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


Just Posted

John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file
Catherine Elliott, Yukon acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, has announced two new COVID-19 cases in the Yukon.
Two new COVID-19 cases confirmed, Porter Creek Secondary prom cancelled

Graduating students are encouraged to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms

Jim Elliot/Yukon News
Ross and Cindy Smith are finding more reason to smile as the floodwaters that almost reached their farm house were beginning to recede on June 8.
Farms on South Klondike Highway experience severe flooding

The nearest body of water is a lake almost three kilometres away


Wyatt’s World for June 11, 2021.… Continue reading

Whitehorse courthouse interior on April 6, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
CYFN launches pilot program for community impact statements

First Nations will receive support developing statements after major crimes

Israr Ahmed speaks at a vigil at the Whitehorse Mosque to honour the Muslim family killed in London, Ont. on June 10. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Yukoners gather to honour Muslim family killed in London

Like many communities across the country, Yukoners came together to honour the Muslim family murdered in London Ontario

The RCMP Critical Incident Program will be training in Watson Lake from June 14-16. Mike Thomas/Yukon News
RCMP will conduct three days of training in Watson Lake

Lakeview Apartment in Watson Lake will be used for RCMP training

John Tonin/Yukon News Squash players duke it out during Yukon Open tournament action at Better Bodies on June 5.
Four division titles earned at squash Yukon Open

The territory’s squash talent was on full display at the 2021 Yukon Open

Runners leave the start line of the 2014 Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay Skagway. The 2021 race will start at checkpoint six and remain in the Yukon only. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News)
Klondike Road Relay returns to in-person after a virtual year

A modified, in-person Klondike Road Relay will be open to Yukoners

John Tonin/Yukon News Rang Pillai speaks at the Great Yukon Summer press conference on May 27.
‘The sooner the better’: Operators react to Great Yukon Summer campaign

The Great Yukon Summer campaign was announced May 27 and begins June 4

Mayor Dan Curtis stands in front of Minister Richard Mostyn and MP Larry Bagnell during an infastructure announcement made outside Jack Hulland Elementary School in Whitehorse on June 2. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Safety improvements planned for Whitehorse school zones

Enhanced pedestrian crosses are planned to make walking to school safer

2020 Haines Junction graduates line up for a photo on May 27, 2020 as part of a celebration parade through the village. While the St. Elias Community School is able to host an outdoor grad ceremony for 2021 grads this year, it will also host a parade and group photo as it did last year. (Marty Samis/Submitted)
Ceremonies and parades all part of 2021 grad

2021 sees old traditions return with some 2020 events adopted

A rendering of the proposed new city hall/services building and transit hub. (City of Whitehorse/submitted)
New city hall could cost $24.7 million

Council will be presented with latest plans June 7

Most Read