The Northwest Passage looks straightforward—on a map. In reality, ice conditions made transit of the fabled route by sea nearly impossible for until recently.
Today, improved navigation, weather forecasting, ice charting and vessel manufacture, combined with an overall reduction in sea ice extent due to climate change, have made the Northwest Passage more accessible.
The potential for increased shipping and resource extraction in the Northwest Passage has led to a renewed political and economic interest in the region. Concerns about climate change and the future of iconic animals such as polar bears and narwhals make headlines worldwide.
The Inuit of Nunavut and of Greenland are stewards of one of the last great wilderness regions in the world. Amid rapid culture change, they are making a stand in their homelands—telling their stories, sharing their culture, and looking to the future.
Today the Northwest Passage is still a place of myth and mystery, bringing the people of the Arctic together with scholars, scientists, art aficionados, archaeologists and travellers from around the globe.