Illegal mining trail 'a big deal,' says Yukon First Nation chief

A prospector and a drilling company have been charged with building an illegal 21-km trail to some remote pending mining claims north of Carmacks. 'Nobody knew about it,' says the chief of the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation.

Prospector and drilling company face charges related to a bulldozed bush trail, north of Carmacks

'Things like this cannot happen in this day and age,' said Little Salmon-Carmacks chief Eric Fairclough (pictured here in Whitehorse), about the unauthorized trail. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

A Whitehorse prospector and a Yukon drilling company are accused of building an illegal, bulldozed trail to some pending mining claims north of Carmacks — and a local First Nations chief is not impressed.

Nicolai Goeppel and Kluane Drilling are scheduled to appear in court in Carmacks on Wednesday, to each answer to four separate charges related to the trail.

They're accused of using a bulldozer to plow an unauthorized route through the bush near McGregor Creek, about 45 kilometres north of Carmacks.

"This is a big deal," said Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation chief Eric Fairclough.

He says a local trapper discovered the trail in the summer.

"Nobody knew about it — the Department [of] Energy, Mines and Resources didn't know anything about it, and we found it ... Things like this cannot happen in this day and age."

Fairclough estimates the unauthorized trail runs about 21 kilometres through the bush, and might have existed under the radar, if the trapper hadn't discovered it.  

The prospector charged, Nicolai Goeppel, was denied permits earlier this year to develop claims near Judas Creek, south of Whitehorse.

Goeppel did not respond to CBC's calls.

With files from Vic Istchenko