Pangnirtung, NU May 29 - Jun 20, 2008

 
 

This trip was like none other.  After one week in town there was a major wind/rain storm that caused the Duval River to flood, leading to severe erosion along the river banks, and compromising the stability and utility of the bridges that connect two parts of town.  The bridge closer to the Fiord had just recently been built to replace the old bridge, but hadn’t yet been put into use.  A week after this storm, erosion enhanced by permafrost melt had left both bridges without sufficient support and the older one was literally falling into the river.  Elders around town had never seen anything like this - although spring flooding is common they attributed this severe erosion to warmer spring temperatures and disturbance from the storm that caused enhanced melting of permafrost.  So, although I was in town to follow up on our ongoing sea ice project, to verify previously drawn maps of sea ice features and uses, and to conduct a few new interviews, much of the town’s energies were understandably focused on the formal “state of emergency” that had been declared.  These bridges provided access for all municipal services, so this was the first challenge to restore (which they did very quickly!), but even so peoples’ access to work, stores, transportation, etc. will be affected for weeks and probably months to come.


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Adventures in Pangnirtung (Research Trip #5)

G. J. Laidler