Heritage Resources Impact Assessment of the proposed Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway

Brent Murphy (NWT Archaeologist’s Permit 2011-014)

On behalf of the Government of the Northwest Territories IMG-Golder Corp. (IMG-Golder) completed a Heritage Resources Impact Assessment (HRIA) under NWT Permit 2011-014 of the proposed Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway (the Highway) and two potential realignments (Alternative 1 and Alternative 3) in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. The proposed Highway runs north from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk. It is located on Inuvialuit-owned lands, designated as 7(1)a and 7(1)b lands in the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, as well as Crown Land. The proposed Highway measures 138 km in length in its current alignment, starting at the end of Navy Road in Inuvik (km 0) and ending in Tuktoyaktuk (km 138). The objectives of the HRIA were to identify, record and assess heritage resources that might be impacted by the proposed Highway project and to devise appropriate mitigation strategies should any be found in conflict with the proposed Highway. The field investigations of the HRIA were completed in September 2011 over a six day period, under a Class 2 Archaeologist’s Permit (No. 2011-014) issued to Brent Murphy by the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. The field crew consisted of Brent Murphy and Christopher Cunada of IMG Golder and Rufus Tingmiak, Able Tingmiak, Robert McLeod, and Miles Dillon from Inuvik who assisted during the field program and provided advice on the cultural significance of the landscape traversed during the investigation.

Prefield research noted that there were no previously recorded sites within the proposed right-of-way alignments. Five archaeological sites were previously recorded in areas that are potential borrow sites for gravel. The assessment was conducted along the planned Highway right-of-way and at several proposed borrow source locations. Aerial helicopter surveys were used to conduct preliminary reconnaissance used to confirm areas with moderate to high potential for the presence of cultural materials. Areas deemed to have potential were ground truthed using pedestrian survey and judgementally placed shovel tests in areas lacking subsurface exposure. In total approximately 189 shovel tests were excavated in the study area and one previously recorded site was revisited to identify any possible conflict with the proposed program. No artefacts were recovered from these tests.

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