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Strict rules proposed for land use in Peel watershed

The Peel Watershed Planning Commission is proposing some tough new rules for land use in northeastern Yukon, according to highlights from its draft land use plan released Monday.

The Peel Watershed Planning Commission is proposing some tough new rules for land use in northeastern Yukon, according to highlights from its draft land use plan released Monday.

The commission's draft plan says the pristine wilderness watershed area, the majority of which is Crown land, needs to be protected from development. But it also proposes allowing room for some industrial activity there.

The draft plan proposes dividing the 67,000-square-kilometre region into 46 separate management units.

Almost half the land would be excluded from mineral staking, and development would not be allowed in "especially sensitive areas," according to the plan.

Hundreds of existing oil, gas and mineral claims would be grandfathered, but development activity would be strictly regulated. As well, overland access into the region would be tightly controlled.

"The goal of the Peel watershed regional land use plan is to ensure wilderness characteristics, wildlife and their habitats, cultural resources, and waters are maintained over time while managing resource use," reads the highlight document in part.

The draft plan was unveiled Monday at a meeting in Mayo. The commission plans to hold similar meetings in Dawson City on Tuesday, and in Whitehorse next week.

The commission is inviting public comment on the draft plan until June 30.

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