Charges Dropped Against Northwest Passage Kayakers

In an Iqaluit courtroom on Monday, charges against four kayakers accused of breaking national park laws in the Canadian Arctic last year were dismissed.

Edward (West) Hansen, Mark Agnew, Eileen Visser, and Jeffrey Wueste were each confronted with 45 charges for alleged violations in the Bylot Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary and Sirmilik National Park. These charges ranged from possessing a firearm in a bird sanctuary to unlawfully entering a restricted area in a park.

The kayakers completed an unprecedented single-season journey through the Northwest Passage last summer. During this expedition, they were detained and interviewed in August 2023 in Cambridge Bay, a remote hamlet in the Canadian Arctic.

The Crown did not provide further information on its decision to dismiss the charges.

Parks Canada spokesperson Megan Hope stated that visitors “are encouraged to plan ahead and should be aware of relevant rules and laws before visiting a national park in Canada.”

Ash Routen

Ash Routen is a writer for ExplorersWeb. He has been writing about Arctic travel, mountaineering, science, camping, hiking, and outdoor gear for 7 years. As well as ExplorersWeb, he has written for Gear JunkieRed Bull, Outside, The Guardian, and many other outlets. Based in Leicester, UK, Routen is an avid backpacker and arctic traveler who writes about the outdoors around a full-time job as an academic.