The region surrounding the Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site offers spectacular scenery, wildlife, and opportunities to experience Inuit culture and learn about northern places. But there are a host of dangers associated with travel in this northern wilderness. The remoteness of this area and limited rescue capability increase the risk of the challenging natural hazards. All visitors must be prepared to deal with extreme and rapidly changing weather, unpredictable river crossings, high winds, and travel in Polar Bear Country. You must be self-reliant and responsible for your own safety.

We rarely head out for an outdoor adventure with the expectation that something will go wrong, and most times everything will go right. However, sometimes the unexpected happens and when it does, it's important that you are well informed and well prepared to minimize the negative impact of unfortunate circumstances.

For general information on how to stay safe and a list of the 10 essential items you should bring when enjoying the outdoors visit www.adventuresmart.ca.

Safety is everyone's responsibility. At Parks Canada, we do our part to make sure you can have a safe visit by assessing the risks, managing hazards, and making sure that safety information is freely available to everyone. You can do your part as visitors by making sure you seek out the information you need to stay safe and make well-informed decisions while enjoying these special places. Visit our websites and stop at a visitor center to speak with our employees for the most up to date information. Make sure you are fully prepared for whatever activities you choose to participate in so you can have a safe, enjoyable, and memorable visit.

Polar Bear Safety

Planning a safe visit to a national park.

Psychology of Survival

Survival can be more dependent on the person than the situation. If you become lost or injured, you have a better chance of surviving if you remain patient, calm and confident. Survival under difficult conditions also depends on how well you are prepared for your trip. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

If you are planning a backcountry trip, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have experience in wilderness travel?
  • Are you prepared to travel in polar bear country and willing to accept the risk?
  • Do you have the first aid and wilderness survival skills required for self-reliance?
  • Do you have all the necessary safety equipment?
  • If your own experience or training is limited, will you be travelling with others who have adequate experience or training?
  • Do you have the mind-set that includes judgement, patience and respect for the arctic environment?
  • Are you willing to reassess and possibly change your goals if necessary?
  • Do you have time and provisions for unexpected delays such as: waiting out inclement weather or high rivers, boat shuttles held up by rough water and/or tides, delays in scheduled airline flights? Trying to stick to a tight schedule is an invitation for frustration and accidents!

If you are planning a ski-tour, glacier trip or climbing expedition:

  • Are you able to navigate by map and GPS in a whiteout?
  • Do you have the training, experience and equipment to assess avalanche conditions, make sound route choices and carry out self-rescue procedures?
  • Do you have the training, experience and equipment required for safe glacier travel and crevasse rescue?
  • If technical climbing, are you prepared for self-rescue? Technical rescue equipment and personnel have to be brought in from outside of Nunavut.

Carefully consider the information provided in the pre-trip planning and contact us if you have any questions.

If you have any doubts about your skill level, consider visiting with a licensed guide or outfitter. An experienced guide or outfitter knows what it takes to travel safely in this area and will provide an opportunity to learn more about the natural and cultural heritage.