The Yukon government has done an about-face on the fate of the Ross River suspension bridge.

After government officials repeatedly said the 70-year-old foot bridge was unsalvageable and must be torn down because of safety concerns, Premier Darrell Pasloski now says the government will issue a request for proposals to stabilize it.

The bridge is 319 metres long from anchorage to anchorage, with the bridge deck spanning 192 metres, making it the longest single-span suspension footbridge in Canada and the U.S. It was built by the American military as part of the Second World War CANOL project.

Residents of Ross River have been camped out on the ice near the bridge since mid-March to prevent contractors from beginning demolition work.

"As a community we came together and their voice was heard and us leaders took their voice and echoed that," said Ross River Dena Chief Brian Ladue.

Ladue said he is glad the Yukon government recognized that Ross River has unsurrendered aboriginal rights and title.

"Decisions regarding anything to do with our land, we should be in the room, at the same table, making decisions in regard to what happens in our land," he said.

"I think they got that quite clearly when they came down to the river, the guys to do the demolition, and we said we're not going to let them on the ice."

Ladue says details of the repairs will now be worked out.