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Old Crow elders, youth map ancient trapping trails

Ancient hunting and trapping trails in Old Crow, Yukon are currently being traced using GPS technologies, with an ultimate goal of creating a map and detailed atlas.

Trails to be turned into map, detailed atlas after being traced using GPS technologies

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      Young people in Old Crow, Yukon are seeking to retrace the trails of their ancestors, using modern technology to map old trapping and travel routes.

      Many of the trails, being mapped in the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, are still being used today. Elders will team up with youth, showing them the trails, which will then be mapped with GPS and GIS technology.

      "There are certain areas where they're just not being accessed, because people haven't needed to go there for hunting or for trapping," says Megan Williams, heritage manager for the Vuntut Gwitchin.

      "The elders are usually the best GPS unit you can have. There's lots of really specific information along the route that requires a more detailed approach there."

      The routes have already been tracked by helicopter, and teams will mark the trails on the ground in the fall and winter.

      The Vuntut received over $65 thousand from the Yukon Government in order to map the old routes, which will be turned into a map and detailed atlas upon completion. 

      "It'll be a good opportunity for people to work out on the land," she said, "and sometimes those kinds of jobs are hard to come by here."

      In addition to the jobs created while mapping the routes, Williams says that the project could provide future economic benefits for the isolated community of Old Crow, in addition to its cultural value.

      "There's always other economies and other industries that could happen here where accessibility will be a positive aspect," she said. "If people want to get into tourism or cultural education out on the land."

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