The Yukon is like no other place in the world. We have unspoiled water, pristine forests and rugged mountains, just as they have been for thousands of years. Fish and wildlife populations are healthy. It’s important that travelers tread lightly.
When traveling in the Yukon, it is important to let others know the details of your trip. This is particularly true if you are leaving on a multi-day trip or venturing into the backcountry. Complete and leave the Yukon Smart Travel Plan with a friend, family member, co-worker or other responsible person who will take appropriate action in the event of an emergency.
Leave No Trace is a practice for anyone traveling in the backcountry to help minimize their impact. It includes things like:
- packing out all trash
- building fires in existing fire pits or portable fire pans
- respecting wildlife
- burying or packing out human waste.
Please obtain proper licenses for camping, fishing and hunting. Learn about and follow regulations. Read the pamphlet Into the Yukon Wilderness. It provides clear guidelines on how to best travel in the backcountry. You can download a PDF or pick up a copy at any Visitor Information Centre or Environment Yukon office
If you are planning a river trip, please read up on Best Environmental Practices on Yukon Rivers.
There are lots of bears in the Yukon, but your chances of encountering one are low. Still, it’s best to learn how to avoid one – and better yet, how to act if you do come across a bear. Here are some helpful tips:
- Carry bear spray and know how to use it properly.
- Learn how to identify signs of bear activity.
- Know if the area you’re in is good bear habitat.
- If possible, choose trails with good visibility
- Approach thickets from upwind
- Make lots of noise
- Travel in groups
- Avoid traveling at dusk or night
- When camping, set up your tent away from wildlife trails
While it’s true there are bugs in the Yukon, they’re not as bad here as in other parts of Canada. Mosquitoes are out in June, July and August and black flies appear in late August and September. Numbers of both pests tend to increase after a rain. Most Yukon communities have control programs to manage mosquito populations. When you’re out in the wilds, bugs can be a nuisance – especially in low-lying, marshy areas without a breeze. Pack along repellent or a bug jacket, just in case.
The Yukon has many lakes and rivers that are popular for paddling and boating in the summer months. Whether you are an experienced paddler or it’s your first time exploring our waterways, it’s important to always keep safety in mind.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Cold water is deadlier than you think. Prepare for the shock of cold water – always wear a life jacket.
- Alcohol and boating do not mix. Leave the alcohol onshore.
- Check the forecast. Return to shore immediately if bad weather approaches.
- Obey all warning signs and buoys around hydroelectric stations and dams; waters can change in a matter of seconds.
- Drive powerboats responsibly – use appropriate speed, especially when the water is choppy.
- Stay seated! You can easily fall out of a small powerboat, canoe or kayak.
- Be prepared. Ensure your vessel has the required safety gear on board and sufficient fuel.
- Carry a VHF radio or satellite phone with you when on the water.
- Always tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
- Get trained. Learn how to survive an unexpected fall into the water.
For more information on water safety, visit the Canadian Safe Boating Council.