Whitehorse, Canada's wilderness walking trail city

Just want to walk? LOOP WALKING TRAILS, 100+ walks, 100s kms of trails to tempt locals and tourists. Time constraints? See Short Loop Walks.

WhitehorseWalks works to make walking more attractive, more intriguing, to get more people out on the trails. The Hepburn Tramway was a fun WhitehorseWalks project (Small addendum page).

Yukon Walking Strategy looks at walking for recreation, health, tourism, education.... and Ideas to improve walking is a list of opportunities for better walking here, and walking ideas for active elders. For those with limited walking abilities—see More places to walk, guides


Mind blowing. Guaranteed a smile: Yuja Wang

A fun page featuring an amazing woman: Linda Ronstadt

April 26, 2023Presentation to Mayor and Council, Apr 24, 2023 on reopening the Airport Escarpment Trail

March 20, 2023. I was interviewed about WhitehorseWalks and transportation equity, mobility justice... Coming soon is a map of groomed trails in Whitehorse. Who does it and where. I'm also interested to see that a focus on active transportation vs recreational walking, matters to trails. As the Mobility Justice discussion shows, perhaps we, as a community, need to assess the value of recreational trails, wellness and fairness in budgetary processes. More to come....

Feb 27, 2023. Lot's to do. Links to some. Since moving back Downtown after so many years, I've finally joined the Downtown Residents Association (DRA) and I'm sitting as a member of the Trails Committee (as WhitehorseWalks). Doing lots of Downtownish walking, I've thought a lot about what could make walking better. I also attended a couple of Town Hall meetings where I pointed out the problems that pass under the radar because the City has no senior administrator whose job ss to say of everything: What's in it for walking? Is there any aspect that could make walking better? Is there any aspect that could make walking worse?

Here's a few pieces I've done as my contribution to the DRA Trails Committee.

1: I saw that there was an Active Transportation Plan done for Selkirk Street Primary School.This 2-pager on the need for a recreational Trail Network in Riverdale is my response, informed by lots of walking Riverdale's interior paths.

2: I saw in the paper that YESAB had an notice a City project on Schwatka Lake. I realized that there was a trail opportunity here. So here's my YESAB submission on Schwatka Lake Road.

3: We need a Whitehorse Centre Trail Plan, A trail Task Force. Living Downtown, walking in the woods on natural trails was not easy. There seems to be little publicaly happening on shifting the airport fence so the trail isn't falling off the edge. It seems that this is considered an unofficial trail, thus not supported. The Trail Plan background doc missed showing it as an existing trail, so this mistake seems to have propagated. Between this, hiking behind the Hospital and looking at Riverdale's trails, I realized that there's been no Trail Task Force here yet. So here's my 3-pager raising this issue, in part addressed to the budget process, but in general, it poses questions: Are people content with the general lack of trail priority in this part of town? Should we pay more attention now that the OCP says to build higher, denser? Is it ok that a city which wants a walkable Downtown, a Wilderness City, must drive to go for a recreational walk in the woods?

4: I've long felt that the area back of the hospital was a natural for a local trail network. But without a plan, it's hard to see the current Trails and City Park plans would facilitate. This 3 Pager will be on line shortly.

Nov 13, 2022. Start of a page on looking at why Downtown Residents association need a walking and trails committee: DowntownWhitehorseYukon

Oct 24: Today's letter to Mayor andCouncil around clearing sidewalks.

And, a great new demo resource of air photos around the core of Whitehorse, 1 per decade

Oct 17, 2022. Today's council meeting was bring up revisions to the Snow and Ice Control policy. Being a downtown resident I find it ridiculous that we don't clear our sidewalks. So I wrote a letter.

October 15. First day of major snow. On Oct 10 I sent another letter to Mayor and Council about the importance of the airport fence.

October 4, 2022. I've been trying to get the Yukon Government to move its airport fence over where erosion is eating the ground away, causing the exterior perimeter trail to be down to a very narrow trail. 2 letters to City Council: Restore Airport Perimeter Trail (Aug 29) and To mayor and council Oct 3, 2022.

Relevant to reopening the Airport Perimeter Trail allowing our safe use: Kids' physical activity dropped during pandemic, but researchers encouraged by more outdoor play; and, Risky play for children: Why we should let kids go outside and then get out of the way. As well, allmost under where the fence needs reopening, we have a playground, in the heart of a many blocks of Yukon Government housing, still closed from the landslides.

Also relevant to trails is my submission to the Fish Lake Background Study

Sep17. Canadian cities are finally rediscovering their neglected waterfronts

June 13, 2022. Here's my draft OCP submision WhitehorseWalksSubmissionTo2022draftOCP

June 6, 2022. In preparation for getting an OCP response and a downtown Walkability report, here's a few new documents:Airport Perimeter Trail backstory, Downtown Sidewalks, Pedestrian Bridge to Hospital

Apr 6, 2022. Every trail tells a story Stories of where some local trails come from

Feb 21, 2022. In response to Standing Committee agenda, Pages 34-37, I sent Mayor and Council a response, and a peek at one way people used to come down above Black Street.

Feb 19, 2022. New stage in Tank Farm process. See Tank Farm Master Plan – Procurement Commencement Report, pages 34-37.The map is cropped and doesn't show the Airport Perimeter Trail along the fence; nor does it show the WCCSC land use. An underpass at the airport makes even more sense if this area is going to be filled in as much as this conceptual plan shows — a green corridor running from this area, under the highway to the Airport Perimeter trail and then downtown. Active transportation and recreation needs to lure people into nature.This stage of the highway widening should be put on hold until this initial process has a better plan of where it’s going.

Feb 18, 2022. Input to YESAB re Alaska Highway widening at RSW. What is the City's response when they look at active transportation and recreational nature abilities. This is a major opportunity to show their big picture plan as real lines on maps.

Jan 1, 2022. Input to Transportation Plan Whay the Airport Perimeter trail is a City/Yukon Government responsibility to keep open. (note that I neglected to include the Bicycle Network Plan's designation of the Airport Perimeter Trail in my submission)

Dec 26, 2021. A couple of reads. Walking is a glorious, primal pastime – and far more radical than you think: Despite its reputation as a bourgeois hobby, walking has been a lifeline for millions past and present

And for local walking with our often slippery condition, Walking tips for safer strolls this winter

Dec 17, 2021. With the latest Transportation Plan underway, this seems particularly important: Walking America's car-centric hellscape. We live in a wilderness city. Is it really accessible in your neighbourhood? (I'm looking at you Downtown!)

When the COVID-19 pandemic started and the whole world was driven into their homes, people became more eager to walk around their neighborhoods so as not to be driven insane by shelter-in-place claustrophobia. Nearly two years later, many of us are still quite housebound, but those nearby circuits are well-worn and not offering much in the way of mental refreshment. 

Dec 10, 2021. ‘Awe walks’ boost emotional well-being and let me repeat my entry from April 14, 2019. The healing power of being in nature — go for a walk!

Bored with your walks? No time to walk? Think lunch hour or after supper, a walk with a friend, kids, or if hosting guests and want to dazzle them! Here's some 1-3-km loop walks around town that are easily accessible, with some parking, and provide a treat: a pond, a spot by a river, a cliff, a view, an unusual hike, or maybe a nice neighbourhood walk...?

November 20, 2021. ‘Awe walks’ boost emotional well-being, How to cultivate awe with a walking meditation and Stay connected, and get outside: A counsellor's advice to get through another pandemic winter

November 8, 2021. It's been a while since I've started a new map. Here's a draft: Downtown Nature Walking Ideas. The idea is that I think people like having destinations that lure them outside of their comfort zones. Then too, there are days you just want an idea of where to go for a great scenic walk. As mentioned in the downtown walking letter below, there's a bit of bad trail along the airport fence that needs a bit of repair. Once they move a short section of fencing over, my intent is that the core loop will use this section of the Airport Perimeter Trail as the central core loop.

October 21, 2021. Busy day. Here's a downtown walking letter I just sent to the City.

Having just spent 5 months in Oxford, I see lots of thing around what a walkable city means. Here's a good starter for parents, or grandparents, with small kids: Footsteps. The UK calls sidewalks pavement and crossing markings are different, but it's still a great exercise in working with a young kid around road safety. Unfortunately it doesn't deal with motorized and non-motorized vehicles using sidewalks. This is becoming a large safety issue there, especially with the proliferation of motorized scooters!

October 20, 2021. Equity in the great outdoors: Toronto campaigns look to make green spaces more inclusive

March 17, 2021. Another useful link is tying your shoes

March 15, 2021. Because they are so useful...complete knot list

January 18, 2021. some interesting ideas here The joy of steps: 20 ways to give purpose to your daily walk

December 6, 2020. I'm slowly working on a set of loop walking trails behind the hospital (map on right). There areso many trails here and so little signage that this map is just to show the variety of options. It will be made simpler yet!

This area map has circles spaced 250 m apart. It clearly shows these as close walking trails for north Riverdale, the Hospital, 3 schools, the dept ofEd, child dev centre, Crocus Ridge residence, the residential south end of downtown, YG main building, Visitor Reception Centre, YCS, 210 Hawkins, ….

