Open letter to Tourism Minister Mike Nixon:
Not long ago you went to Australia to promote the Yukon as a tourist destination at the Canada Corroboree travel-trade event. During an interview, you mentioned that tourists spend more money per day if “they rent a car or RV and travel at their leisure, stopping in places like Kluane National Park, Dawson City, Whitehorse, Carcross and Watson Lake.”
As well, you said “strategically that’s better for the Yukon” (Whitehorse Star, Feb. 14). I so agree with you and I think you’re doing a good job promoting our beautiful territory. And more needs to be done.
For tourists travelling our roads, seeing a grizzly is a most exciting attraction. These experiences are taken home to inspire other potential visits.
Mr. Nixon, you’ll remember the public outcry from Yukoners, including First Nations people, at the killing of the young grizzly bear on the Tagish Road on May 22, 2013. Visitors found it incredible that Yukon law allows this unfair, unwise practice.
The public outcry grew into a petition with 1,084 signatures that was presented at the legislative assembly in Nov. 2013. Government said that to change the hunting regulations, a proposal needs to be submitted to the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board.
Environment Minister Currie Dixon had also requested the management board and Environment Yukon to create a working group to consider how to reduce conflict between roadside hunting and wildlife viewing. I’m wondering where we are with these initiatives?
Spring is in the air and very soon bears will be on the roadsides to feed on the first greens. I understand that a ban on roadside hunting may take time to implement, so why not put a moratorium on roadside hunting until the working group can get up to speed along areas like the Southern Lakes, along Kluane National Park and the Haines Highway?
This way we can all enjoy these magnificent animals without worrying that someone with a tag can pull up and kill the bear.
To keep the Yukon an attractive tourist destination, we need to protect our attractions.