Welcome to the home of the Mushuau Innu First Nation, an ancient settlement that has been a trading post, meeting place, and resource gathering center for hundreds of years. The town of Natuashish is situated in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, on the northern coastline. Before the area was settled by missionaries in the 18th century, the region was already occupied by the Innu, who came here for the rich hunting and fishing opportunities. The region goes by several other names, such as Nain or Sango Pond. Transportation options are limited, especially in the winter when the lakes, river, and shoreline are frozen, but the city is equipped with an airport that can get you to the area any time of the year.
Natuashish Airport (YNP) is a scenic little airport with a single runway is parallel to the water so that you can get a lovely view of the Labrador Sea during your arrival or departure. Only one airline operates out of YNP, Air Borealis, which is another name for PAL Airlines. Formerly known as Provincial Airlines, this is a regional carrier that serves several communities throughout Newfoundland, Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec. You can reach five destinations from YNP with Air Borealis, and one of them is in Goose Bay, where the company has its headquarters. The airport is three kilometers from the city itself, making it conveniently close to the few hotels and accommodations that are in town. The city has neither public transport nor taxi service, so any transportation you need has to be arranged in advance. If you’re here with a wilderness outfitter or a hunting and fishing lodge, your trip will likely include an airport transfer.
What to see and do in Natuashish
It’s the great northern wilderness that draws most visitors to this isolated corner of the world. The land is scenic and rugged, and the town and surrounding area have much to see and do for those that like to travel off the beaten path. Here are just a few unique experiences to consider when planning your Arctic adventure.
- MV Northern Ranger. This icebreaker runs a ferry service to several communities along the northern coast of Labrador, including Natuashish, when the water is open. You can get a close look at the breathtaking coastline and open sea, along with sights like icebergs, marine animals, and seabirds while you explore other local cities with names like Black Tickle, Cartwright, Rigolet, and Makkovik.
- Trade Route Travel. Natuashish has historically been a meeting place and trading post, and many Innu families and groups would travel from the interior to the coast for business and reunions. They would also hunt for caribou and fish in the ocean waters. The pathways used by the ancestors of the present inhabitants are a part of present memory, and you can hike, snowmobile, or dogsled along the same pathways today.
- The Coastal Barrens. This is a term that describes the geography of the area, is classified as an important ecoregion. There are plants and animals here that you won’t find anywhere else on the planet. Steep, rocky cliffs deepen into valleys that become fjords as they reach the shoreline. Dwarf birch and Labrador tea are just examples of rare local flora. Caribou inhabit the mainland as well as the islands, which are also inhabited by seals.