Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Whitehorse Star

A POPULAR DESTINATION – The Wolf Creek Campground was one of many that Yukoners flocked to Friday and over the weekend to help mark the end of a gruelling winter.

Campgrounds have never opened earlier

Many campgrounds around the territory opened Friday morning, which was the earliest-ever opening.

By Tim Giilck on May 3, 2021

Many campgrounds around the territory opened Friday morning, which was the earliest-ever opening.

That created some extra work for Department of Environment workers, along with a long and snowier-than-usual winter.

Helpfully, two weeks of spectacular spring weather helped reduce the snowpack just in time for the bulk of the work – although it’s likely the workers weren’t too happy to see the light snowfall last Thursday.

Scott Cameron, a parks information officer, said that day the snow did provide some challenges. Its continuing to linger in some campgrounds led to only 20 being in a condition to open.

“It was quite a challenge,” Cameron said.

The other 22 will come online in weeks to come as the weather improves.

Officials were “really excited” to see how things would go over the past weekend, Cameron said.

“The early opening was something called for in the plans introduced for Yukon Parks Strategy last fall. We are curious and excited to see how this works.”

“Territorial parks and campgrounds will still have all necessary measures in place to ensure safe use of our shared spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic,” former Environment minister Pauline Frost said in a March statement.

“This includes restricting those in transit to or from Alaska and not allowing self-isolation in our government campgrounds.”

The campgrounds will operate under the same COVID-19 regulations as last year. Social distancing, etc., are all expected.

Cameron laughed a little when he was asked about the popularity of camping in the Yukon.

“It’s about 11 out of 10,” he noted.

Campgrounds around Whitehorse are the most popular, as most people know, Cameron said.

As you head further into the territory away from the city, options improve and fewer people are encountered.

Cameron said Yukon Parks provides a wealth of experiences for people looking beyond standard drive-in camping, which is the most popular type.

Erin Loxam, a communications analyst for the department, answered a few of the pressing questions Yukoners might have had about camping this year.

She said camping fees are not rising this year, although they are slated to increase considerably in the next two years.

Fees for one night remain at $12. A season’s permit is $50.

By 2023, overnight fees will rise to $20 a night. A season’s permit will triple to $200.

Cameron said those increases were part of the consultation process leading to the Yukon Parks Strategy introduced last fall.

By and large, respondents to the consultation were in favour of moderate increases to camping fees, he said.

Current fees are some of the lowest in North America, he said.

Particularly popular are the annual camping permits. That helps keep the incidences down of people attempting to camp for free.

All campers are to self-register if no staff are available, and pay their fees at the self-registry site. Permits must be displayed at the campsite entrance.

Loxam said she didn’t have numbers available as to how much of a problem campers who don’t pay their fees are.

“Currently, there is no online registration system available except for back-country camping in Tombstone Territorial Park. One is scheduled to be introduced by 2023.”

Parks scheduled to open last Friday included Congdon Creek (not including the tent enclosure), Conrad, Dezadeash Lake, Five Mile Lake, Lake Creek and Snag Junction, Klondike River, Kusawa, Marsh Lake, Million Dollar Falls, Pine Lake, Squanga Lake, Takhini River, Teslin Lake, Tombstone, Twin Lakes, Watson Lake, and Wolf Creek.

Comments (5)

Up 0 Down 0

lol on May 9, 2021 at 12:42 am

The govt workers need their office spaces opened up. Can they write this off their taxes? Asking for a friend.

Up 2 Down 0

Yukon star on May 4, 2021 at 10:19 pm

Free camping just have to find them spots.

Up 2 Down 1

Casa loma on May 4, 2021 at 5:23 pm

A lot of free camping around the Yukon if like roughing it out. Them fees are a scam.

Up 18 Down 3

Mr Facts on May 3, 2021 at 5:56 pm

It's a sad state of affairs when YTG pulls in more money annually from campground fees then they do from Gold royalties. But giving our wealth away to outside interests seems to be the norm in the Yukon nowadays. "Business as usual"

Up 13 Down 7

Campgrounds have been open earlier on May 3, 2021 at 5:08 pm

Oh, you just mean government. Glad the private sector that works to have places open sooner is ousted.

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