The restorative power of McIntyre Creek

The restorative power of McIntyre Creek Whitehorse recently made public the report assessing wildlife use of Middle McIntyre Creek. In addition to a diversity of wildlife, this report also documented extensive human use of the area Ð recreationists (mot

Whitehorse recently made public the report assessing wildlife use of Middle McIntyre Creek.

In addition to a diversity of wildlife, this report also documented extensive human use of the area Ð recreationists (motorized and nonmotorized) accounted for 93 per cent of the photos taken by the remote cameras installed around the study area. People are clearly drawn to Middle McIntyre Creek for many reasons Ð for the wildlife viewing opportunities, for the water and fresh air and for the sense of freedom the forested trail network provides.

I know greenspaces like Middle McIntyre Creek have been vital parts of my life and the lives of my loved ones.

Before my husband passed away 16 years ago, we spent time in Stanley Park. When the pain of his cancer was under control, he loved to be taken to the park and feel the ocean breeze, watch the seagulls and geese and walk amongst the huge trees along the edge of the park.

Though Stanley Park is too busy for many deer or small song birds and many of the gardens are not natural, it still offered a sense of freedom and relaxation that my husband so needed.

The sounds of the waves washing on the shore were comforting.

A few years ago, I spent time in Calgary giving palliative care to my brother-in-law.

For economic reasons, he had to live in the city and raise his family there, but his heart was in the wild.

Every day we took him to Fish Creek Park to watch a pair of owls raise their young in the top of a broken tree. My brother had watched this pair for years and he knew the difference between the male and the female sitting on the nest. Eventually we watched the young owls take their first flights while the parents looked on.

Other times we would push him in his wheelchair down the paved trail to see what wildflowers were blooming along the side. My brother always spotted something new and interesting to stop and look at. His pain was forgotten or minimized during these excursions.

I was so thankful for Fish Creek Park during that summer for providing not only my brother but us, his caregivers, with an escape from the hospital.

For the elderly, disabled or those in palliative care who can’t leave the city, Middle McIntyre Creek provides the ability to continue the connection with nature that so many who live in the Yukon value.

The gentle slope of much of the land in the area makes it suitable for developing trails for those who use wheelchairs or walkers.

Ponds full of beaver, muskrat and waterfowl, areas where natural flowers bloom in season and spots to pick berries to enjoy by the mouthful are only some of the experiences this area provides.

At this time, we do not have to move houses, streets or farms to reclaim a valuable ecosystem. We have it in our midst already.

All we need to do is reclaim a few trails and remove some garbage that the uneducated citizen has dumped, unaware of the damage caused.

Let’s keep it that way by protecting Middle McIntyre Creek from roads and development.

How fortunate we are in Whitehorse.

Dorothy Bradley, president

Friends of McIntyre Creek

Whitehorse