Banks Island is one of the best places in the world for viewing musk oxen. Approximately 60,000 (half the world’s population and the largest concentration) of these shaggy beasts call the island’s Aulavik National Park home. Separated from the mainland by Amundsen Gulf, Banks is the most westerly island in the Canadian Arctic archipelago.
Throughout the barren, low, rolling hills that characterize this island flow some major rivers, including the Thomsen, the northernmost navigable river in Canada.
Sachs Harbour (Ikaahuk)
The only permanent settlement on Banks Island is Sachs Harbour (population 150), at the foot of a low bluff along the southwest coast, 520 kilometers (323 miles) northeast of Inuvik. The town has no restaurants, only a small co-op grocery store (closed Sun.). Aklak Air (867/777-3777) has a twice-weekly scheduled flight to Sachs Harbour from Inuvik.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition