Mineral Development Guidelines in Peel Region Updated According to Regional Land Use Plan

The Government of Yukon has approved an Order In Council to apply new direction for mineral claim staking in the Peel watershed. This Order represents the first implementation action of the approved Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan, developed and approved in partnership with the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, Vuntut Gwitchin Government, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, and Gwich’in Tribal Council.

As of April 1, 2020, mineral staking in areas identified as Special Management Areas were withdrawn permanently. Wilderness Areas and Wilderness Areas-Boreal Caribou have an interim withdrawal in place until January 1, 2030, at which point the status of these Areas will be jointly reviewed by the Parties to the Peel Plan.

The mineral staking withdrawals for the Integrated Management Areas were lifted April 1, 2020. However, anyone considering a project in the Peel must be aware that standards for environmental and cultural stewardship are higher in this area than they are on other Crown lands in Yukon.

All mineral exploration and development proposals, including Class 1 notifications, will be subject to conformity checks to ensure compliance with the Plan. Proposals and notifications that do not comply with the Plan will not proceed until they are brought into conformity.

The Parties to the Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan are committed to honouring the commitments they have made to each other and the people of Yukon.

The tremendous work to finalize the Peel Regional Land Use Plan was a high point in Yukon’s history, and the hard work to implement the plan is following in this same path of positive collaboration. The plan provides clarity for conservation and resource activity in the region, and we will continue to work together to ensure that the special values of the Peel are maintained forever.

Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources Ranj Pillai

The Peel Land Use Plan has been a long journey for all of us, and we are pleased to finally reach the first steps of implementation through a collaborative approach on activities for Integrated Management and Special Management Areas. Although the standards are robust, we need to ensure we leave a good legacy for future generations and the ability to use the Peel region in a way that we are able to use it today.

Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Chief Roberta Joseph

We are happy to be working with the Government of Yukon and our fellow First Nations to introduce new standards for industrial development in the Peel that respect the values of our ancestors. One hundred years from now our great-great-grandchildren will be proud of what we’ve done.

First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun Chief Simon Mervyn 

The Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan is the result of years of hard work by our people in collaboration with our neighbouring First Nations and the Yukon Government. It ensures our current and future generations would enjoy the same rights as we do today. Implementation is the next important step. The Gwich’in Tribal Council looks forward to continued collaboration in ensuring the Peel Watershed is managed with the respect for Gwich’in values.

Gwich’in Tribal Council Grand Chief Bobbie Jo Greenland-Morgan

Public support from Yukoners for the protection of the Peel has been substantial and unwavering. We saw this for years as Yukoners defended the preservation of its beautiful landscape and we saw it during the public signing ceremony of the Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan. We’ve made great strides in implementing the Plan, but we’re not at the finish line yet, and we know we have the support of the public to ensure the spirit and intent of the plan are implemented, fully and truly.

Vuntut Gwitchin Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm

Quick facts 
  • Prior to these changes, the Peel Watershed planning region was withdrawn from mineral staking to varying degrees since 2010.

  • New withdrawal orders also apply to oil and gas dispositions. 

    • The Governments of Yukon, Nacho Nyak Dun, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Vuntut Gwitchin, and Gwich’in Tribal Council are committed to jointly implementing the recommendations in the Plan, and making land and resource decisions that are consistent with the goals and General Management Direction of the Plan. For example:
      • Adequate baseline data, for example; heritage resource, fish, wildlife, waterbird, habitat, water quality, will be required prior to any development.
      • New surface access will require sufficient bonding to achieve full reclamation.
      • Public access on new roads will not be allowed.
      • No development activities will be allowed in important subsistence harvesting and current community use areas, or in areas with important cultural and heritage resources.
      • Any all-season infrastructure must be located a minimum of 100 meters from wetlands and lakes.
      • Activities must not be carried out in sensitive over-wintering and spawning areas.
      • Cumulative surface disturbance will be limited by predetermined thresholds.
      • Activities will be monitored and limits to cumulative impacts established and enforced.
Media contact 

Matthew Cameron
Cabinet Communications
867-332-0615
[email protected]

Sue Thomas
Communications, Energy, Mines and Resources
867-667-5809
[email protected]

Wayne Potoroka
Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Communications Director
867-993-7100 ext. 108
[email protected]

News release #: 
20-100