The Peel River is in a very beautiful part of the Yukon. It is largely undeveloped. There is a little development, due to government business grants.
I have had the privilege of seeing this area in 1994. I was employed by Environment Canada to relocate the anchors for the cable way on the Snake River. We landed in a floatplane on the Peel River, then the following day used a helicopter to sling our gear up to the site on the Snake River.
We completed our task in 10 days and rafted down the Snake to the Peel River. The next day the single-engine Otter floatplane arrived and we travelled back to Mayo.
We spent a total of 14 days in this area. During this time, we encountered two jet boats on different days. They were hunters from Fort McPherson and Inuvik. On the flight back to Mayo, we flew adjacent to the big-game outfitter’s base camp. These were the only people we saw on this traverse.
It seems that jet boats or aircraft provide the only access to this part of the world. In other words, an individual wanting access to this area needs money.
The mining companies that have claims in this area must travel by aircraft as there is no access. They claim there is a winter road. We did not observe this winter road. Now, as a native of Yukon (thanks to Bill C-31), I believe we need protected areas such as parks.
The mining companies should be totally reimbursed for the expenses that were incurred. The wilderness and big-game outfitters as well, minus the grant money that is provided by the government. This then would fully protect this area from development.
Any access should be like that which we have in our national parks. The First Nations of this area should partner with Parks Canada to monitor any human access.
They claim living in these areas but have yet to reclaim the lifestyle. In partnership with Parks Canada, they would be able to live on the land as they claim they have.
This, then, would allow world travellers to observe firsthand how First Nations have lived and view the wilderness.
William H. Allen