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.
Peel Watershed Draft Plan Released: The Peel Planning Commission released the “Draft Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan” this past spring, and the public comment period has now ended. The Yukon government has a further month to comment; then the Commission will release its recommended plan in the fall. Visit www.peel.planyukon.ca to download the full plan or summary brochure.
The draft Peel Watershed plan unleashed an unprecedented public response, with a strong majority of Yukon organizations and the public calling for more protection.
After repeatedly insisting that the Yukon government was not interfering in the arms-length planning process, an access to information request revealed that Premier Dennis Fentie was misleading the public. Here are excerpts from the Yukon News by James Munson and Richard Mostyn:
“Premier Dennis Fentie and one of his ministers interfered in the arm’s-length Peel Watershed Land-Use Plan despite repeated claims cabinet would stay out of it, according to internal documents obtained by the Yukon News. Pro-conservation advice intended for the planning commission was suppressed after Fentie made an “irate” call to a senior Environment official about a 22-page brief supporting ecological protection of the Peel.
The Peel should be protected, not mined, according to a shelved Environment document. After Fentie’s call, Environment officials substantially watered down the department’s submission. A vague four-page document was submitted to the Peel Watershed Planning Commission instead.
The commission, which wanted detailed feedback from several government departments on its various land-use ideas in early spring, believed it was getting unfettered technical advice.
“We’re dismayed and we’re deeply disappointed that we haven’t gotten those views and we’d really appreciate receiving them,” said commissioner Dave Loeks. “We find it very disquieting because we’ve been operating on good faith with the government,” he said.
“The Peel River Watershed is one of the last remaining pristine—yet still accessible—wilderness watersheds on the planet,” reads a deleted section from the fish and wildlife branch.
The commission’s current draft plan for the Peel is illegitimate, conservationists said after learning Fentie meddled in the process.
“The commission is supposed to be arm’s length and without political interference,” said Rod Taylor, president of the Yukon Tourism Industry. “Clearly the process is flawed,” said Taylor. “If the commission is making decisions based on missing information—that the most important department in the entire process has been unable to give because of a political line—that’s wrong.
“The process is flawed to the point where Yukoners’ best interests aren’t being protected and that’s wrong. It’s a heavily redacted version of the commission’s scenario-two option”, said Yukon Conservation Society executive director Karen Baltgailis.
Only 11 per cent of the Peel is protected. And the contentious Three Rivers region, where the mining and wilderness tourism industries have clashed for years, is theoretically open to development because all mining clams in the region will be grandfathered.
“It went from being a reasonable scenario with protection—as Environment has supported—to a draft plan where not even a single watershed is protected,” said Mike Dehn, executive director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Yukon chapter.
Draft Plan Issues
For a response and more information on the draft plan issues, see the May 5, 2009 blog post below. For a complete copy of the draft plan, go to www.peel.planyukon.ca
Help Protect This Boreal Mountain Wilderness
Read “Peel Watershed – Yukon’s wilderness a gift to the world”
A commentary by Juri Peepre, that appeared in the Yukon News, March 20.
Watch the latest Peel watershed video: “It’s Your Decision”
Posted by CPAWS-Yukon.