The Peel is a haven for wildlife

Open letter to Resources Minister Brad Cathers: I urge you to consider that the majority of Yukoners want the majority of the Peel protected. This was made clear in the DataPath poll of 2009, in the Yukon election in 201

Open letter to Resources Minister Brad Cathers:

I urge you to consider that the majority of Yukoners want the majority of the Peel protected. This was made clear in the DataPath poll of 2009, in the Yukon election in 2011 that saw 60 per cent of votes cast for parties which openly promised to protect the Peel, and in the responses to the Peel planning commission’s public meetings.

Do you wish the Yukon to be a democratic place, and if so, how do you see that relating to the Peel decision? Do you wish to be a democratic government?

The Peel planning commission’s final recommended plan, made after over six years of consultation with all parties including your government, protects much of the Peel, is fair, balanced, and in keeping with the Umbrella Final Agreement, which is the law of the Yukon.

We do need resource extraction. I work to reduce my ecological footprint, but I use a bike, drive a car at my job, live and work in heated spaces. But there is plenty of the Yukon left for resource extraction without destroying the wilderness value of the Peel. And if we did come to needing the resources in the Peel later, they would still be there.

Yes, there is other boreal forest, but this piece is truly unique in North America, and to quite an extent in the world, for its size, beauty, clean free-running rivers, and biological diversity.

The Peel was part of Beringia, and still supports that ancient life; it wasn’t scraped down like much of the rest of Canada during glaciation. Three different types of boreal and sub-Arctic habitats come together in the mountainous Peel. The Peel is large enough (68,000 square kilometres in the Yukon, 77,000 if the N.W.T. part is included) that it can protect species at risk from climate change.

Animals which are threatened elsewhere live here in strength, as they have for thousands of years. The Peel is an essential part of the winter habitat for the Porcupine caribou herd. It is an important place for birds; some stop over on their way north or south, and many nest in the Peel.

Introducing your four “concepts” at this time violates the process set out in the UFA. Your “concepts” allow roads in nearly all the Peel, even if you did colour the maps green.

But roads and wilderness are incompatible. Where resource extraction proceeds unimpeded, as in much of southern Canada, wilderness is gone, we cannot see what the land was; we cannot see its original character. It is the difference between experiencing an eagle in a cage, compared to seeing an eagle flying freely through the mountains. Humans are hardwired to need that!

Do you think it is ethical, for the short-term gain of a few, to destroy for future generations, this splendid place? There is such a thing as the common good, the common interest. Please consider it.

Thank you for reading my letter, Mr. Cathers. I wish you and the Yukon government well in making this momentous decision.

Mary Amerongen

Whitehorse

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

Just Posted

The City of Whitehorse will be spending $655,000 to upgrade the waste heat recovery system at the Canada Games Centre. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New waste heat recovery system coming to the CGC

Council approves $655,000 project

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate education advocates and volunteers help to sort and distribute Christmas hamper grocery boxes outside Elijah Smith Elementary School on Feb. 23. (Rebecca Bradford Andrew/Submitted)
First Nation Education Directorate begins Christmas hamper program

Pick-ups for hampers are scheduled at local schools

Cyrine Candido, cashier, right, wipes down the new plexi-glass dividers at Superstore on March 28, before it was commonplace for them to wear masks. The Yukon government is relaunching the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program as the second wave of COVID-19 begins to take place in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program extended to 32 weeks

More than 100 businesses in the territory applied for the first phase of the program

City of Whitehorse staff will report back to city council members in three months, detailing where efforts are with the city’s wildfire risk reduction strategy and action plan for 2021 to 2024. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Council adopts wildfire risk reduction plan

Staff will report on progress in three months

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Nov. 25, 2020

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read