While Parks Canada cuts services at many popular sites in the Yukon, a partnership with the Yukon government will keep two of those sites open throughout the winter.
The Department of Highways and Public Works will take over from Parks Canada to plow the Log Cabin parking lot and the access road to Kathleen Lake in Kluane National Park.
That means it’s business as usual for winter adventurers using the popular Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site and Kathleen Lake.
“The partnership with the Yukon government has been a long-standing one at the parking lot, but this year they’re also plowing the road into Kathleen Lake on a trial basis. That’s providing access to those locations for skiing or ice fishing or anything like that that residents and visitors want to do,” said Anne Morin, Parks Canada’s Yukon superintendent.
In the past, Parks had maintained the access road itself, but federal budget cutbacks meant it wouldn’t be able to keep up the plowing this winter, said Morin.
The Log Cabin parking lot is a popular jumping-off point for backcountry skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers accessing the terrain around Log Cabin Mountain.
It’s also the perfect place to pick up the Father Mouchet/Buckwheat ski trail system.
As well as partnering with the Yukon government, Parks Canada will get help from the Skagway-based Log Cabin Ski Society to maintain the outhouse at the parking lot.
“It’s a pretty deluxe outhouse. It’s a two-holer with a men’s and women’s side,” said Jeff Brady, the society’s secretary.
“Because of Parks Canada’s cuts, they were considering closing the outhouses at the parking lot. We said, well, we’ll step up and clean them as needed so we have something right there at the parking lot for the winter.
“We have volunteers up there just about every Thursday or Friday. Our crews can check the bathrooms then as part of their routine,” said Brady.
The ski society has about 25 kilometres of ski trails at Buckwheat, and maintains between five and 10 of them throughout the season. As the annual Buckwheat
Ski Classic race approaches every March, they get help from the Whitehorse Cross-Country Ski Club to professionally groom almost all the trails.
Kathleen Lake is popular with ice anglers and skiers as well. Morin said the access road will be cleared for the rest of the winter, and the outhouses at the
Kathleen Lake campground will also be open until the spring.
The partnership includes Yukon’s departments of Environment and Highways and Public Works, as well as Parks Canada, the ski society and the B.C. ministries of Forestry, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
Contact Jesse Winter at firstname.lastname@example.org