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Chasàn Chùa

Chasàn Chùa (McIntyre Creek) is the heart of a wildlife corridor that passes through the city of Whitehorse, in the traditional territories of the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council and Kwanlin Dün First Nation. From its headwaters on the slopes of Mount McIntyre, the creek meanders through chains of wetlands, short canyons, and forests before emptying into the Yukon River north of downtown Whitehorse. Its name means ‘Copper Creek’ in Southern Tutchone, as Yukon First Nations people often found copper nuggets in the streambeds running throughout the area.

Originally a glacial meltwater channel, Chasàn Chùa was an important travel route for First Nations Peoples, with tools found at archaeological digs along the creek suggesting that Chasàn Chùa has been an important site for at least 8,000 years! The creek and surrounding environment have adjusted to many changes over time and hold many historic and present day cultural, social, and ecological values.
Several distinct ecological communities support an abundance of species – from plants to invertebrates to mammals – in Chasàn Chùa. Some of these species are rare or at risk. Coyote, red fox, leafy thistle, black-capped chickadee, and slimy sculpin are a few of the species that reside year-round at the creek. Some species use the area as a travel route or for important life stages, including black bear, lynx, and moose. Conserving the habitats they rely on is critical for their long-term use of the area. It’s important to continue to work to protect this special place from fragmentation and degradation by development.
The City of Whitehorse, Ta’an Kwäch’än Council, Kwanlin Dün First Nation, and others have committed to establishing a protected area in Chasàn Chuà, and completing a management plan determining boundaries and level of protection. We are really grateful to everyone working hard to make protection a reality. In the past, housing development and building a busy new road that would cut through the heart of the creek have been on the table, but opposition from the public and groups like CPAWS Yukon led the City to scrap those plans. Still, pressure for road development and upgrades may come in the future, and areas of the creek need restoration.

Yukon government closed Chasàn Chùa to new mineral staking in 2023. This is good news, but it doesn’t prevent potential development within existing claims. About one-third of Chasàn Chùa is covered by claims, most of which are controlled by Gladiator Metals Corp. Mining activity on these claims could bring disturbances to the more remote parts of the creek, some of which are outside the proposed park boundaries. We’ll highlight opportunities for you to have your say in city planning and the future of Chasàn Chùa as they arise!

How you can help

CPAWS Yukon invites you to Care for the Creek. Learn about the plants, animals, and insects that rely on the Creek, and join us in speaking up to protect this special place!

Join us for a journey across Chasàn Chùa, but without the wet feet and blisters. We share all about our study on the wildlife that depend on the creek.
Learn about The Story of McIntyre Creek in our 2020 report summarizing the area’s history, values, and biodiversity!