Went out for a walk with Jana today who is a volunteer at the school through Cuso International and facilitates the e-learning programs at the school. She's from Czech Republic and has just been a wonderful friendly face always up for a walk. She's also a much better photographer than I am, with a real camera and consented to let me put up a few photos she took today when we were out. You can check out her instagram here.
First we went out to the DEW line site. My mother says people are super interested in that. I think it looks like Spaceship Earth and I'm always like LOOK IT'S EPCOT and am very annoying about it.
Here is a video from 1958 about it that is probably super racist and intolerant, because of course.
Basically, Cold War. Wikipedia says:
"The Distant Early Warning Line, also known as the DEW Line or Early Warning Line, was a system of radar stations in the far northern Arctic region of Canada, with additional stations along the North Coast and Aleutian Islands of Alaska, in addition to the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Iceland. It was set up to detect incoming Soviet bombers during the Cold War, and provide early warning of any sea-and-land invasion."
In 1988 most of the DEW stations were deactivated and a few were upgraded and transitioned to the North Warning System (NWS). Tuktoyaktuk was one of those stations that was transitioned. They are joint run by the US and Canada. The government describes it thus:
"Canada is responsible for 40 percent of the cost of the North Warning System, with the remaining 60 percent under American responsibility. Canada owns the sites and provides the site operations and maintenance; and the US owns the radar and radio equipment, and provides all fuel, sealift (fuel and dry cargo), and rotary and fixed-wing airlift. Canada’s Department of National Defence does not provide any air support to the North Warning System."
In Tuk, the DEW line meant a huge amount of sudden infrastructure, jobs and southerners.
Elder David Nasogaluak speaks about it here: (Between 11:00-11:35)
This is a great video if you don't mind subtitles that gives a great description of how Tuktoyaktuk has changed in the last 50 years.
The description of the Tuk NWS site is that it consists of a radar tower, communications facility and small storage building and remains of previous site roads and building footings. According to the military site, it's unmanned. I feel like it's kind of clear that it's unmanned when you go to it.
I wonder if with the new political climate and Russia getting scarier and scarier if we'll see the NWS sites be revitalized quickly, especially once the all season road is done.
If you're curious about the current armed forces presence in the North, here's the official word.
Operation NANOOK took place in Tuk in 2015, a surveillance and visibility mission, Operation NUNAKPUT also was in Tuk earlier in 2015. These operations and exercises are mostly to show off that they didn't forget about the Arctic and assert sovereignty.
Everyone still calls it the DEW line up here. Here's some pictures of me there. One warmer day, we'll have to take more pictures. Any urban explorer types that like abandoned sites should DEFINITELY come shoot up here!!
I'm rocking the latest trend in false lashes. Frost lashes...
Also, because the DEW line is 60% American, I added my favourite protest sign from the Womens marches quickly in MS Paint. When traipsing through deep snow, you're forced to kind of march. And if I was somewhere with a march, I certainly would have joined, as I did in 2012 when I marched with Planned Parenthood on the Ohio Statehouse.