Canadian Parks And Wilderness Society headquarters in Whitehorse on Nov.15. The conservation manager for CPAWS Yukon and executive director of the Yukon Conservation Society both say they’re optimistic about the Yukon government’s new strategy for parks and wilderness spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

CPAWS Yukon, Yukon Conservation Society encouraged by territory’s parks strategy

The conservation manager for CPAWS Yukon and executive director of the Yukon Conservation Society both say they’re optimistic about the Yukon government’s new strategy for parks and wilderness spaces.

The Yukon government released the 32-page Yukon Parks Strategy on Sept. 24. It contains 24 actions ranging from raising camping fees to partnering with Indigenous guardians that will carry the government’s approach to the territory’s parks into 2030.

In separate interviews, Randi Newton, conservation manager for CPAWS, and Coral Voss, executive director of the YCS, told the News that goals to create a parks system plan to manage parks more systematically rather than on a case-by-case basis and prioritizing ecological integrity and cultural continuity were particularly progressive and would bode well for conservation efforts.

“We’re really lucky to be in the Yukon and we have so many wild spaces, but the wild spaces we have aren’t endless and they aren’t immune from development, they’re not immune from being loved to death, and if we want generations down the road to be able to enjoy these same types of places and experiences, then we need to start thinking about conservation now and about protecting these places now,” Newton said.

“If you look to places like in southern Canada, that really didn’t happen until it was too late and so those opportunities are long gone, so it’s really exciting that we’re taking that proactive, thoughtful approach now.”

Having a set list of goals and actions, she said, also helps in holding the government accountable.

Voss explained that taking a bigger-picture approach was advantageous over looking at parks in isolation because “you’re ensuring that that network is interconnected rather than being siloed.”

“You’re sort of ensuring the management is happening at all (parks) at the same time in an appropriate way for all those regions,” she said.

Voss also said that she liked that the government appeared to be moving away from just operating parks to managing them.

“I think it’s important because … operating is looking at just keeping something running. Managing is looking at how you make something better,” she said.

“… It’s like having a house, right? (Operating) is like, ‘Oh, I have a plumbing leak, I have a water leak, so I have to fix that today,’ whereas looking forward (and managing) is going, ‘Okay, I know that my plumbing is 20 years old so I should probably have someone come in and look at it.’”

Another highlight, according to Newton, appears to be a shift in how new protected areas will be created. Many existing ones, she said, came out of Yukon First Nations final agreements, but with the strategy, they will can now be born out of regional planning.

“I think what this strategy and especially the parks system plan is going to do (is), it will help Yukon government provide really clear input on the territory’s conservation goals during land-use planning so we can work towards building out that conservation network,” she said.

Voss said she does have some concerns about certain actions — particularly, about the creation of a new campground with up to 150 campsites, and increasing the size of drive-through sites to accommodate larger RVs — but that overall, she thinks the strategy has struck “a really good balance” between conservation and getting people out on the land.

Both she and Newton said they hoped the government would continue to provide opportunities for feedback as the strategy is rolled out.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Conservationparks

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your furnace and your truck need to go

Perhaps the biggest commitment in the NDP deal with the Liberals was boosting the Yukon’s climate target

Awaken Festival organizers Meredith Pritchard, Colin Wolf, Martin Nishikawa inside the Old Firehall in Whitehorse on May 11. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Performing arts fest plans to awaken artistic talent in Whitehorse and the rural North

‘A value of ours is to make theatre as accessible as possible.’

April Mikkelsen tosses a disc during a ladies only disc golf tournament at Solstice DiscGolfPark on May 8. John Tonin/Yukon News
Yukon sees its first-ever women’s disc golf tournament

The Professional Disc Golf Assocation had a global women’s event last weekend. In the Yukon, a women’s only tournament was held for the first time ever.

Dave Blottner, executive director at the Whitehorse Food Bank, said the food bank upped its services because of the pandemic. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Food Bank sees Yukoners’ generosity firsthand

“Businesses didn’t know if they could stay open but they were calling us to make sure we were able to stay open.”

A prescribed burn is seen from the lookout at Range Road and Whistle Bend Way in Whitehorse May 12. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Editorial: Are you ready for a forest fire?

Citizens for a Firesmart Whitehorse have listed some steps for Yukoners to boost safety and awareness

Caribou pass through the Dempster Highway area in their annual migration. A recent decision by the privacy commissioner has recommended the release of some caribou collar re-location data. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News)
Privacy commissioner recommends release of caribou location data

Department of Environment says consultation with its partners needed before it will consider release

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Family pleased youth will be able to get Pfizer vaccine

Angela Drainville, mother of two, is anxious for a rollout plan to come forward

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Most Read