Fixing Land Use Planning in the Yukon Before It Really Breaks: A Case Study of the Peel Watershed


  • Kiri Staples University of Saskatchewan
  • Manuel Chávez-Ortiz University of Saskatchewan
  • M.J. Barrett University of Saskatchewan
  • Douglas Clark University of Saskatchewan


For eight years, the Yukon Government and four First Nation governments—the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun, the Gwich’in Tribal Council, the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, and the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation—have been working to create a land use plan for the Peel Watershed in northeast Yukon, Canada. This paper analyzes publicly available data on the decision-making process led by the Yukon Government following submission of a final recommended land use plan by the Peel Watershed Planning Commission. We argue that the Yukon Government failed to effectively reconcile different perspectives and values through the decision-making process. Using an analytical framework from the policy sciences, we contend that it is not the polarizing nature of these perspectives that has caused land use planning for the Peel region to break down; rather it is a broken decision-making process that to date has failed to secure the common interest. This failure has left many of those involved in the Peel region’s land use plan with the perception that their voices are no longer being heard in this process. We describe how these fractures occurred and present a number of recommendations that could improve the decision-making process for the Peel Watershed land use plan, with application for future such processes elsewhere in the Yukon.

Author Biographies

Kiri Staples, University of Saskatchewan

Master's candidate, School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan

Manuel Chávez-Ortiz, University of Saskatchewan

Master's student, School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan

M.J. Barrett, University of Saskatchewan

Assistant Professor, School of Environment and Sustainability & College of Education (Curriculum Studies), University of Saskatchewan

Douglas Clark, University of Saskatchewan

Assistant Professor and Centennial Chair in Human Dimensions of Environment & Sustainability, School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan






General Articles