Victory for Yukon Wilderness Is "Game-Changer"
Historic ruling protects much of pristine Peel River Watershed.
Environmentalists and indigenous people across northern Canada are celebrating a historic legal victory that protects one of the world's last major pristine river systems. In a December 2 ruling, Yukon Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale ruled that the Canadian territory's government did not have the authority to override a land-use plan to preserve the bulk of the 26,000-square-mile (67,000-square-kilometer) Peel Watershed region.
A wildlife habitat of global importance, the northern Yukon wilderness is one of North America's few remaining unbroken tracts with large, intact predator-prey ecosystems. Seven major rivers flow through the Scotland-sized area, which is home to healthy populations of caribou, grizzly bears, wolverines, and peregrine falcons. The nearly roadless landscape is also the winter range of the Porcupine caribou