Yukon tourism group seeks to save Parks Canada site tours

Yukon's Tourism Industry Association is looking for private operators to take over tours at Dredge No. 4 near Dawson City and the SS Klondike sternwheeler in Whitehorse.

Considers private operators for Dredge No.4 and SS Klondike

The S.S. Klondike in Whitehorse is one of the Parks Canada attractions affected by federal spending cuts. Yukon’s Tourism Industry Association has put out a request for proposals from private operators interested in taking over tours at this site and at Dredge No.4 in Dawson City. (CC)

Yukon’s Tourism Industry Association is looking for private operators to take over tours at Parks Canada attractions such as Dredge No. 4 near Dawson City and the SS Klondike sternwheeler in Whitehorse.

Neil Hartling, head of the association, said the cancellation of guided tours at the attractions by Parks Canada will deeply hurt tourism in the territory.

The association has put out its own request for proposals for the private sector to provide the tours. Hartling said it's necessary because the federal government hasn't done anything.

He said action is needed now to save the 2013 tourism season.

"A change like this is massive, not only for the government, but for any business thinking to take this on," he said. "It's a very big project, so this is a ticking time bomb, it truly is. The clock is winding down very quickly."

The Tourism Industry Association is planning a meeting next month to discuss the issue.

Yukon's MP has been criticized for not standing up for the territory on the Parks Canada cuts. Ryan Leef has said there may be an announcement before the end of February.