Catering to biking ecotourists

Mountain bikers may soon have a new base in Whitehorse. A conditional-use application has been submitted to city council to allow a seasonal…

Mountain bikers may soon have a new base in Whitehorse.

A conditional-use application has been submitted to city council to allow a seasonal mountain biking base that offers overnight accommodation, guiding and skills camps.

Boreale Mountain Biking hopes to establish a seasonal lodge at kilometre 4.3 on Long Lake Road.

But there’s a snag.

The Kwanlin Dun First Nation has concerns about Sylvian Turcotte and Marsha Cameron’s development.

There hasn’t been sufficient notification or consultation, said Sean Smith, the First Nation’s representative.

And increased bike traffic in the bush would cause environmental degradation, he said.

“We need a monitoring system for the wildlife,” Smith told city council two weeks ago.

A currently inactive trapline belonging to the Kwanlin Dun is located 750 metres from the proposed development area.

Two other traplines, one belonging to the Ta’an Kwach’an Council, are near the area as well.

The biking base would have no impact on these traplines, Cameron told city politicians.

The bikers would be using existing trails that meander through the Long Lake and Grey Mountain areas.

The facility would also be teaching their ecotourists trail stewardship to ensure that existing trails are preserved.

Visitors would be taught to respect the natural environment, to use composting toilets and not release grey water.

Temporary Structures will be built on platforms to reduce soil and vegetation impact. They will be removed at the end of the season.

Council will require that Boreale document the condition of the site, both before and after, to ensure that it’s returned to its natural state.

As for notification, council learned that the Kwanlin Dun was consulted through the Yukon government’s lands branch in November 2006.

The city sent two letters to property owners in the area — both outside the required 100-metre area — and notification of the project to the First Nation.

Ads were also posted in the city pages for two consecutive weeks.

Council will vote on the application Monday.