Ta’an Kwach’an Council restores dump site

The old Range Road dump site looks a lot different than it did seven years ago, thanks to a cleanup by the Ta'an Kwach'an Council.

The old Range Road dump site looks a lot different than it did seven years ago, thanks to a cleanup by the Ta’an Kwach’an Council.

Yesterday, the council unveiled three interpretive panels at the site, detailing its historical use, the cleanup effort, and its importance for fish and wildlife.

The panels sit on top of a sandy plateau, with steep cliffs dropping to the Yukon River on one side and McIntyre Creek on the other. Grasses, trees and wildflowers cover the rich landscape.

“It’s one of the most beautiful places in Whitehorse,” said Emmie Fairclough, manager of Lands, Resources, and Heritage for the council. “You’ve got river traffic here, you’ve got wildlife crossing, it’s just a gorgeous place.”

An immature bald eagle soared over the heads of the small crowd who gathered for the unveiling.

Some clues to the site’s dirty past remain: an old abandoned car, some scrap metal and rusted tin cans poking out through the dirt. But the transformation has been dramatic.

Dumping in the area began in the 1940s. A lot of waste was dropped over the edge of the cliffs and ended up in the river.

In 1975, the site was closed because of its proximity to the water and dumping moved to the Whitehorse landfill site that exists today.

The Ta’an Kwach’an Council began the cleanup effort in 2005.

“Our goal of the project was to get rid of the surface garbage and make sure there was no toxic waste getting into McIntyre Creek,” said Fairclough.

Seven years ago, old cars, scrap metal, and barrels containing unknown substances littered the landscape. At low water levels, you could see the thousands of tires scattered along the river bed.

“You could look down and see tires everywhere,” said Fairclough.

After removing the surface garbage, including 16 tonnes of scrap metal and 16 dump trucks full of tires, the area was covered with half a metre of soil and seeded with native plant species to encourage revegetation.

The goal was to “effect a change in people’s minds from viewing it as a dump site to a green space within the community that has been restored and can be used,” said Ben Snow with Environmental Dynamics Inc., which partnered with the council on the project.

The area was historically important to both the Ta’an Kwach’an and the Kwanlin Dun people.

McIntyre Creek is a documented chinook salmon spawning and rearing stream, Snow said.

The cleanup crews found the remnants of an old cabin and fish camp site on the cliffs below the old dump where the creek flows into the Yukon River.

“The Ta’an Kwach’an have lived here for a really long time, they’ve lived here all their lives, this is their home,” said Fairclough. “And their goal is to take care of their traditional territory and this is one of their projects, cleaning up. They want to clean it up and keep it for their grandchildren.”

The cleanup effort cost over a million dollars, Fairclough estimated.

Most of that came from the Northern Strategy Trust Fund. The Yukon River Panel Restoration and Enhancement Fund paid for the interpretive panels.

The City of Whitehorse waived the dumping fees to move the junk to the existing landfill, and helped with the recycling of some materials.

The council hopes that the area will be officially designated as a park or recreation site, said Fairclough.

But for now, she hopes that people will come out and use the site, read the interpretive panels, sit and watch the stars or the northern lights, or wait to see the wildlife go by.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at


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

Just Posted


Wyatt’s World for Nov. 27, 2020

Premier Sandy Silver during a live update on the COVID-19 situation at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 27. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Total Yukon COVID case count increased to 42 cases

Premier urges patience after national meeting on vaccine roll-out

Benjamin Poudou, Mount MacIntyre’s ski club manager, poses for a photo in the club’s ski rental area on Nov. 16. The club has sold around 1,850 passes already this year, compared to 1067 passes on Oct. 31 last year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Early season ski pass sales up as Yukoners prepare for pandemic winter

Season passe sales at Mount McIntyre for cross-country skiing are up by around 60 per cent this year

The City of Whitehorse will be spending $655,000 to upgrade the waste heat recovery system at the Canada Games Centre. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New waste heat recovery system coming to the CGC

Council approves $655,000 project

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

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

Most Read