North

$10K gets grizzly lovers a week at Yukon retreat

Got a thing for grizzlies? You can soon get your fix of the bears by spending $10,000 for a week's stay at an exclusive lodge in the Ni'innlii Njik Ecological Reserve in northern Yukon.

Got a thing for grizzlies? You can soon get your fix of the bears by spending $10,000 for a week's stay at an exclusive lodge in northern Yukon.

The Vuntut Gwich'in First Nationhas partnered with the Yukon government and a private contractor to operatethenew grizzly bear-viewing lodge in the Ni'innlii Njik Ecological Reserve, near Old Crow.

Phil Timpany, a longtime guide and bear researcher, will operate the small lodge at the Fishing Branch River,in conjunction with the Vuntut Gwich'in's economic development corporation.

Premier and Environment Minister Dennis Fentie says the lodge, set to open in September, is the kind of public private venture he wants to encourage.

"This initiative will also be a model on how communities and local governments can protect the environment, promote tourism and ecological awareness, and deliver economic opportunities for communities."

Vuntut Gwich'in chief Joe Linklater says the reserve is rich in salmon and wildlife thanks to hot springs that keep the river open year round.

He says the lodge will never house more than four tourists and one guide at a time during the bear-viewing season, to protect the environment from too much human activity.

Linklater is hoping to get the word out on how special it is.

"It's just an incredible place. I just don't know to describe it. You kind of have to be there. The feeling is just something else when you get there."

Despite the $10,000costfor a week-long bear-viewing trip, the costisconsidered low andmeant to attract magazine writers and photojournalists.

now