Whitehorse Daily Star

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Campgrounds popular amid COVID-19 restrictions

It’s no secret the territorial campgrounds and parks have been busy and full for the most part since opening June 4, particularly those within two hours of Whitehorse.

By Chuck Tobin on June 29, 2020

It’s no secret the territorial campgrounds and parks have been busy and full for the most part since opening June 4, particularly those within two hours of Whitehorse.

Information officer Scott Cameron of Environment Yukon said this morning campgrounds close to Whitehorse are typically quite busy on weekends during the summer.

Since opening, park staff are reporting campgrounds are seeing a lot of use during the week as well, he said.

While it’s tough to quantify the reason, he said, it seems reasonable that the increase in use during the week is linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions.

Yukoners generally like to get out and enjoy the outdoors, but it seems now there is even more interest in getting out and enjoying the outdoors and open spaces, he said.

Cameron said they’ve heard reports of what’s referred to as drag-and-drop – the practice of setting up a tent or camper during the week to hold a campground site but not being there until the weekend.

Under regulation, campers cannot leave their camp site vacant for more than 24 hours, he explained.

He said it’s also against regulations to register and hold a campsite for others.

Park staff and park officers on patrol do monitor activity at campgrounds but it can be difficult when you consider there are 42 parks and campgrounds with 1,000 campsites, he said.

Cameron said the park’s branch welcomes assistance from other campers who see anything untoward happening at campgrounds. They can call 867-456-3974 if they have concerns, he said.

Cameron emphasized campground use is not just for Yukoners but rather anyone who has travelled into the Yukon and is legally permitted to be here.

Residents may have family who are visiting from outside the Yukon but have completed the required 14-day isolation, he pointed out.

He reiterated campgrounds are open to anybody who is legally permitted to be there.

Just because a vehicle has a licence plate from outside the territory does not mean the occupants are there illegally, he emphasized.

“If you’ve met the conditions for entry into the Yukon, then you are welcome to use the territorial parks and campgrounds.”

Cameron said visitors, however, are not permitted to complete their 14 days of self-isolation at campgrounds.

Those travelling through the territory to or from Alaska are told upon entry to the Yukon they have 24 hours to travel across the territory, and they’re not allowed to stop at campgrounds, he said.

Once the Yukon-B.C. border is opened to B.C. residents on Wednesday, Canada Day, visiting B.C. residents will no longer be required to self- isolate and are welcome to use the parks and campground facilities, he said.

Cameron said they want to emphasize the parks are there for Yukoners and people who have met the entry conditions.

Comments (8)

Up 1 Down 0

One One-Lesser-Voice on Jul 7, 2020 at 12:02 pm

At Wolf Creek there seems to be only 2 sites available daily.
Meanwhile some people go home during the week and return on the weekend; it seems unfair to let people tie up campsites they are usually not using.

Up 0 Down 0

Jim on Jul 5, 2020 at 6:22 pm

This article just seems to make excuses why the campgrounds are overcrowded. I don’t believe it’s the drag and drop so much as it is people who are working from home who can pick the nice days to go camping. The first day the campgrounds opened there was a lineup before 7am. There are only half a dozen or so campgrounds within a couple hours of Whitehorse, so if parks cannot patrol to keep drop and drag under control, maybe they are the ones working from home.

Up 12 Down 5

Matthew Sills on Jul 2, 2020 at 4:53 pm

Here’s what will certainly be an unpopular opinion. Start charging on a per night basis ( nominal amount ) for seniors and regular season pass holders, and have a two tiered nightly charge for residents vs non residents. A small disincentive to drag and drop, but still enforce the 24 hour rule.
Also it would be interesting to know the budget for the “ free firewood” that is so liberally burned at our campgrounds, and if there could be some kind of cost recovery as it is often abused.

Up 16 Down 4

Thehammer on Jul 1, 2020 at 6:24 pm

Social distancing is not happening in the campgrounds. Quite a few look like they are here to stay. They are living in the Tagish Campground.

Up 22 Down 7

My Opinion on Jul 1, 2020 at 12:50 pm

Let's get the people back to work and solve the problem. This is what happens when people are paid to stay home or so called work from home. Maybe they are working from the campground. Haha.

Up 13 Down 3

Bingo on Jun 30, 2020 at 5:25 pm

Perhaps a camp host for all campgrounds within 2 hrs, get your site report back to the host and pray, pray your buds get there in time.

Up 31 Down 13

Sheepchaser on Jun 30, 2020 at 11:12 am

Would be nice to see more detailed planning for monitoring the activities of Americans transiting along the Alaska Highway. Some have proven unable to resist stopping at a restaurant, hiking trail or camping illegally in residential areas during their 24 hour window. The European Union has closed its borders to Americans. We should be wise enough and bold enough to do the same. Canadians must be protected from the widespread delusion and entitlement that Americans celebrate. It is no longer just a regrettable political environment, but a break with reality that will have severe consequences. The Canadian economy will not escape the looming collapse of the era of American domination. Let’s not sacrifice Canadian lives keeping up the ghost of a status quo that is already long gone.

Up 37 Down 3

Boyd Campbell on Jun 29, 2020 at 4:49 pm

For the residents who continue to abuse the regulations you can expect the following. There won't be any difference between BC, Ontario and Yukon. It will go to reserve camping where we are all sitting beside the screen at 6:00 AM counting down the seconds to push enter. The only other option will be lottery and we all know how popular that will be. The increase in camping sites will never keep up to the surging population. Play by the rules is the only viable option.

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