July 3, 2020. There's people who have very limited walking abilities. They too want to get outside and into a peaceful, awesome place. I've started a short list at More places to walk, guides

June 14, 202. How the Slow Ways network could change walking in Britain

June 12, 2020. Updated Knuckle Ridge Trail

May 26, 2020 Stakeholder interview on update to City Trail Plan

April 27, 2020. Input on Tank Farm OCP amendment, in particular, looking at active transportation and the Alaska Highway

April 15, 2019. The Right Way to Pass Fellow Pedestrians, and Other Social Distancing Tips and How Readers Around the World Mapped Life Under Lockdown— Tight floor plans, “sanity” walks, and the people you miss seeing: They turned up in your homemade maps of life during the coronavirus pandemic.

March 18, 2020. Highways has posted its response to questions YESAB asked for clarity after the public response phase on the Hillcrest area highway reconstruction.  https://yesabregistry.ca/projects/56647d97-2129-4afc-aa3f-c7a3f10ba876/documents

It appears that the underpass was not wanted because there was a perception people would not use it. I suggest this perception came from people seeing a dark dank scary tunnel, poorly built and flooded with water presented in the Range Road phase. A well-thought-out underpass, built in a sensible location, that took advantage of removing the ARC, while thinking of an actual attractive destination to encourage walking and biking is what the Yukon Government should be looking at, not the one that was presented. 

The highways team didn’t seem to have grasped the many responses to this latest phase public consultation. The government completely misses the focus on less vehicle travel for a greener world, the importance of people outside being fit, any concept of a healthy community.

They appear to ignore the growing number of people and new subdivisions coming over the next decades, the desire of the City to have less vehicles driving downtown and the unattractive, unsafe mess proposed for crossing the highway in other than a vehicle. They didn’t seem to have grasped that people would actually like to be able to have their kids and themselves bike and walk downtown in a safe manner.

They didn’t address the fact that people seem to be ignoring trivial details like speed limits and red lights in their need to go fast past the airport area.

I suggest the HCA get on top of this before it’s too late — if not for current residents of the area, then at least for the next group of people to live above the airport.

March 11, 2020. A broken hip would be my new coming-of-age story. This would be tough in Whitehorse with sidewalks often not cleared, or even not present. Where do you walk? Yesterday I saw a person with a walker who got off the bus on Second Avenue at Hanson. But she couldn't get over the bank between the road and the sidewalk so was having to walk on the road. What is a person with a walker supposed to do? Stay home???

March 8, 2020. Don't forget to vote for a national Lichen. As trail walkers these should be very evocative to you. Murray has a nice intro to the simple survey.

February 19, 2020. Input on Highway's proposed expansion of Alaska Highway by the airport.

January 16, 2020. How Engineering Standards for Cars Endanger People Crossing the Street Great cartoon about Second Avenue by Rotary Park: Which comes first ? A safe way to cross or lots of people crossing?

And, 1 more: A collection of quotes and cartoons that in a few short words, or in an image, demonstrate important transportation planning concepts..

January 15, 2020. 9 Exercises To Increase Your Brain Power

January 11, 2020. An avenue to explore: Living Streets

Walking — A Pedestrian Pursuit CBC's Michael Enright

January 6, 2020. Watching the fireworks on New Year's Eve made me want a walk along the ridge opposite the waterfront. I called it Views over downtown. It's another in the Elderactive set of walks and part of my hospital trail plan.

January 5, 2020. Changes in downtown entertainment map: new Gather Café and Tap house at Lumel Studios; The Poor Creature closed; The Coffee Shop moved into Hamilton and Son Guitar Works.

December 24, 2019. Walking helped me discover the slow unfurling joy of reading books aloud

December 16, 2018. And coming very soon is The Railway Lounge at the new Raven Inn! Lots of walking needed to get to all these places, that's for sure!

December 13, 2018. Always new people with new passions. Welcome to The Coffee Shop!

December 10, 2019. How media coverage of car crashes downplays the role of drivers. How do some of our local media report?

vehicles travelling very fast; a person is struck by a vehicle; pedestrian was fatally hit by a truck; truck hit and killed him; man is dead after being struck by a pick-up truck; southbound truck failed to stop and struck him; Merle Gorgichuk died after being struck by a pickup truck; man is dead after being hit by a pickup truck; driver and passenger in the pickup were not injured; Police and the coroner say a man died after being hit by a pickup truck; he was struck by a vehicle that failed to stop; a man was crossing the street near Tim Hortons when he was hit by a southbound car; van struck two people; a number of vehicles travelling very fast along there

We know that these vehicles are driven by people. It appears that the road is seen to be owned by one group of people who have a goal of getting somewhere as smoothly and quickly as possible. We have a Second Avenue background study being almost 95% complete. Was it from the point of view of said vehicles, or from the point of view of all street users? We'll see

Researchers design headphones that warn pedestrians of dangers

November 24, 2019. It seems to me that walking needs to be doable at all times of the year. The City should clear and sand the Millennium, Lower Escarpment and Waterfront trails. Either enforce sidewalk clearing and sanding or accept that this is a City duty. We are a winter city. Let's have some action on this!!

