Tourism Minister Mike Nixon says roads into wilderness are not just good for miners, they’re good for tourism business, too.
“People want access into regions like the Peel, they want access into regions like Kluane National Park, because not everybody can hike in there, not everybody wants to ride a canoe down a river,” he told CBC reporter Max Leighton in an interview last week.
“There’s opportunity for people that are already in that region. There could be opportunity for some of the outfitters. There could be opportunity for some of the people that are providing tours down there. Maybe now they make $20,000 a year doing tours but providing access then they can be $200,000 a year. We don’t know, but these are some of the opportunities we need to look at.”
But the Yukon government’s new plan for the Peel does not allow for public roads in the wilderness areas.
In the 71 per cent of the watershed covered by protected and restricted use wilderness areas, roads may only be built when needed for resource extraction, may not be open to the public, and must be reclaimed once no longer in use.
Nixon later tweeted that his comments were not intended to refer specifically to the Peel.
“My comments about roads providing access for tourism were meant to refer to Yukon in general,” he posted on Twitter.