Time to remove the Intake

Time to remove the Intake I've been paddling at the Yukon River intake for decades. It has always been a popular play spot for Whitehorse paddlers, particularly beginners. In the late '80s I co-authored a guidebook called Rivers of the Yukon that encoura

I’ve been paddling at the Yukon River intake for decades. It has always been a popular play spot for Whitehorse paddlers, particularly beginners. In the late ‘80s I co-authored a guidebook called Rivers of the Yukon that encouraged paddlers to hone their skills there.

The intake was built to cover pipes where the city once got drinking water directly from the Yukon River. It’s a pile of boulders and concrete blocks that extends perpendicular to the river bank for a hundred metres or so. Downstream of the intake are surf waves and other features that attract paddlers. However, upstream of the intake is an eddy that at certain water levels can be a swirling mess.

At higher water levels, if you were to jump into the river you would be surprised by the force of this eddy. You would be whisked upstream and trying to stand would be difficult or even impossible. Within seconds you would be swept towards a boily eddy line. As you hit the eddy line you would stop abruptly and submerge in its aeration and current. You may even be held under as you tumbled uncontrollably in the deeper water. The eddy would pull you away from shore and when you came up for a breath you would be surprised to be a long way from shore. You would also be confused to see yourself being washed back downstream at the swift rate of the Yukon River. However, before reaching the concrete and boulders of the intake, you would likely be dragged towards shore and then back upstream to recycle once more in this gigantic swirl. For the inexperienced these forces are disorienting and shockingly powerful. Add to this the coldness of the water and the probable lack of a personal flotation device and you have the recipe for disaster.

Since the Millennium Trail has been built there is increased visitation to this area and in recent years there have been three fatalities upstream of the intake. It’s time for the city to make the Yukon River safer and remove the intake entirely. Without this obstruction the eddy will diminish in power and size. Moving water is always dangerous and without the intake this popular area will be safer.

Graham Wilson


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

Just Posted

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Eric Schroff, executive director with the Yukon Fish and Game Association, poses for a portrait on Feb. 20. Schroff says he is puzzled as to why the Yukon government is cutting back on funding for the association. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)
YG cuts Yukon Fish and Game Association funding, tried to vet outgoing communications

Yukon Fish and Game Association says 25 per cent government funding cut will impact operations


Wyatt’s World for Nov. 27, 2020

Premier Sandy Silver during a live update on the COVID-19 situation at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 27. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Total Yukon COVID case count increased to 42 cases

Premier urges patience after national meeting on vaccine roll-out

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

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

Most Read