30 year campaign culminates in signing of Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan

30 year campaign culminates in signing of Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan

Mayo, Yukon – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – Yukon Chapter (CPAWS Yukon) and the Yukon Conservation Society (YCS) are excited for the signing of the Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan, and congratulate the Yukon Government, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation and the Gwich’in Tribal Council, representing the Gwich’in Nations of the Northwest Territories on this momentous occasion. 

This historic day is the culmination of a 30 year campaign highlighting the cultural and ecological value of the Peel Watershed by CPAWS Yukon and YCS. Together with Yukon First Nations, we fought for the public’s voices to be heard in a meaningful manner ending with a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court of Canada to redo public consultations on the Final Recommended Plan. In 2018, those final consultations produced close to 3000 responses from members of the public and saw 96.4% of respondents call for at least the Final Recommended Plan to be implemented. Those voices were finally heard. 

The planning region spans 68,000 km2, of which 55% will be permanently protected and count towards Canada’s commitment to Target 1 of the 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets. 25% will be given interim protection to be reviewed in 10 years; 3% given interim protection to protect boreal caribou, listed as threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act; and only 17% open to various levels of development. In total, 55,858 km2 will be protected in the Peel Watershed region, roughly the size of Nova Scotia. 

This plan also includes joint implementation between First Nations and the Yukon Government on the entire planning region. This provides all signatories equal decision making power, and will require unanimous agreement before any changes to the plan can be made. 

“For nearly three decades, CPAWS Yukon and the Yukon Conservation Society have worked hard to help people around the world fall in love with the peel. Our goal has always been to support the First Nations in their efforts to protect this iconic landscape. Today we achieved that goal.” – Chris Rider, Executive Director of CPAWS Yukon

“Whole ecosystem conservation opportunities are few and far between. The campaign to protect the Peel represents an incredible chance to safeguard our land. Over 55,000 km2 of new protected area announced today is a boon for conservation efforts and is an example of conservation done right.” – Dr. Mike Walton, Executive Director of the Yukon Conservation Society

The significance of the Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan will continue beyond just the planning area. The focus on conserving spaces with ecological and cultural values and having joint decision-making between First Nations and Yukon Government sets an important benchmark for future land use plans in the Yukon. 



Davon Callander
Communications and Outreach Manager, Yukon Conservation Society
outreach@yukonconservation.org | 867 689 5071

Adil Darvesh
Communications Coordinator, CPAWS Yukon 
adarvesh@cpawsyukon.org | 867-393-8080 x9