The Peel Watershed is a land of pure waters, rugged mountains and taiga forests, far in the north of Canada’s Yukon Territory. One of the largest intact natural areas remaining in North America, this is a wild land in a world that is losing its wilderness. At 68,000 km2, this watershed is twice the size of Vancouver Island. Six rivers flow through it before converging on the Peel River which reaches the Arctic Ocean via the Mackenzie River delta. This is the homeland of four First Nations who have been sustained by the landscape since time immemorial. As the northern anchor of the Yellowstone to Yukon wildlife corridor, the Peel Watershed shelters an abundance of threatened species. Grizzly and caribou roam freely, and the area is a haven for rare plants. Despite overwhelming opposition from First Nations and the Yukon people, the Government of Yukon is trying to open much of the watershed to mining and oil and gas development. First Nations, together with CPAWS Yukon and the Yukon Conservation Society, are fighting to preserve the watershed and uphold the integrity of the agreements between First Nations and the Yukon and Canadian governments.
Photo credit: Peter Mather9