Yukon Timeline
Environmental Highlights

Version Francais

o25,000 BP - Beringia

oCrow Creates People:According to First Nations tradition, Crow was the creator of the world. He made people from poplar bark and established the relationships between them as Crow and Wolf moieties.
o 12,000 BP Mammal extinctions: where did they go?

o 8,000 BP Forests reappear

o1250 BP White River Ash Volcano eruption near the headwaters of the White River in Alaska spreads volcanic ash over most of south and central Yukon. The eruption was likely accompanied by clouds of dust and noxious gases that forced people and animals out of the central Yukon for many years. The pale ash layer can still be seen along river banks and cutbanks.
o1350-1870 AD Little Ice Age

o1852 AD Galloping Glaciers Lowell Glacier surged to form an ice dam across the Alsek River, creating Lake Alsek. The dam broke in 1875, draining the lake and causing floods.There is evidence that this had happened several times previously.

o1884 Gold in the Yukon!

oThe Seasonal Round First Nations people in the Yukon moved from place to place during the year to trade, hunt, fish and gather food.

o1900 Railway Arrives in Whitehorse (jpeg 31K) The White Pass and Yukon Railway from Skagway to Whitehorse was completed. Lewis Lake near Carcross was accidentally drained during construction causing a tremendous flood (1899). The lake level was lowered 70 feet. Muddy waters stained the headwater lakes all the way to Tagish police post. The Watson River valley was covered in mud from Lewis Lake to Lake Bennett.
Once the railway was built, tons of materials could be moved from tidewater to the goldfields. This allowed large-scale mining to begin.

oFamily Eddy - Traditional Subsistence

o1942 The Alcan During this peak year of construction, 15,900 people and 11,107 pieces of machinery are at work on the Alaska Highway. Road construction and its associated activity changed the annual cycle and settlement patterns for native people. Many families could no longer maintain their subsistence lifestyle.
US Army personnel allowed to buy hunting licences at $1 each. Highway of Mud (jpeg 20K)

o1943 The Territorial Game Ordinance was amended to allow for a two-mile wide no-shooting zone along the Alaska Highway. The Kluane Game Sanctuary was created, prohibiting or restricting hunting and trapping.Game warden come tell them they can't shoot no more moose, they can't shoot any more game. Even fishing, we can't fish no more after 15 September. We just don't know what happened. Everything change.
Moose Jackson, Champagne Aishihik Elder

o1944 A 3500-barrel-per-day refinery opened at Whitehorse. It closed after less than one year.

o1946 The Whitehorse refinery was dismantled, but the tar pit was left. The pit was used for waste oil disposal and as a source of oil for dust suppression on roads during the next decade. The tar pit remains today.

o1949 -1969 DDT not A OK Annual aerial spraying of DDT for mosquito control around Yukon communities, especially Whitehorse and the town of Watson Lake. DDT remains elevated in fish in the 1990s in Lake Laberge and Watson Lake.

o1955 End of the Sternwheeler Era The construction of an all-weather road from Whitehorse to Dawson City spelled the end of commercial sternwheeler traffic on the Yukon River. SS Klondike (jpeg 12K)

oThe 1960s New Mines, New Roads
  • 1965 An asbestos mine opened at Clinton Creek. It closed in the mid 1970s leaving unstable tailings piles that have slumped into the creek.
  • 1967-1971 New Imperial Mines started an open pit mine near Whitehorse. Nearly three million tonnes of copper ore were extracted from four pits.
  • 1968-69 New Venus Mill opened south of Carcross. Arsenic was later found in the tailings on the shores of Windy Arm.
  • 1969 Robert Campbell Highway constructed.
  • 1969 Faro lead-zinc mine opened.

o1975 Aishihik Dam (Otter Falls before dam -jpeg 16K) Aishihik Lake Dam constructed. As expected, the irregular flow of water results in the loss of the rainbow trout population, estimated at 1,500 fish. Restocking and experimental winter flows started in 1993 to restore this population.

o1979 Dempster Highway completed.

o1984 Inuvialuit Final Agreement contained provisions for conservation and wildlife management on the Yukon's North Slope.

o1986 Ivvavik National Park proclaimed as part of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement. Herschel Island Territorial Park established a year later.

o1991 Action on Waste Evaluation and clean-up of Yukon waste sites began under the federal Arctic Environmental Strategy.

o1993 Yukon Environment Act proclaimed.

oFalcons Make Comeback Peregrine falcon population increased, 60-100 pairs produced young.

o1993 Wind Power Haeckel Hill Wind Turbine alternate energy project initiated.

o1995 Land Claims Legislation Passed February 14, Land Claim Legislation Passed into law.

End of Timeline