Roads to wilderness

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Open letter to John Thompson re No Quick Fix For Peel Spat:

Your article seems to imply there are only two interested parties in the debate over the future of the Peel miners (bad guys) and conservationists (good guys).

I don’t see myself as either of these, but think that any decision should be made for in the best interests of all Yukoners.

The wilderness tourism people and the conservationists seems to think the footprint they leave in the area has much less of an impact on the land and animals in the area than miners, or any other groups or individuals.

I wonder, then, just how many turbo-Otter loads of gear does it take to equip a party, of say, a dozen canoeists for a two-week trip down one of these pristine rivers? Maybe they should be the ones considering blimps.

The big sticking point in the whole debate seems to be about a road into the area.

I arrived in the Yukon when the Dempster Highway was being built and it was called “the road to resources.” I don’t see this road as one that destroys wilderness, but one that has become an important supply route for the communities it serves, and also a road that allows Yukoners access to a beautiful part of the world.

I wonder how many of us would have been to Tombstone Park, the Ogilvies, or seen the Richardson Range without the Dempster in place. Whether a camper, hiker, hunter, or tourist, this road made it possible to get there in an affordable way. Why would it be any different in the Peel Watershed?

As a final point, I would like to say that I will never vote for a territorial party that considers an 80-20 solution a fair and equitable one for all Yukoners.

Jim Harris

Whitehorse