Road to Tiger gold deposit in central Yukon worries hunters
ATAC Resources' plans to build a new road north of Mayo threatens wilderness critics say
A proposed mineral exploration road north of Mayo, Yukon, is encountering opposition from local residents and questions from others about its long term impact on wilderness areas in central Yukon.
ATAC Resources wants to build the 65 kilometre all-season road from a point near Keno City northeast to its Tiger gold property. The road would require eight bridges and 38 culverts.
Its application is currently before the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board. The environmental screening agency is taking public comments until Feb. 27.
Information meetings were held this week in Mayo and Keno. As well, public submissions are starting to reach the board.
Elder Jimmy Johnny of the Na-Cho Nyäk Dun First Nation made a verbal submission to agency staff.
"Mr. Johnny is concerned that new access to these important moose habitats will facilitate harvest and put additional pressures on an already stressed moose population."
Hunting outfitter Chris Widrig noted in a written submission that the road comes within a few kilometres of his hunting concession.
"Concessions in this area rely on undisturbed wilderness and intact wildlife habitat to attract clients from all over the world," Widrig wrote.
"All season access roads leave permanent scars on the wilderness landscape."
Last August, early in the process, the territorial Environment department raised issues it wanted addressed in the application.
"The proposal should include a discussion of potential cumulative effects of the project and how the proponent proposes to mitigate against negative impacts," the department wrote.
"Opening up a new all-season access route into the Beaver River watershed opens up the likelihood that additional industrial development will follow and wish to use the same route," it said.
"Hunters with snowmobiles and ATVs and other recreational users will also want to use the new route, and only some can be kept out by the proposed gates.
In its application ATAC Resources says access to the mining property so far has been by air. But it says the project has reached the stage where larger pieces of equipment are needed that would be difficult, if not impossible, to bring in by air.
Its application says in addition to three gates, the road would be patrolled to restrict access.
The road would continue to be used as long as the company was active in the area.
But it says when the road is no longer needed the culverts and bridges would be removed.