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Unpeeling the Banana Coast (Greenland)

Last Modified: 12th July 2012

A Trek Through Southern Greenland

(June 11th-August 9th 2012 by Josh Sturtevant and Brian Kennedy)

Biographies: Who are we?

Josh and Brian

Josh and Brian in Greenland

Josh Sturtevant

Josh is a Maine native working towards a geology degree from Bates College. When not studying, he gets his fix of adventure hiking, snowboarding, and now packrafting.

Brian Kennedy

    Brian likes to surf, hike, read, and scribble while studying economics at Bates College. He hails from Long Island, New York.

Note: Josh and Brian’s project is funded by Bates College through the Otis Fellowship. Ground Truth Trekking has also offered generous support with packraft loans, a website platform, and endless support and advice. Thanks Bates, Hig, Erin, David, and others!

Greenland town

houses in Greenland


Route plan and points of interest

With only 7,500 inhabitants, Narsarsuaq, Narsaq, and Qaqortoq in southern Greenland comprise the smallest municipality in the country. Kujalleq is a region framed by mountains and fjords hiding fertile plains and small towns. In a country known for the largest ice sheet in the world, the Banana Coast, as it is jokingly referred to by locals, has been home to farmers and pastoralists since for over a millennium, an international fishing industry for two and a half centuries, mining since the 1800s, and high end eco-tourism for the last few decades. Today, a national push for greater autonomy from Denmark and prospects of self-sufficiency heightened by climate change and an increasingly competitive commodities market, make Kujalleq one of the more dynamic places on Earth. Agricultural independence catalyzed by warming temperatures and the potential mining of the world’s second largest rare earth mineral deposit encapsulate global questions of sustainability into one small place with rich Inuit, Norse, and Danish culture and history.

Tent in Greenland

Josh and Brian's camp

The Plan

Starting in mid June we will walk and packraft from town to town in the Kujalleq municipality of southern Greenland. The glacier scarred landscape calls for both alpine treks and fjord crossings to reach the isolated communities in roadless Greenland. Along the way we will focus on the Kvanefjeld mining project and how it relates to a changing Greenland.  By talking with environmental advocacy groups, agricultural consultants, and local schools we hope to find insight into the future of a warming and resource based Arctic. We’ll stay in touch via sporadic computer access and the DeLorme inReach satellite communicator as we spend the next eight weeks tramping through the Banana Coast.

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Attribution and Copyright info

By Josh SturtevantBrian KennedyGround Truth Trekking

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Date Created: 11th June 2012