Yukon’s Newest Campground

Wade Istchenko, MLA for Kluane

As submitted to the Whitehorse Star on Friday, August 28th, 2015
by Wade Istchenko, Minister of Environment

As we drove out from Whitehorse toward Carcross earlier this month to check out the progress on the new Conrad Campground, senior Environment officials chatted about something we all already knew to be true–Yukoners love their campgrounds. With this in mind, I looked forward to the site visit, eager to share the progress with my government colleagues and then the public.

I’m pleased to say that construction of the new campground – the first new full-service facility of its kind in nearly 30 years – will be completed later this fall and will be open to the public in May 2016. It sits about 16 kilometres south of Carcross, off the South Klondike Highway, on the shores of Tagish Lake’s Windy Arm, and will offer 35 sites. While the bulk of the work is done, the final product will include sites for RVs, parking areas, picnic shelters, firewood cribs, fire pits and bear proof garbage containers. There will also be a play area and a cook shelter.

A group of Yukon government and Carcross/Tagish First Nation representatives recently visited the Conrad Campground, set to open to the public next May. Shown here (L to R) Bob Edzerza, Project Manager, Carcross Tagish Management Corporation; Minister of Environment Wade Istchenko; Eric Schroff, Director, Parks Branch, Yukon Environment; Khà Shâde Héni Danny Cresswell, Carcross/Tagish First Nation; and Justin Ferbey, CEO, Carcross Tagish Management Corporation.

A group of Yukon government and Carcross/Tagish First Nation representatives recently visited the Conrad Campground, set to open to the public next May. Shown here (L to R) Bob Edzerza, Project Manager, Carcross Tagish Management Corporation; Minister of Environment Wade Istchenko; Eric Schroff, Director, Parks Branch, Yukon Environment; Khà Shâde Héni Danny Cresswell, Carcross/Tagish First Nation; and Justin Ferbey, CEO, Carcross Tagish Management Corporation.

After seeing the quality of the work done, and the views from a number of the sites, I can say that the project has already exceeded my expectations. Tourists, Yukoners, and their families will enjoy this area for years to come.

Campers are not the only long-term beneficiaries of this project. I mentioned the quality of work done to date, and that is thanks to our successful partnership with Carcross/Tagish First Nation (CTFN) and its Development Corporation. During the tour I had the chance to talk with Bob Edzerza, who led the project through the Corporation. He spoke of the employment and training opportunities this project afforded several members of the First Nation, particularly youth members, who have gained valuable experience on heavy equipment and machinery. These skills will be valuable for the rest of their lives, and contribute further to their community’s prosperity.

I would like to thank Khà Shâde Héni Danny Cresswell and the CTFN Council and members for their commitment to this project, as well as the vision they share for further cultural and economic opportunities in this special area. Yukon Parks worked closely with CTFN and the Cultural Services Branch, Tourism and Culture, to ensure that the development of the campground is consistent with the objectives of the adjacent Conrad Historic Site, where the small town of Conrad City supported the Venus silver mine in the early 1900s.

The campground is an excellent base for exploring the surrounding area, whether by car, bike, boat or your own two feet. Numerous trails are just steps from the grounds, with bustling Carcross a short drive away. I encourage Yukoners and tourists alike to kick off their next summer season with a visit.

Congratulations to Yukon Parks and everyone who made this new campground a reality. This government heard from Yukoners that they wanted access to more recreational opportunities and I am very proud to say that in partnership with others, we have delivered.

To read more about Conrad Campground visit: www.env.gov.yk.ca/camping-parks/conrad-campground.