Tombstone Park protects over 1,300 square miles in the south Ogilvie Mountains. The park's boundaries were announced in December of 1999. A result of the Tr'ondek Hwech'in Final Agreement, Tombstone Park was established to protect the life, landforms and heritage of this sub-arctic wilderness. The Dempster Highway runs through the park, providing access to spectacular views and tundra environments like nowhere else in Canada.
Exploring Tombstone Park can involve anything from short hikes off the highway, to motor coach sightseeing through in the back country. There are almost no established trails in the park. You are essentially on your own. Rough terrain, drastic weather changes and encounters with wildlife are potential hazards.
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Tombstone Park Vegetation and Wildlife
While Tombstone Mountain is the best-known landform in the park, it is not the most unusual. The park contains a variety of seldom-seen permafrost landforms such as pingos, palsas and patterned ground. Broad, tundra-cloaked valleys form a stunning backdrop in this area. While the scenic beauty of Tombstone is immediately obvious, the biological significance is more subtle.
Tombstone's unique collection of vegetation and wildlife is linked to the special geology and geography of the region. The diversity of rocks and minerals in the arctic tundra environment, which is normally found several hundred kilometres to the north, reaches its southernmost extent at the north end of the Tombstone area. Here, the vegetation and terrain is almost indistinguishable from the high arctic - a treeless, windswept area of shrub tundra and ground-hugging plants.
The variety of vegetation and habitats in Tombstone supports an unusual density of wildlife. Five large mammals make their home here. The Porcupine Caribou Herd winters at the north end of Tombstone while the Hart River Herd uses the region year-round. Moose are found in the major valleys and use the Blackstone Uplands in the fall. Dall sheep lambing areas and important habitats are included within the park boundaries. Grizzly bears and black bears both find suitable habitat in the area.
Tombstone is also rich in bird life, providing habitat for over 137 species. Raptors like Gyrfalcons and Golden Eagles live in the park.
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Tombstone Park Exursions
If it is relaxing sightseeing you are interested in, you might participate in the "Explore Along the Dempster Highway" or take the Chapman Lake Coach Tour. If you are looking for adventure, the North Klondike River Hike or Heart River Road Hike or the Grizzly Lake Trail Hike may be what you are looking for.
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