The 61st annual Muskrat Jamboree held its reindeer crossing on the new Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk highway around noon March 25.

Due to safety concerns, the reindeer did not cross the highway, as is tradition, but they came within a few hundred metres of the road for public viewing.

Approximately 100 people drove to Jimmy Lake, near kilometre 35, to view the reindeer herd.

Lisa Osterholt checks out the photos she snapped of the reindeer herd.
Samantha McKay/NNSL photo

Viewers parked their vehicles along each side of the highway. Some viewed the reindeer from their cars, but many braved the -30C weather and ventured a few metres into the land towards Jimmy Lake.

Marc Lefebvre and his family were among them.

Lefebvre said he has been attending reindeer crossings for years as it is something he and his family really enjoy doing during the Muskrat Jamboree.

“As long as we’re up here, I think we’re going to be doing it every year,” said Lefebvre.

Rosemary Lundrigan, who is from Tuktoyaktuk, brought her binoculars to view the reindeer.

“I think the one on the ice road last year, the reindeer were more close, and more active, these ones seem to be still. They’re moving slowly, very cautiously,” said Lundrigan.

This is the first year the annual reindeer crossing has not been held on the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk ice road. Instead, it was held on the new Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk highway near Jimmy Lake.
Photo courtesy of Cora Martin

“I’m enjoying it, very much so! It’s different on this new highway,” she said. “I’ve been around these reindeer since I was little, and they’re just amazing, always amazing to see.”

The reindeer herd is owned by Canadian Reindeer, a government initiative launched in the early 1990s as a solution to newly unpredictable migration patterns of caribou herds, according to

The unpredictable migration patterns were causing food shortages for hunters in the Mackenzie Delta Region.

The Canadian Reindeer initiative connected the Pulk family of Saapmi, Norway, and the Binder family of the Canadian Arctic to share in reindeer husbandry techniques.

The initiative continues today.

The reindeer crossing has been a jamboree tradition since 2002.

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