Northeast Greenland National Park
is the largest national park
in the world, with an area of 972,000 square kilometres (375,000 square miles), making the park larger than 163 countries
. It is also the only national park in Greenland
, and the most northerly national park in the world. The park encompasses the entire northeastern coastline and interior sections of Greenland.
The park shares borders, largely laid out as straight lines
, with Ittoqqortoormiit
municipality in the south, Qaanaaq
municipality in the northwest, and Upernavik
municipalities along the 45° West meridian
on the ice cap in the west. The large interior of the park is part of the Greenlandic ice cap, but there are large ice-free areas along the coast and in the north (Peary Land
Originally created on 22 May 1974
from the northern, practically uninhabited part of Ittoqqortoormiit
municipality in Tunu
(East Greenland), the park was expanded by another 272,000 km² to its present size in 1988, by including the northeastern part of Avannaa
(North Greenland). In January 1977 it was designated an international biosphere reserve
. It is overseen by the Greenland Department of Environment and Nature.
The park has virtually no permanent human population. In 1986, the permanent population of the park was 40, living at Mesters Vig
although 400 sites saw occasional summertime use. These 40 were involved in cleanup and closeout operations at mining exploration sites and soon left. Recently only 27 people and about 110 dogs were present over winter in North East Greenland:
During summer scientists add to this. The research station ZERO (Zackenberg Ecological Research Operations) can cater for over 20 scientists and station personnel.
An estimated 5,000 to 15,000 musk ox
as well as numerous polar bears
can be found near the coastal regions of the park. This is claimed to be 40% of the world population of musk ox. Other mammals include arctic fox
, collared lemming and arctic hare
left the park in 1900 and wolves
in 1934, although wolves occasionally return. Other marine mammals include ringed seal
, bearded seal
, harp seal
and hooded seal
as well as narwhal
and white whale
Species of birds which breed in the park include great northern diver, barnacle goose, pink-footed goose, common eider, king eider, gyrfalcon, snowy owl, sanderling, ptarmigan and raven.