Ecotourism can’t drive the economy

Ecotourism can't drive the economy Reply to Dan Kemble re Suzuki letter: I have no problems answering your letter: First and foremost, I cannot agree with your premise that David Suzuki is just another traveller ... a tourist on the Peel River. He was h

Reply to Dan Kemble re Suzuki letter:

I have no problems answering your letter:

First and foremost, I cannot agree with your premise that David Suzuki is just another traveller … a tourist on the Peel River. He was here representing conservation groups that are fundamentally anti-mining and aligned with eco-tourism/outfitting.

His Peel excursion was more than likely paid for by these organizations. You see there is, at the very least, a perceived conflict of interest here.

And, yes, because of this, his party, likely companioned by members of these conservation-based groups, should be held to the utmost standards, both on the rivers and the transportation carbon footprint to get there.

Second, you seem to qualify your letter by selling the impact from ecotourism/outfitting is so very low, therefore good.

A quick run on the internet shows me at least seven wilderness guided tours in the Peel region, including the one you mentioned in your letter. They will take anywhere from three to 10 clients per trip. None of these state how many trips they would take per year, basically depending on demand.

Today, we could have at least 70 clients, as well as their guides, on one of these pristine rivers (the Wind seems to be the favourite haunt) at any given time, back-to-back canoes, yelling and screaming happiness as they pass through white water and rapids.

And camping wherever they see fit? How pristine is this? Ask the animals if they will go to their rhythmic water habitat?

This is just the number I quickly Googled, so there are likely several more businesses doing similar trips.

This also does not take into account the number of big-game hunters with their outfitters and the tourists who go unguided into this area.

What about the future number of these guided and unguided eco and big game trophy buffs?

It appears you missed the gist of my letter to Suzuki; i.e. why would we Yukoners let these particular sectors, or any sector, dictate their agenda for the future of our Peel?

They are not the saviours of this pristine wilderness, only developers for their own profits and motives.

You rationalize, “foreigners leave trails of money”, giving a sentiment that the Yukon makes big bucks from the tourism sector.

I’m sorry, but the pay for such work will not support a family for a year and, besides, many of these guides are not even Yukoners. When you consider cash going back and forth for services rendered and to pay employees, how much does the Yukon really get out of this?

My inference from this, which you may agree, is the tourism industry alone cannot make the Yukon economy go around.

Unfortunately we need mining to keep our kids here É only we need it executed environmentally soundly, not only with regulatory design, but with proper enforcement mechanisms.

The same principles hold true with the tourism industry. Every ecotour company and outfitter should be required to go in front of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board proving their footprint is negligible and that they are of social and economic benefit to the Yukon public.

And this must be even more stringent in an area we wish to protect from other sectors. Why should some be allowed to fly, camp, move as they wish, when they advocate mining be curtailed from doing any of the above?

What both of us agree on, is that this debate is for us Yukoners.

In the meantime, I suggest these other sectors must be held subject to the same high-quality regulatory processes and enforcement as mining, including the issue of unguided tourists on our rivers, and that each individual foreign tourist must pay dearly for permission to take such excursions into our backcountry, directly to the government of the Yukon.

This goes Yukon-wide, but especially in any protected area or to-be-protected area.

You and I, my friend, are Yukoners and thus should be allowed to move freely, but with a soft step.

Roger Rondeau


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

The Yukon Department of Education building in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. Advocates are calling on the Department of Education to reverse their redefinition of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that led to 138 students losing the program this year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Advocates call redefinition of IEPs “hugely concerning,” call for reversal

At least 138 students were moved off the learning plans this year

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21, 2020. Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 to help recover from losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Details released on relief funding for tourism and culture non-profits

Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive… Continue reading

Most Read