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Kluane National Park asks users to respect closed areas to help wild sheep

One part of Sheep Mountain closed in the spring, another should be avoided year-round.
Three Dall’s sheep, a ewe and two lambs, are seen at Sheep Mountain on the south end of Kluane Lake on May 16. (Eric Ogris/Submitted)

Users of Kluane National Park are being asked to respect two voluntary closures at Thechàl Dhâl’ (Sheep Mountain) that are aimed at protecting Dall’s sheep in the area.

An April 28 notice from Parks Canada and the Kluane National Park management board asks the public to stay off the south face of the mountain throughout the year and to avoid the Thechàl Dhâl’during the sheep lambing season from May 1 to June 15. Anyone using these areas at any time should leave their dogs at home.

A map showing the voluntary closures in Kluane National Park that are in place to protect Dall's Sheep. (Submitted)

The mountain, located near the shore of Kluane Lake just south of Burwash Landing, serves as year-round habitat for about 350 Dall’s sheep. Parks Canada wants park users to be aware that the presence of people and dogs can disrupt sheep activities including foraging for food, resting and taking care of their young that are essential to their survival.

Under the park’s management plan, the south face of Thechàl Dhâl’ is designated as a Zone 1 area where preservation of the area is a key concern and public access is discouraged in order to limit impacts on the area. The ridge route that hikers are being asked to avoid during the lambing season is adjacent to the Zone 1 slope. While it isn’t an official trail it is widely used.

“By respecting the voluntary closures, you will be helping to protect sensitive habitat and minimize disturbance to sheep when they are most vulnerable,” the statement from Parks reads.

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Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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