Yukon Land-use Plan for Peel Watershed Sets Standard for Conservation and Reconciliation - Gateway Gazette

Yukon Land-use Plan for Peel Watershed Sets Standard for Conservation and Reconciliation

By Contributor

Sep 14
Photo: Tayu Hayward

AUG. 22, 2019

Today, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) celebrates the formal protection of 83 per cent of Yukon Territory’s Peel watershed.

Y2Y stands with the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, Gwich’in Tribal Council and Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, as well as CPAWS-Yukon, Yukon Conservation Society and the Yukon Government in marking this momentous day.

“The land-use plan signed today will be a shining example for conservation for decades to come,” says Candace Batycki, Y2Y’s B.C. and Yukon program director.

“It took so much courage, perseverance, and cooperation to get to this outcome. This is a great day for nature, for people, for wildlife, and for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada. We extend our deepest gratitude and heart-felt congratulations to all the parties.”

At more than 67,000 square kilometres, the Peel is a northern wilderness rich in biodiversity, where caribou, grizzlies and wolves still thrive. For the First Nations who call it home, protecting the Peel means preserving their history, their cultural identity and their future as well.

It is also the northern anchor of the 3,200-kilometre-long Yellowstone to Yukon region. The Peel is important as one of Canada’s largest roadless areas, a major water supply, source of wildlife habitat and area of key cultural significance for First Nations communities. Y2Y has long supported local partners who lead the way in the decades-long campaign for permanent protection.

“As Canada strives to meet its international promise to protect 17 per cent of terrestrial lands by 2020 conservation successes like this give us all hope,” says Jodi Hilty, Y2Y’s president and chief scientist.

“It is a great feeling to know that a major portion of the northern anchor of Yellowstone to Yukon will be protected forever.”

Batycki says this agreement with Indigenous peoples sets a standard for modern-day conservation.

“Today’s announcement shows Yukon and Canada’s commitment to both conservation and reconciliation. It has not been an easy road. In the end, this announcement is the result of Indigenous leadership, rooted unwavering in history, culture and place. We are proud to have supported them.”

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