With its extensive limestone terraces created by cool water springs and the rich diversity of life forms associated with year-round flowing water, Coal River Springs is a unique feature of territorial and national significance.
In 1990, a 16 km2 area in the southeast Yukon encompassing Coal River Springs was officially dedicated as Yukon's second Territorial Park and first Ecological Reserve designation. Coal River Springs Territorial Park was created through the combined efforts of the Government of Yukon, the Liard First Nation and the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Protection of the reserve is the primary purpose of the park, so access to this isolated site has remained limited, difficult and expensive. The springs can be accessed by experienced paddlers canoeing the Coal River. Once on the river, boaters are committed to a week-long trip with grade III-IV rapids both above and below the springs. The put-in for the upper river is via floatplane from Watson Lake and the take-out is at the Alaska Highway where it crosses the Coal River in British Columbia. Other access is by helicopter from Watson Lake, 80 km west of the park. This is usually a one hour return flight. A Park Permit is required to land a helicopter in the park.