CPAWS Yukon Board


Erik Val

Erik has worked for Inuit and First Nations organizations and the federal and territorial governments in Ontario, Northern Quebec, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon.  With degrees in biogeography and resource management, Erik has undertaken community based research in Inuit land use, offshore fisheries/petroleum management and socio-economic impact assessment.

He has worked for Parks Canada in various positions including Chief of Socio-Economic Research (Ontario) and Superintendent of Nahanni National Park Reserve. He has also worked for the Yukon Government as the Director of the Yukon Protected Areas Strategy (YPAS) Secretariat and as the Director of Yukon Parks, where he oversaw the operation of Yukon campgrounds and guided the implementation of park management plans for Tombstone and Fishing Branch Territorial Parks until he retired in 2011.

Karen McKenna
Vice President

As a consulting geographer and ecologist for more than 30 years, Karen has had the opportunity to work in and appreciate many wild parts of the territory. When not working, Karen has explored the Yukon backcountry on skis, with dogs, hiking and paddling with family and friends. Understanding soils and ecosystems has led her to realize that clean water, air, soil, healthy wildlife populations and happy healthy people are interrelated and are the Yukon’s most valuable resources. Protecting these resources will provide the basis of an ecologically sustainable economy for the Yukon.

Sandy Johnston

Having spent the last 40 years living, working and exploring the Yukon, Sandy has a deep passion for the land, water and air and have a good understanding of the challenges of conserving them. He was raised in Peterborough, Ontario and from an early age, ventured out on the land with his grandfather, parents and two sisters in their vintage Peterborough cedar strip canoes.   As a teenager, his summers were spent canoeing the backwoods of Ontario and Quebec guiding trips in Algonquin and La Verendrye parks. 

In 1972, he and his partner Lois moved North and made Yukon their home, eventually raising two boys. Sandy's work as a biologist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada from 1972 until 2010 carried him to all corners of the Yukon, including projects along the north coast of the Yukon, and in the Yukon, Alsek, Tatshenshini, Taku, and Stikine watersheds. He was deeply involved in the twenty-year Canada-US negotiations leading to the Pacific Salmon Treaty and Yukon Salmon Agreement. His work also gave him numerous opportunities to work with First Nations and implement the UFA.

Gayle Corry

Gayle has lived in the Yukon for 20 years and joined the board as Treasurer in January 2016.  She grew up in the Eastern Townships southeast of Montreal and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from Concordia University and a Diploma in Public Accountancy from McGill University.  She has the utmost appreciation for Yukon’s wilderness and believes very strongly in sustainable development.  She thoroughly enjoys outdoor pursuits such as hiking, biking, skiing and running.  Gayle has passed on her appreciation for the environment to her two daughters who were born and raised in the Yukon.  She is keen to be involved in CPAWS to ensure that Yukon’s wilderness is preserved for future generations.

Gayle is a chartered accountant and has worked for Yukon College since October 2010 and for the Council of Yukon First Nations from 2002 to 2010 as the Director of Finance and Administration.

Bruce Downie

Bruce has a forty year working relationship with the Yukon as well as the rest of arctic Canada but is a relatively recent resident, having come to live here after returning from living and working in Tanzania in 2006.  His professional work has focused on parks, conservation, education and international development. Bruce is also a founding director of the Kesho Trust, a Canadian charitable organization engaged in conservation and community development with a current focus in Eastern and Southern Africa.

As a long time member of CPAWS Bruce has previously served on the executive of the BC chapter as well as on the national board.  He is pleased to be engaged once again and able to contribute to the conservation movement in Yukon.

Joel Luet

Joel has been living in the Yukon for 20 years, a CPAWS board member since 2006 and committed environmentalist for most of his life. He has had the good fortune to travel in some of the wild places of Canada and the Yukon and knows in his head, heart and gut that we need to keep as much of the remaining wild areas as possible as they are for the future of the planet.