High Stakes

Only about 13 percent of the Yukon’s land area is off-limits to mining, and any adult can stake a claim. As prospectors rush to exploit the sparsely populated landscape, conservationists and First Nations peoples warn of far-reaching consequences for wildlife and habitats, including the pristine Peel watershed.

Battle Over Wilderness Zoning

Sprawling over 26,000 square miles, the Peel watershed is one of the largest wild areas remaining in North America. A 2011 zoning plan (below right) would have maintained the area’s wilderness character, but since then the Yukon government has proposed a plan more favorable to industrial development.

Martin Gamache, NGM Staff. Sources: Geomatics Yukon; Peel Watershed Planning Commission; Yukon Land Use Planning Council