Trappers oppose Livingstone Trail development

Trappers oppose Livingstone Trail development Trappers along the Livingstone Trail worry that a nearby mining project could harm their traplines. James Haney operates a trapline along the Livingstone Trail on the west side of the Teslin River.

Trappers along the Livingstone Trail worry that a nearby mining project could harm their traplines.

James Haney operates a trapline along the Livingstone Trail on the west side of the Teslin River. That trail is also the access road designated for a placer mine operation at Dycer Creek.

Haney is concerned that work to expand the trail and move in heavy equipment will disrupt trappers and other locals who use the trail for recreation.

“There are two or three trappers that I know who use that trail, and we trap until the season is over at the end of March,” Haney said, adding that it is also a popular trail for dog mushers and snowmobilers. He said he’s especially worried about work starting earlier in the season than the permits allow.

In 2007, the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board granted Steve Swaim of Kamloops, B.C., a permit to access his placer claims at Dycer Creek in the Big Salmon River area. The permit gives Swaim the ability to work between April and November annually for 10 years, and says to use “existing roads” to access the placer sites.

But the only existing road is the Livingstone Trail, which Haney said is only a few feet wide and would have to be graded and cleared in order to move in the heavy equipment needed for a placer camp. He also worries that the decision document doesn’t outline any requirements to consult with other users of the trail or provide any assurances about cleaning up potential messes.

“As I read it, I was never putting the finger on Mr. Swaim … but I was concerned that these permits were issued without these requirements of looking after other people. What do you do with the Teslin River, how do you cross it? How much ice do you put in? Who oversees that? What contingency plan do you have in case you break through, when you’re probably carrying thousands of gallons of fuel?” Haney said.

Swaim could not be reached for comment by press time.

(Jesse Winter)