Herschel Island is a remarkable place. For hundreds of years, it sustained aboriginal people who lived off the sea, and its shelter provided a base for the western Arctic whaling fleet in the 1890s. It was named by John Franklin during a voyage to establish sovereignty over arctic North America, and it was the location of the first police detachment in the Canadian Arctic. The rise of the fur trade in the 1910s and 1920s led to the Inuvialuit becoming the wealthiest aboriginal people in Canada at the time. Herschel Island was a logistical centre during the offshore oil boom of the 1970s and early 1980s, but it is now designated as a territorial park, a reserve established as a result of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement. As a wilderness park, it is a semi-contained ecosystem, and presents land, ocean, and coastal environments.
This important new book traces the history of the island, explores its rich and diverse flora and fauna, discusses its strategic role and position in the Arctic, and introduces readers to one of the North's most fascinating places.
Published by the Wildlife Management Advisory Council (North Slope), Yukon.
Christopher R. Burn holds an NSERC Northern Research Chair in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Carleton University. His research centres on the impact of climate change on permafrost terrain.
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