The Spring 2010 issue of Canada’s paddling magazine, Kanawa, features the Wind River, one of the Yukon’s premiere canoeing destinations in the Three Rivers region of the Peel watershed. Author, environmental educator and guide, Charlotte Jacklein, writes about her “travels in a changing landscape,” providing a detailed trip report and notes on the geography and history of this vulnerable watershed. Jacklein draws attention to the threatened wilderness of the Wind River – even though the Yukon government has imposed a one-year moratorium on further mineral claim staking in the Peel region. The Peel Watershed Planning Commission recommended protecting 80% of the Peel watershed in its plan released late last year, but the government has yet to make a decision on the plan. Visit paddlingcanada.com for more information on Kanawa.
Chevron Owns Block of Iron Ore Leases In Snake Watershed
Yukon conservation organizations have asked mining, oil and gas corporations to voluntarily relinquish their interests in the Peel watershed, clearing the way for designating a mosaic of new protected areas and conservation lands in the Peel region, as recommended by the Peel Watershed Planning Commission.
Chevron Canada, based out of Calgary Alberta, owns 525 iron ore leases in the lower Snake watershed, an area recommended for the highest level of protection under Yukon law. The leases, known as the Crest deposit, cover a huge area of 34,000 hectares (84,000 acres) on the scenic east bank of the Snake, in a mountainous area used by Dall sheep, and within the critical winter range of the Bonnet Plume woodland caribou herd.
Crest is one of the largest undeveloped iron ore deposits in the world, but the site is 1200km from the nearest potential seaport, and close to 200km from the nearest road. By Chevron’s own estimates, it would cost $4.7 billion to build a railroad from a mine on the lower Snake River to Whitehorse. At best, the economics of the Crest deposit are questionable, and there is strong public and First Nations opposition to industrial development in the area.
Of immediate interest are the contaminated sites that Chevron has left in the Crest deposit vicinity. According to journalist Mary Walden, on the Peel watershed blogspot, “…it’s been 46 years since Chevron shut down its Snake River iron exploration program, but it’s never bothered to clean up the mess.” She goes on to report that the cost of cleaning up the Snake River site has been pegged at between $560,000 and $688,000 in a 2006 consultant’s report, but prices have risen since then. For the full story, go to http://peelwatershed.blogspot.com .
Wild Rivers of the Yukon’s Peel Watershed: A Traveller’s Guide
… is your complete source for planning a trip to the Yukon’s vast north-eastern wilderness – and learning more about the natural and cultural history of this inspiring landscape. Published in 2008 by Juri Peepre and Sarah Locke, the book is available from Yukon outdoor and bookstores (Mac’s Fireweed, Up North Adventures), Mountain Equipment Co-op (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto), and on-line from www.yukonbooks.com.
Wild Rivers is an essential companion to help you navigate the Three Rivers country (the Wind, Snake and Bonnet Plume), as well as the Peel, Hart, Ogilvie, Blackstone and Rat rivers. This well illustrated field reference will be a welcome gift for your friends or family who are thinking about a future northern canoeing or hiking trip.
The book features detailed river descriptions, maps, landscape and historic photos, tips on river travel in the Peel region, and engaging descriptions of the flora, fauna, geology, human history and conservation story. For more information, see About Our Book posted in the right margin.
To order the book directly from the authors, send a cheque or money order payable to Juri Peepre, 1575 Windermere Loop Road, Windermere, BC, V0B 2L2. Price: $24.95 + $1.19 GST + Shipping = $32.00 CDN. For more information, phone 250-688-1005, or post your comment or question in this blog.