The Van Tat K’atr’anahtii (Old Crow Flats) Special Management Area lies north of Old Crow. The 12,116 km2 area has hundreds of small lakes and is one of Canada’s most important wetland habitats. The area includes portions of Vuntut National Park, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Settlement Land and Yukon public land.
The area known as Van Tat is in the Traditional Territory of the Vuntut Gwitchin, the “people of the lakes.” The area is significant for local people, wildlife and waterfowl. The Gwich’in have traveled to Van Tat for centuries and use it year-round for trapping, harvesting and recreation. They’ve also used it for cultural, health and economic purposes, including collecting oral history, research and education.
The area supports migrating and nesting waterfowl, muskrat, summer moose, migrating Porcupine caribou and fish.
The Vuntut Gwitchin, especially Elders, guided the direction of this management plan. Their vision is “Yeendoo Nanh Nakhweenjit K’atr’ahanahtyaa” – “Looking after the land for the future”. A guiding principle from the Elders is to strive to maintain the integrity of the area as one ecological unit.
As set out by the Vuntut Gwitchin Government and the Government of Yukon, this plan considers conservation of natural resources a priority for the Van Tat K’atr’anahtii (Old Crow Flats) Special Management Area. The management plan describes these important values and how they should be considered in decision-making, and also provides long-term direction for managing land and resources.
- Recognize and protect the traditional and current uses of the area by Vuntut Gwitchin, while recognizing the changing values and priorities of Vuntut Gwitchin in contemporary Canadian society.
- Protect and conserve fish and wildlife, and fish and wildlife habitat, of national, international and local significance, in particular, migratory birds and the Porcupine caribou herd and their habitats.
- Protect the full diversity of fish and wildlife populations and their habitats from activities which could reduce the land’s capability to support fish and wildlife.
- Recognize the ownership by the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation of parcels R-01A and R-10A.
The Vuntut Gwitchin Government and the Government of Yukon approved the management plan in 2006. Following the review schedule laid out in the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Final Agreement, the Vuntut Gwitchin Government and the Government of Yukon reviewed the plan in 2013 and made no changes.