The Thelon sweeps majestically out of spruce-lined valleys, winding across the barrens through vast shimmering lakes set like mirrors in the treeless tundra, finally emptying into Baker Lake.
This boreal-Arctic oasis supports a rich and unusually diverse northern concentration of wildlife. Paddle through a land of muskox, white wolves, moose, barren-ground grizzly, wolverine; soaring gyrfalcon, peregrine falcons and more than 10,000 moulting Canada Geese. The 275,000 strong Beverly caribou herd crosses the river in large groupings at a number of spots during the herd’s annual migration.
For the Inuit of the village of Baker Lake, the river is a vital source of caribou, fish and spiritual renewal. The Thelon, together with its sister river, the Kazan, has long been home to the Caribou Inuit, the only inland community of Inuit in Canada. The shores of the Thelon, particularly from Beverly Lake downstream, are a treasure-house of pre-historic artifacts and Inuit campsites, some dating back thousands of years. The Thelon continues to play a vital role in the lives of the Caribou Inuit, who now reside primarily in the community of Baker Lake at the river’s mouth. It was their strong desire and effort to have the river and their traditional life lead to its designation as a Canadian Heritage River in 1990.