Management Plan 2010

Kluane National Park and Reserve

Executive Summary

Kluane National Park & Reserve protects and celebrates a spectacular Canadian landscape of high mountain peaks, massive valley glaciers, boreal forests, northern wildlife, and rich cultural heritage, inviting all Canadians to explore an iconic wilderness environment of outstanding ecological integrity and cultural value. An important part of the traditional territory of the Southern Tutchone people, Kluane National Park & Reserve is managed in partnership with the Kluane First Nation and the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, who continue to maintain their deep cultural and spiritual relationship to the land. It offers local residents and international audiences the opportunity to experience and learn about the land that has been home to Southern Tutchone people for thousands of years, and to discover the land, animals and seasons that are at the heart of their traditional culture and way of life. Kluane National Park & Reserve is known worldwide for its outstanding wilderness recreation opportunities, attracting mountaineers, white-water rafters and experienced hikers to its mountainous terrain and icy blue rivers. The park includes a portion of the Alsêxh/Alsek River, a designated Canadian Heritage River. Together with Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, and British Columbia's Tatshenshini-Alsek Park, Kluane National Park & Reserve is part of the largest international UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This new management plan builds on the park's classic wilderness experience to create more diverse opportunities for Canadians to explore and appreciate this national treasure. Using social science research and strategic planning, Parks Canada will develop, promote and deliver a wider range of visitor experience opportunities that will engage and connect with an expanded audience. Visitor experiences at Kluane National Park & Reserve generally fit within three main types of experiences, identified in this plan as Drive Through Awareness, A Step Into the Wild, and Into the Heart of Kluane's Wilderness. Within these categories, park visitors will find a range of activities, facilities and programs to enrich each type of experience. Drive Through Awareness and A Step Into the Wild will be a primary focus for actions during the life of this plan, where new opportunities will be designed to meet the needs of highway travellers and audiences interested in discovering the park through day-use and short overnight activities. It is recognized that visitors who enjoy backcountry experiences as described in Into the Heart of Kluane's Wilderness are currently well served by existing programs and services. Working with First Nation and Government of Yukon partners, Parks Canada will develop and present modern, relevant, and engaging programs and facilities to welcome visitors to the new Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Cultural Centre and to the Thachäl Dhäl Visitor Centre, inviting them to explore the fascinating natural and cultural environment of the park. Existing facilities and services in the park, e.g., Kathleen Lake campground, will be used to promote increased use of the park by regional audiences and the local community, encouraging a wider range of activities and stronger personal ties to the park. A review of the park's trail system will address increasing visitor interest in front country hiking and mountain biking opportunities, and establish a sustainable trail system suitable for the park's maintenance capacity. New guidelines will permit two-way air access to designated landing sites in the park's greenbelt, providing new opportunities for visitors to experience the backcountry. Parks Canada will explore the feasibility of providing alternative roofed accommodation in the park, e.g., backcountry huts, yurts, commercial trailers, or wall tents, to expand camping opportunities for new audiences. Working with the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and Kluane First Nation, additional commercial motorboat access will also be considered, with the possibility of tours to be offered on some of the park's major rivers. Through strategic outreach programming and ongoing engagement with local audiences, the park's reach will be extended locally, regionally and nationally.

This management plan will continue to build stronger relationships with Kluane National Park & Reserve's First Nation partners, Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and Kluane First Nation, ensuring that cultural reintegration is actively supported, traditional knowledge and cultural resources are protected, and that training, employment and economic opportunities for both First Nations are pursued. The process that began through the Healing Broken Connections project will continue, and a strong First Nation presence in the park will enhance the visitor experience, ecological integrity, and cultural heritage of the park. Parks Canada will continue to work with the Kluane First Nation, Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and the Kluane National Park Management Board, to share in the effective and enduring cooperative management of the park, based on strong mutual respect and a shared understanding of respective responsibilities.

This new management plan will also maintain and improve the park's ecological integrity through the completion of a more comprehensive ecological monitoring program, a focus on the park's forest ecosystems, active management of species at risk and non-native species, and increased public communications about ecological integrity issues and activities in the park.

An area management approach included in this plan continues to define seven geographic areas in the park that offer distinct visitor experience opportunities, and identifies ways to provide a range of diverse and compatible visitor experiences best suited to each area. The unique ecosystems and landscape features of each area will be respected and incorporated into recreational and learning opportunities that meet the needs of a variety of audiences. Some areas will be managed for higher levels of multiple use activities and others will be managed for lower levels of use that facilitate experiences with high wilderness character.

As a whole, this management plan intends to build stronger and more relevant connections between Kluane National Park & Reserve and a wider Canadian audience. It will result in a greater variety of visitor experience opportunities, more meaningful visitor experiences, greater engagement with the local communities, further reintegration of First Nations into the park, strengthened relationships with First Nation partners and enhanced cooperative management.

2010 Kluane National Park and Reserve of Canada Management Plan (PDF, 2.13 MB)

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