Peel River Watershed

The Yukon government has released its plan for the Peel River watershed area, which differs from the recommendations of the Peel River planning commission.

It had called for as much as 80 per cent of the region to be protected. 

The government's plan protects 29 per cent of the region. Existing mineral claims in those areas are still valid and can be developed.

Twenty seven per cent is open to most types of development and most of the remainder, 44 per cent, is open to limited mining. 

Yukon Environment Minister Currie Dixon says that's reasonable.

"In close to 20,000 square kilometres of the Peel Watershed region there will be protected areas, within other parts of the Peel Region we've imposed and will implement a new regime of protection in the area which will allow very limited development in the majority of the Peel region," he said.

Critics such as New Democrat MLA Kate White say the government has turned its back on Yukoners.

"They've chosen the path of confrontation and litigation as opposed to planning an economic future for the territory," she said.

First Nation leaders affected by the decision had threatened legal action if the government went its own way on the Peel.
There's no word yet if that's going to happen.

The government says the protected areas will include portions of the Peel, Hart, Wind, Bonnet Plume and Snake Rivers.