© Canoe North Adventures Grizzly bear in Horton River


With nearly the entire territory a potential climate refuge, protected areas in Yukon should be prioritized on a national scale.

With boreal forests, tundra environments and wild and free-flowing rivers, Yukon habitats support wildlife like the at-risk grizzly bear and collared pika. Ecological representation in the region is a story of extremes. Where areas are protected, they are of high quality and provide good coverage of physical habitats. But the territory also has among the highest proportion of unprotected physical habitats in the country. The significant gaps in Yukon’s protected area network happen to be among the most important for nature-based solutions and climate stability and therefore should be a national priority.

Importantly, Yukon supports Canada’s longest wild and free flowing river – the Liard. Wild rivers are free-flowing waters that are not negatively impacted by pollution, habitat fragmentation, overuse of water or climate change. Despite their pristine nature, Yukon’s wild rivers remain unprotected from future development or human pressures.

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© Heather Crochetiere

Regional Spotlight

The Liard River is one of the longest free-flowing rivers in Canada. With a high number of species at risk, high densities of soil carbon, and potential as a climate refuge, the Liard and surrounding watershed are a priority area for protection.