon in the Beaufort Sea. The first territorial park, it is rich in natural and cultural history. There is a small townsite on the spit at Pauline Cove that features several substantial buildings from the whaling era, late 19th and early 20th century.
About the Collections
This historic site features several buildings from the whaling era, and has numerous archeological sites dating back to the Thule people. There is a small exhibit in the Community House.
Services & Activities
Basic facilities are provided at Pauline Cove, but 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.
This is a very remote location, accessible by boat and float plane from Inuvik, so services are limited. Park Rangers offer interpretation in English and Inuktitut.
Other: Visitors are expected to be completely self contained in this wilderness camping environment. There are outhouses available on the island.
There are windbreaks made from driftwood for tenters. A radiophone is available in case of emergencies.
Publications and Products
"Herschel Island: Qikiqtaruk - A Guide to the Historic Resources" This guide is primarily intended as an overview of the history of the site, and a walking tour of the major buildings, including a site map.
"Qikiqtaruk - Inuvialuit Archaeology on Herschel Island"
This is a pictorial overview of the known archaeological resources of the island, including Thule and Inuvialuit sites, some information on the north slope context, the role of archaeology, and the traditional life ways of the people.
"Waves Upon the Shore - An Historical Profile of Herschel Island" by Rob Ingram and Helene Dobrowolsky.
This is a comprehensive history of the Island, complete with individual building histories and a Chronology.
"Herschel Island, an Annotated Bibliography"
This publication provided an annotated source list of materials pertaining to the historical period of Herschel Island from 1889 and 1932.
"Washout - The Final Chapter" 1985-86 NOGAP Salvage Excavations on Herschel Island" by T. Max Friesen and Jeffrey R. Hunston.
This report summarizes excavations of the earliest known Thule site in the Mackenzie Delta region.
"Qikiqtaruk (Herschel Island) Cultural Study: Final Report" by Murielle Nagy, prepared for the Inuvialuit Social Development Program. 1991.
This study was intended to document Inuvialuit use and perceptions of Herschel Island.
"Yukon North Slope Inuvialuit Oral History" by Murielle Nagy. Part of the Heritage Branch series "Occasional Papers in Yukon History." 1994.
This boat recalls the heyday (1920s & 30s) of the coastal schooners once commonly used by the nuvialuit for travel around the Mackenzie delta and the Beaufort Sea.
© Yukon Government
Known as the Community House, this building was constructed by the Pacific Steam Whaling Company in 1893, and was subsequently used by Anglican Missionaries and the RCMP.
© Yukon Government
Beaufort Sea, Yukon
Hours of Operation
Park Rangers are available for interpretive services from mid-June to September.
Open: On call during the day.