Vandals ripped down a fence and tore up saplings, destroying most of a restoration project on McIntyre Creek.
A good three quarters of the project was ruined, said Gord Zealand, executive director of the Yukon Fish and Game Association, which spearheaded the initiative.
Last year the association, along with volunteers from Yukon College, Friends of McIntyre Creek, Canada World Youth, Katimavik and others, planted more than 2,000 young trees along both sides of the creek. The project is designed to prevent erosion to improve both the water quality for fish and the riparian area for other wildlife.
Sometime last week, vandals knocked down the fence and pulled up almost all the stakes along the southern bank of the creek.
The stakes were cut from willows and planted in the ground to grow into new trees.
Considering the profane message scrawled on the sign marking the project, it’s obvious the vandals didn’t know what they were destroying.
It seems they thought the stakes were some kind of booby trap to prevent off-road vehicles from driving though the creek.
The message warns that the people that staked the ground could be criminally charged if someone was to injure themselves.
“It would appear that this is someone that misunderstood what this project was all about,” said Zealand.
Ironically the project sits right next to a bridge built by the Klondike Snowmobile Association to provide off-road vehicles a route over the creek.
There is no salvaging the trees that were pulled up and it’s hard to say if they’ll be able to do the project again, said Zealand.
With Katimavik shut down and the lingering frustration over the wanton destruction of the initial efforts, it’s going to be hard to co-ordinate another project, he said.
Finding funding is also an issue.
The project was made possible thanks to a $20,000 grant from Environment Canada and getting something like that again would be a long shot, said Zealand.
“In today’s economic climate the odds are not in our favour,” he said.
The project was set to be completed this fall with a study by Yukon College students on the progress of the restoration work.
That will still go forward regardless, said Zealand.
“Who knows what will come out of it.”
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