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Torngat Mountains
Canada's newest national park

Researchers first proposed a national park in the Torngat Mountains in the early 1970s. Over 30 years later, Canadian Geographic contributor Jerry Kobalenko and his wife Alexandra were the first official visitors to Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve. Join Canadian Geographic as we explore Canada's newest national park and enjoy Labrador's unspoiled wilderness.

Join the Kobalenkos as they paddle down the Labrador coast. »
Photo: Courtesy Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism  

Welcome to the ghost coast
By Melissa Juergensen

Covering nearly 10,000 square kilometres, Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve is Labrador's first national park reserve and Canada's 42nd national park. The park is characterized by towering mountains, a rugged coastline, dramatic fiords and unique wildlife. It is home to one the world's largest caribou herds and a unique population of tundra-dwelling black bears. According to legend, Torngat Mountains is also "home to the spirits" and gets its name from Torngarsuak, an Inuktitut term meaning Great Spirit, or controller of the spirits.

Click image for more photos

Along with its pristine wilderness, Torngat Mountains has a rich history. Inuit and pre-Inuit people have lived along the Labrador coast for almost 8,000 years. Traces left by the Inuit and early explorers include tent rings, stone caribou fences, caches and graves, which can be found at archaeological sites throughout the park.


"Interest in establishing a park first arose in the 1970s, but was put on hold in 1979 due to outstanding aboriginal land claims."
Long road to national park status
Torngat Mountains went through the longest successful establishment process in national park history, says Ian MacNeil, a member of Parks Canada's Torngat Mountains feasibility and negotiating teams.

Interest in establishing a park in the Torngat Mountains first arose in the early 1970s, but was put on hold in 1979 due to outstanding aboriginal land claims, says MacNeil.

In 1992, Parks Canada revisited the proposal to open a park in the Torngat Mountains and launched a public feasibility study in the area. In 1996, the study concluded that a national park in the Torngat Mountains was feasible.

On December 1, 2005, almost 10 years after the feasibility study was complete, Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve was officially established.

The area is expected to gain full national park status once the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement is approved and ratified by parliamentary legislation.

What are national park reserves?
National park reserves are areas that will become national parks pending the settlement of outstanding aboriginal land claims. While land claim negotiations continue, the National Parks Act is applied to national park reserves and traditional aboriginal hunting, fishing and trapping is permitted. Other measures include involving local First Nations with park reserve management.

Parks with this designation include Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.
Click map to enlarge

Torngat Mountains:
•  Welcome to the ghost coast
•  First steps in a new park
•  Official visitor pass
•  Pioneering the Torngats
•  Torngat wildlife

•  Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve

•  Paddling down the coast
•  Wind power
•  WWII remnants

Photo gallery:
•  Explore Labradorís unspoiled wilderness

About national parks:
•  Picking national parks
•  Q&A - The Park warden: polar voices

Mount Caubvick
Climb the the tallest Torngat mountain

Mountain heights
Track the heights of Canada's tallest mountains

Mountainous eco-region
Climate in the Torngats

Tragedy in the Torngats
Precautions for adventure travellers

Parks Canada timeline
Trace the history of Parks Canada

National Parks System Plan
Learn more about establishing new national parks

National Park names
Learn how to pronounce the names of Canada's national parks

Readers write
The future of our parks – 2002 survey
Post your own comment and find out what other readers think about the future of Canada’s national parks.

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