The push is on to make McIntyre Creek a park

Frequented by moose, birds, skiers and, more recently, encroaching development -- McIntyre Creek is the perfect place for an official park, say proponents.

Frequented by moose, birds, skiers and, more recently, encroaching development—McIntyre Creek is the perfect place for an official park, say proponents.

“When we’re looking at paying $16 a gallon for gas, it’s going to be a long ways going out to places like Kusawa to enjoy what we can enjoy in our backyard,” said Dorothy Bradley, founder of Friends of McIntyre Creek.

Both Edmonton and Calgary have large, centralized parklands—although theirs have come at a much higher price, said Bradley.

The two Alberta cities used to allow near-unrestricted riverside development. Now, desperate for parkland, the municipalities are buying up former residential lots and grooming them back into parkland.

The Whitehorse area to be set aside is roughly equal to the area bounded by Yukon College, Copper Ridge and the Robert Campbell bridge.

While it is still “early to say,” the park could be up to 30 square kilometres, said John Carney, a board member with the Yukon Fish and Game Association.

The park would encircle the Yukon Electrical Co. Ltd. power station and the landfill. About one-third of the proposed park is already set aside under a lease to the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club.

There’s no “push” to develop the area, but there are plans, said Bradley.

McIntyre Creek is almost “pinched shut” by Raven’s Ridge Road and Fish Lake Road, said Yukon Conservation Society executive director Karen Baltgailis in a presentation given in October, 2007.

The Raven’s Ridge housing development access road was built almost adjacent to the creek, without any treed buffer, forcing nearby bird populations to go “way down,” said Bradley.

The Whistle Bend subdivision has plans for a road running straight to the Kopper King—subsequently passing through the creek wetlands.

“Why a road through there?” said Bradley. “It looks very suspicious to me.”

It’s time that legislators started appreciating the “economic” value of McIntyre Creek, wrote Liberal MLA Don Inverarity in a release issued last Wednesday.

The creek is a critical base for ecotourism activities, such as hiking, fishing, orienteering, skiing and birdwatching, he wrote.

Rock climbers, the Yukon Orienteering Association, the Klondike Snowmobile Association and the Yukon Fish and Game Association have all tacked their support onto the plan.

The Kwanlin Dun First Nation Elders Council unanimously passed a resolution to protect the creek.

Environment Minister Elaine Taylor supported the park, but maintained awarding park status was a municipal responsibility.

“It’s before the city of Whitehorse,” she told the legislature on Tuesday.

“All we know is what’s been in the papers; we haven’t been approached directly,” said city manager Dennis Shewfelt.

From a land-transfer standpoint, city management of the park would pose a number of legal obstacles, said Shewfelt.

Most of the proposed area is zoned as territorial greenspace: land that would need to be transferred to municipal control.

Staffing and monitoring the park would be well beyond the realm of city resources, said Shewfelt.

The creek is one of only two east/west wildlife corridors through the city. Each year, moose, coyotes, beaver, otter, mink and muskrat migrate along McIntyre Creek.

A salmon spawning stream, it is also home to rainbow trout, grayling and many bird species.

During the winter, McIntyre Marsh hosts some of the Yukon’s only open water—making it a hot spot for birds.

“Right now, this is the place to go for spring birds,” said Bruce Bennett, the wildlife viewing biologist with Environment Yukon.

Contact Tristin Hopper at

tristinh@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Dawson City RCMP are reporting a break and enter on Feb. 25 after two masked men entered a residence, assaulted a man inside with a weapon and departed. (Black Press file)
Two men arrested after Dawson City home invasion

Dawson City RCMP are reporting a break and enter on Feb. 25.… Continue reading

Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters at a news conference in Whitehorse on Dec. 21, 2017. New ATIPP laws are coming into effect April 1. (Chris Windeyer/Yukon News file)
New access to information laws will take effect April 1

“Our government remains committed to government openness and accountability.”

City council meeting in Whitehorse on Feb. 8. At Whitehorse city council’s March 1 meeting, members were presented with a bylaw that would repeal 10 bylaws deemed to be redundant or out of date. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Out with the old

Council considers repealing outdated bylaws

A bobcat is used to help clear snow in downtown Whitehorse on Nov. 4. According to Environment Canada, the Yukon has experienced record-breaking precipitation this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon will have “delayed spring” after heavy winter snowfall

After record levels of precipitation, cold spring will delay melt

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted online. (Black Press file)
Yukon youth being extorted online

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted on… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

Most Read