Mining boom puts 'stunning' Yukon watershed at risk

The Star‘s Paul Watson reported Monday on a brewing conflict between mining companies and conservationists over a massive untouched wilderness in the central Yukon. The area is thought to be rich with iron ore, gold and zinc as well as oil and gas. But First Nations and environmentalists consider it too precious, and fragile, for mass development.

From the Star:

The Peel watershed is drained by seven major rivers that run untamed through mountain ranges and lush valleys where nature has been left largely to her own since the dawn of time.

For some 67,000 stunning square kilometres, there are no parks or marked trails, no campgrounds or RV hookups, only isolated hunting camps, and the wild plants and animals that live in one of Canada’s most diverse ecosystems.

Human visitors number only in the hundreds each year, mainly paddlers and hunters who venture into the remote region in canoes or on horseback and float planes.

A deal to divide the watershed, preserving huge swaths while opening some to exploration, was struck last year. However, according to Watson, the territorial government has since backtracked, leaving open the possibility of much wider-scale exploitation.

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