Parks Canada cuts will sting: TIA

A guided tour is no substitute for a sign, says Linda Rausch of Bellevue, Nebraska. Rausch and her husband, Bob, stopped at the S.S.

A guided tour is no substitute for a sign, says Linda Rausch of Bellevue, Nebraska.

Rausch and her husband, Bob, stopped at the S.S. Klondike yesterday, during a stop in Whitehorse, while on their way to Alaska.

They hadn’t toured the national historic site, but Rausch said services are important. “[You] can’t read everything in a book,” she said.

But cuts to Parks Canada in the Yukon may mean more tourists must rely on books. This will be the last summer for guided tours of the sternwheeler and the Klondike’s Dredge Number 4, as Parks Canada sheds 30 of its 110 jobs in the territory.

Cutbacks will also end winter camping at Kathleen Lake and curtail search and rescue operations in Kluane National Park.

And cuts may hamper the work of archivists and the maintenance of historical artifacts, said Blake Rogers, executive director of the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon.

The territory’s “story is going to be impacted if you don’t have all the facts,” he said.

The cuts come as a surprise, given previous spending decisions. In 2009, Parks Canada gave $1.25 million to repair and stabilize structural components of the dredge.

“Why was this money invested in the first place?” asked Rogers at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Sylvia Buckhard of Claim 33 Gold Panning in Dawson City echoed his thoughts. Many visitors to Claim 33 tour the dredge before or after stopping there, and Buckhard highly recommends the site.

Visitors can’t get a sense of the dredge just by looking at it, she said. She’s “mystified” about why the government would stop funding two of the Yukon’s main tourism sites.

If the tours stop, she says the investment in the site will have “basically been a huge waste of money.” Buckhard isn’t sure how the cuts will impact her business, but is confident they will.

Many of the cuts won’t be felt until next summer. Rogers expressed concern about how the cuts will impact visitor safety and the Yukon’s economy in the long term. The territory’s three national parks and five national historical sites generated almost $6.9 million in direct revenue in 2009. In the same year, they contributed $10.2 million to the Yukon’s economy.

The cuts are especially concerning given forecasts of a 40 per cent downturn in mining exploration from last year, said Rogers.

He stressed the importance of tourism in diversifying the territory’s economy. Last year was a “banner year for mining,” he said. Since that won’t be true every year, year-round tourism provides a way to stabilize the economy, said Rogers.

The government’s response to these concerns has been slow. The tourism association sent a letter to MP Ryan Leef on May 14. On May 22 they met to discuss the cuts and were supposed to meet again on June 7. That meeting has not yet been rescheduled.

Contact Meagan Gillmore at

mgillmore@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, pictured at a press conference in October, announced three new cases of COVID-19 on Nov. 20 as well as a new public exposure notice. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New COVID-19 cases, public exposure notice announced

The new cases have all been linked to previous cases

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read