Back River Expedition
Back Down the River
Maps don’t always tell the truth. That’s what George Drought learned as he
canoed Nunavut’s isolated Back River last summer. After navigating the
challenging Malley Rapids, he discovered that they were wrongly placed on not
one but two different maps.
|Photo: George Drought|
“People travelling on rivers in remote areas should be extremely careful with topographic
maps,” the Ontario filmmaker now cautions. To navigate the rapids safely, he had to rely
on the original journal of Sir George Back, who first explored the river in 1834.
Drought, who is also a professional river guide, and his wife Barbara Burton led a six-week
expedition down the Back River, encountering muskox, caribou and countless bird species along
the way. With the assistance of a Society grant, he’s producing a film on his 800-kilometre
journey and the history of the Barrens and intends to distribute it in Northwest Territories
and Nunavut schools. And, with broadcast and film-festival plans, Drought also hopes his
documentary will shed light on the river’s ecotourism potential.
— Espen Larsen