Inuvik‐Tuktoyaktuk Proposed All Season Road

Gabriella Prager (NWT Archaeologist’s Permit 2009‐024)

In September, 2009, a team of environmental specialists from Kiggiak‐EBA Consulting Ltd. that included an archaeologist (Gabriella Prager of Points West Heritage Consulting Ltd.), completed an overview assessment of a corridor for a proposed 140km long all season road between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk. Included in the assessment were a number of possible borrow sources and several alternative segments of road. One of the two main route alternatives passes fairly close to Husky Lakes, while the other route, approximating one that had been used traditionally, runs further west, over generally higher terrain.

The archaeological overview assessment of the proposed road route and selected borrow sources had two goals:

  • To assess terrain to be affected by this project in order to rate archaeological potential; and,
  • To determine if any previously recorded sites are located in the immediate vicinity of the proposed developments.

The primary method used to rate potential for archaeological resources was visual assessment by low and slow helicopter overflight following the proposed alignment using GPS coordinates and topographic maps. Some of the possible gravel sources were also overflown, with the boundaries roughly approximated using topographic maps. Coordinates of previously recorded sites were compared to the locations of project components. Segments of the road routes and borrow sources were rated to have low, moderate or high archaeological potential and were plotted on the topographic maps. Terrain features that are high and dry, such as knolls and ridges, are rated as having good potential for archaeological resources. When such features are adjacent to large lakes or streams, particularly at confluences, the archaeological potential is rated as high.

No previously recorded archaeological sites were found to occur within the proposed road corridor, but 12 sites are in close proximity. One site along Husky Lakes is within or near a proposed gravel source and 3 or 4 others may be in other proposed borrows. The data gathered during the overview assessment will be used to determine the specific portions of project components that will require ground reconnaissance surveys (that is, those rated moderate and high archaeological potential) during the next phase of study and to identify where small realignment or relocation of project component boundaries may serve to avoid sites.

(Edited by Shelley Crouch, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre)