Cuts will harm tourism and heritage landmarks

It has been brought to my attention that officials in Ottawa have decided to take away our Parks Canada guided tours of the SS Klondike and Dredge No. 4.

It has been brought to my attention that officials in Ottawa have decided to take away our Parks Canada guided tours of the SS Klondike and Dredge No. 4.

These are probably the most popular tourist attractions in the Yukon.

I have been on the SS Klondike quite a few times in my life. I am not a tourist. I think taking away our guided tours of the SS Klondike would rob an uncountable number of people of a unique and enlightening experience.

The SS Klondike tours teach us so much of our territories’ history. There is something about being able to go on and through the ship that essentially opened the territory to new beginnings.

It represents an age when the city of Whitehorse served a major function as the transportation hub of this entire region, carrying miners, their families and those who wished to take advantage of the Gold Rush. If you take away the SS Klondike guided tours, you won’t only lose much of the culture our city has, but also will lose revenue.

Dredge No. 4 is my favourite Yukon attraction. I’ve been in it every time we have relatives and friends visit (that’s at least once a year for the past 10 years).

If you can’t go inside Dredge No. 4, there really isn’t a point in seeing it. A video in no way can compare to a personal tour through the dredge with a Parks Canada guide explaining the workings and the resourcefulness of the people who created and operated it.

The guides are able to answer questions that arise about how the people lived and the hardships they had to endure during this time. This is what history is all about.

Without the Parks Canada guides, you lose this personal connection to the past. The last time I was there, I met a family from Germany who had been here before.

I asked them if they had been to the dredge before and they said they had been every time they were up. I later found out that they had been up every summer for the past three years.

If we don’t have tours inside the dredge, people will stop going, and it will probably be vandalized and ruined for any future historical use. Again, the Yukon loses a beloved attraction, and a very important piece of the history of the Yukon Territory.

I don’t know who it was that made the decision to remove these Parks Canada guided tours but I would like to know if they have ever been up to the Yukon and actually taken these tours. The Yukon would be overjoyed if you would bring back our Parks Canada guided tours – these employees are experts in the Yukon’s history and the loss of that knowledge would be significant.

Please consider the points I have brought up.

Kelsey Meger

Whitehorse