Letter to the Editor

Prospector will live forever I didn’t know the late Joe Suits very well, but I certainly knew of him and his brothers through their mineral…

Prospector will live forever

I didn’t know the late Joe Suits very well, but I certainly knew of him and his brothers through their mineral prospecting pursuits.

I specialized in mining writing, so I made it my business to keep tabs on who was who in the industry.

It was maybe 1979 that a paddling partner and I went downriver from Whitehorse in a canoe.

At Carmacks, I had to hitch a ride home to get my truck to drive back to pick up the canoe and another one belonging to a German tourist, plus all our gear.

I walked from the river up to the Carmacks Hotel. A man pumping gas waved towards a pickup and said Joe Suits was headed for Whitehorse.

He suggested I check with him in the restaurant where he was eating lunch with a group of men.

Joe seemed to recognize me and congenially agreed to give me a ride.

Joe had a reputation as a shy man, not really prone to a lot of idle talk.

But we found common ground and chatted the couple of hours to town about prospecting and mining, a construction job back up the road I believe he was working on and about my excursion down the river.

He was enjoyable company and graciously went out of his way to take me right to my front door, a gesture for which I was eternally grateful.

Afterwards, I lost contact with Joe, except to see him on the street occasionally. Sometimes we nodded in recognition but never talked.

Then, in 1993, the Yukon Prospectors’ Association named Joe Suits Prospector of the Year.

His name is engraved on a plaque attached to the base of the bronze prospector statue that watches over downtown Whitehorse from Main Street and Third Avenue.

His name as part of the permanent, several-tonne metal statement that epitomizes those who follow their dreams assures that Joe Suits will live on in people’s memories forever.

Jane Gaffin


Case dismissed

Re: Overstated, misunderstood (The News, November 15)

What’s with Brian Eaton?

Why is he ranting at the news coverage of the violent patient who escaped from the hospital and was recaptured?

Graeme McElheran’s story was not sensationalism. It was not prejudiced. It did not slander all psychiatric patients and it did not suggest a strong link between illness and violence.

So TV sucks. Whose problem is it?

There was nothing wrong with The News telling the news.

Stewart Jamieson


Watson Lakers are

responsible forest


Here are some good reasons to renegotiate the lapsed mandate of the group responsible for forest planning in Southeast Yukon — the Kaska Forest Resources Stewardship Council.

Has the Kaska Forest Resources Stewardship Council been too successful?

The council, primarily made up of Watson Lake community members appointed by the Kaska and the Yukon government, is working hard and co-operatively with local trappers, land stewards, elders, government officials, community members, loggers and environmental groups.

This group should be allowed to build on the trust it has established and to continue with the important next steps of its work.

The most important reason to renegotiate the council mandate is because it is successful.

Completing regional forest management plans that have broad community support takes years.

In record time, the resources council is finishing regional planning that outlines broad forest management direction.

It made provisions for almost 20,000 truckloads of logs to be available for harvesting while planning was being done.

So far, people have shown an interest in only 12 per cent of this available wood. But, if you want wood to establish a sustainable forest industry — it’s there!

The council has done this in ways that are supported by the Kaska and that provide for healthy ecosystems.

Important work remains.

The council must now focus its attention on specific areas for more detailed, sub-regional planning.

This needs to occur before determining a final number that tells us how much wood can be cut each year.

Its mandate also included guiding the development of the Yukon’s new Forest Act and regulations.

The council is to recommend how a sustainable, economically viable forest industry can be encouraged.

The council was to be a voice for the people of Southeast Yukon.

Community members rely on it as the trusted source of information in considering social, economic, ecological and Kaska interests — effectively and co-operatively through an ecosystem-based approach.

The council relies upon the trust they have developed in the communities of Watson Lake and Ross River to do its work.

It is trusted to produce competent plans that make timber available.

It is trusted by the Kaska because their work respects Kaska cultural interests.

The resources council stated from the outset that it would protect sensitive areas by limiting development where required, and it has.

The trust earned by the Stewardship Council has made it possible for all this productive work to get done in only three years.

When government tried to do it, conflict, confusion and confrontation resulted.

Certainty lies in accepting the recommendations of the regional plan and allowing the council to proceed with the next levels of planning.

Even the forest industry recognizes the importance of completing all levels of forest planning before making an investment, and the Yukon government should too.

Why would the Yukon government want to terminate the Kaska Forest Resources Stewardship Council before its work is done and before its mandate is complete?

Theresa Gulliver