The Peel planning for wilderness or not

I am dismayed by the recent move of the Yukon Party government to ditch more than half a decade of land use planning by the Peel planning commission.

I am dismayed by the recent move of the Yukon Party government to ditch more than half a decade of land use planning by the Peel planning commission.

I did not have an idea about how much of the Peel should be protected, trusting whatever the commission recommended after an exhaustive amount of considered opinions by government, First Nations, stakeholders and the public.

I think its recommendation to protect 80 per cent of the watershed is good because it followed a fair and transparent process to get there. If it chose 40 per cent or 30 per cent, I would be just as happy.

But I am not happy.

Like the past Yukon Party government, nothing about this new one is any different. With less than 40 per cent of Yukoners voting for them, it continues to ram its agenda down all of our collective throats.

The Yukon Party’s decision to deep-six the recommended Peel plan is a fundamental challenge to principles of the land claims Umbrella Final Agreement and democratic process. Its “majority” government ensures there will be little opposition in the legislature.

There is a finite end to mountain wilderness in North America and we are lucky to be living in it. Most Yukoners I know live here because we want to be part of this remarkable natural landscape.

But those of us who believe in a better Yukon can stand up. I will play my small part.

I am about to begin a 13-city tour of Germany presenting a German-translated version of my book, Wolves of the Yukon.

I will share my criticism of the Yukon Party’s decision to not protect the Peel wilderness with my audiences and the German media. I hope they will be just as unhappy with the Yukon Party’s decision as I am. And I hope they write about it.

Bob Hayes

Whitehorse