Yukon Government rejects ATAC’s proposed road in Beaver River Watershed

Whitehorse, Yukon – Last week, the Government of Yukon advised ATAC Resources Ltd’s that it has rejected their proposed 65 km exploration road that would cut through the Beaver River Watershed. This comes after years of opposition from citizens of the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, Yukoners, and CPAWS Yukon together with other conservation organizations including the Yukon Conservation Society and the Wildlife Conservation Society. 

Slated to be built just below the Peel Watershed, the proposed route cuts through habitat for moose, grizzly bears, salmon, and scores of other wildlife. The science of road ecology clearly shows these species will be harmed by things like habitat loss, road avoidance, and overhunting.

One main condition of the road application was to create a sub-regional land use plan for the Beaver River Watershed. This process gave Na-Cho Nyäk Dun citizens and Yukoners the opportunity to address concerns they had with the road. Many pointed to the negative impact that this road would have on a landscape that is so important for hunting, trapping, recreation, and wildlife habitat. ATAC attempted to bypass this process by submitting a separate application outside of this sub-regional plan, which has been rejected by the Government. 

Over the past few years, CPAWS Yukon has organized on-the-land river trips through the Beaver River Watershed with Na-Cho Nyäk Dun citizens to experience, document and share the watershed with others, and provide youth with the confidence and skills to be on the land. These trips helped highlight the cultural importance of places like the Beaver River Watershed and helped equip youth with a better understanding of the area.

As mineral development is being reshaped in the territory, through the Mineral Development Strategy, it is encouraging to see the Government of Yukon take the necessary steps to ensure that citizens have a meaningful say in developments, and that projects will have to meet high standards to be accepted.

“The ATAC road could have opened up the unspoiled Beaver River Watershed to a web of mining roads and development. This decision makes it possible to develop a land use plan for the Beaver River Watershed that’s right for the region, respects the connections people have to it, and safeguards land and water for wildlife.” said Randi Newton, Conservation Manager with CPAWS Yukon. 


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

For more information visit cpawsyukon.org/beaver-river-watershed/