The Devil’s Elbow and Big Island Habitat Protection Areas are two distinct pieces of land located along the Steward River near Mayo. They have long been known as important moose calving areas.
Devil’s Elbow, locally referred to as 17 mile, is 75.1 km2, containing 46.9 km2 of Yukon public land and 28.2 km2 of Category B First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun Settlement Land. It is 20 km downstream of Mayo and just upstream from Stewart Crossing.
Big Island is 7.6 km2 in size and about 5 km upstream of Mayo. Big Island is bounded by the Stewart River and a small side channel.
These areas contain expanses of mature forest, oxbow lakes, numerous ponds, wetlands and side channels from the Stewart River.
The areas contain seasonal fish camps, residences and numerous trails. Devil’s Elbow and Big Island are considered to be two of the main moose calving sites in the lower Stewart River valley between Fraser Falls and the McQuesten River confluence. Devil’s Elbow and Big Island are likely key for sustaining moose in the region. These moose provide traditional food for residents of Mayo and Stewart Crossing.
These areas are also significant for birds, especially waterfowl and shorebirds. The wetland provides important nesting habitat for ducks.
The management plan provides guidance for the protection of Devil’s Elbow and Big Island Habitat Protection Areas.
- Conserve important wildlife and wildlife habitat in the areas for the benefit of Yukon residents.
- Protect the areas’ wildlife populations and their key habitats from activities which are likely to reduce the areas’ capability to support wildlife.
- Encourage public awareness and appreciation of the natural resources of the areas.
- Recognize traditional and current use of the areas by the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, residents of Mayo and the Yukon public.
- Allow for other land uses and activities which are compatible with the objectives of the areas.
- Respect all existing third party interests.
The First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, Government of Yukon and Mayo District Renewable Resources Council approved the plan in 2012. Read the Devils' Elbow and Big Island Habitat Protection Area management plan.