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Community to shape washed away Tr'ondëk-Klondike UNESCO heritage site’s future

Consultations took place on conservation plan for Forty Mile, also known as Ch'ëdädëk

The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and Yukon governments heard from the community during a key engagement session in Dawson City to shape the future of the Forty Mile historic site on June 14.  

Also known as Ch'ëdädëk, the place is an important part of the Tr'ondëk-Klondike UNESCO world heritage site. 

Eight components make up Tr’ondëk-Klondike, which lies along the Yukon River within the homeland of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation. It holds archaeological and historic sources that reflect how Indigenous peoples responded to unprecedented changes caused by the Klondike gold rush before the turn of the 20th century, according to the UNESCO website. 

The UNESCO website notes that challenges in protecting and managing the site include dealing with the impact of climate change and other environmental factors, and the decision-making process has been bolstered to avoid threats from mining. 

The Forty Mile historic site is located 88 kilometres downriver from Dawson City. 

In May 2023, an ice jam where the Fortymile and Yukon rivers meet led to ice and water damage to the Forty Mile historic site, which is co-managed by the territorial government and the First Nation.  

Downed trees, damaged trails and infrastructure, and three of 11 historic structures being completely washed away has been difficult for people in the community. 

According to a joint release, ERA Architects has been contracted to develop a conservation plan that offers options and guides the site’s path forward.  

“This site has been a gathering place for our people for thousands of years and is an essential part of our culture and heritage,” Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in heritage director Debbie Nagano said in a joint release. 

“In creating a formal plan for Ch'ëdädëk, we will be guided by principles of good stewardship and knowledge passed down by our ancestors, ensuring the site is preserved to be enjoyed by generations to come.” 

Tourism and Culture Minister John Streicker said in the release that this community engagement marks a “pivotal step in preserving the cultural significance of this site for generations to come.” 

As noted in the release, Forty Mile historic site remains closed to the public due to hazards from debris, ruined trails and unstable structures. 

The final conservation plan is expected by 2025, per the release. 

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
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