The Ch’ihilii Chìk Habitat Protection Area is 468 km2 and covers Whitefish Lake and the surrounding wetlands. It is found on a travel route over the mountains between Old Crow and Fort McPherson.
The Ch’ihilii Chìk Habitat Protection Area is located in the Traditional Territory of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation. The area is the most significant wetland complex in their Traditional Territory outside of Van Tat (Old Crow Flats). The area is well known for its abundance of whitefish, beaver, muskrat and caribou, as well as waterfowl. The ability of the area to provide subsistence and cultural nourishment to the Vuntut Gwitchin is the foundation of its management plan.
The North Yukon Regional Land Use Plan recommended special management of Ch’ihilii Chìk. The Vuntut Gwitchin Government and the Government of Yukon approved the plan in 2009. They also agreed to designate the area as a Habitat Protection Area.
The Ch’ihilii Chìk (Whitefish Wetlands) Habitat Protection Area management plan describes important values and provides recommendations to the Vuntut Gwitchin Government and the Government of Yukon for the long-term management of the area.
- Conserve important fish and wildlife habitat in the area for the benefit of all Yukon residents.
- Recognize the traditional, current and future uses of the area by Vuntut Gwitchin citizens.
- Preserve and carefully consider water quality and quantity in the Ch’ihilii Chìk Habitat Protection Area for aquatic and terrestrial health and ecosystem function.
- Protect the fish and wildlife populations and their habitats from activities that are likely to reduce the area’s capability to support fish and wildlife.
- Encourage public awareness and appreciation of the natural resources of the area.
- Allow for other activities compatible with these objectives and the management plan.
The Vuntut Gwitchin Government and Government of Yukon signed the Ch’ihilii Chìk Habitat Protection Area management plan in May 2019.