November 22, 2019. More than 80% of adolescents not active enough, warns WHO, Sedentary lifestyles focused on screens are jeopardising health, says World Health Organization. "Adolescents are recommended to do an hour’s moderate to vigorous physical activity a day, including walking or cycling to school and playing games."

A map looking at walking, the city's Bicyle Network Plan and highways not including an underpass under the coming highway upgrade. This seems to put the government's strategy for climate change in question. Highways doesn't see health, community development, less focus on cars as part of things I'm thinking.

November 18, 2019. 17-mile hike to unite San Fancisco A motley alliance decided a single trail could unite this divided city. SF Crosstown Trail neat. How's our Yukon River Trail coming?

November 15, 2019. Downtown observations from a walker

November 10, 2019. New loop : Long Lake-Fat Tire, a 10.1 loop with hills, views, forest.

November 9, 2019. Want a more active lifestyle, to drive less and walk more? Check out these walkable downtown destinations!

November 6, 2019. Here's what happens when cancer patients are prescribed exercise

October31, 2019 So how many kids did you get tonight? We're at 8!

Why the ‘Trick-or-Treat Test’ Still Matters Community designers have this same discussion every year, for good reason.

October 30, 2019. Why Walk? 100 reasons

October 29, 2019. “A livable city is a city where people live because they want to, not because they have to,”Maria Vassilakou, Vienna’s former deputy mayor.

October 23, 2019. We feel what we hear: The impact of sound on our well-being The takeaway...get some time in nature!

October 19, 2018. Urban density done right now to find a good article on winter cities and walking!

October 3, 2019. Collision course: why are cars killing more and more pedestrians? "factors such as the design and condition of the road, the quality (or absence) of a marked pedestrian crossing, the speed limit, the local lighting, the weight and height of the car involved."

September 30, 2019. "Cities are primarily for living, and that transportation needs to complement rather than displace that life." What Does This Street In Zürich Mean?

September 24, 2019. Bicycle path winter maintenance in Oulu, Finland


September 23, 2019. Walking, friendship and tiramisu: Genoa’s centenarians share secrets of longevity Walking — no warranty for long life, but you do get an entertaining activity!!

Interesting article on our Hillcrest page about public consultation. Most public engagement is worse than worthless

September 11, 2019. Thought I’d see what was new before I waded in on the culvert. Step 1 is to read the Pedestrian System Connectivity Guide. Step 2 is to find the summary doc from the closed Alaska Highway Engagement Survey. Step 3 is to read up on the roundabouts (like why can Europe do them so easily and not Whitehorse) https://letstalkhillcrest.ca/highway-upgrades

September 4, 2019. The five-minute walk

We need a pedestrian culvert at north end of airport to cross Alaska Highway Dan Bader found this neat underpass

August 15, 2019. Technology at work Versatile, portable exosuit assists with both walking and running

August 6, 2019. San Francisco Legalizes Itself Parking. What's the story around downtown parking?

CityLab University: Induced Demand When traffic-clogged highways are expanded, new drivers quickly materialize to fill them. What gives? Here’s how “induced demand” works. (Alaska Highway?)

July 28, 2019. Walking neighbourhoods A walking neighbourhood is a safe and welcoming place to be a pedestrian. Residents have easy access to streets with plantings and a variety of green spaces - from community gardens and allotments, to pocket parks and city farms. Networks of green walking routes connect people from their doorsteps to the places they want to go. UK-based Rambler's initiative but unless we see neighbourhoods as walley villages that don't want stranger in their woods.....

‘It’s a superpower’: how walking makes us healthier, happier and brainier

July 22, 2019. Slamming a fist into that 'please-let-me-cross' button again

July 16. More on city growth: The City of Whitehorse is currently in Phase 2 of an OCP review which is called “Explore New Concepts”. It takes some of the big ideas collected from the public in Phase 1 and exploring them in more detail. A major part of Phase 2 is the OCP Ideas Workbook at www.whitehorse.ca/ocp. It contains over 20 questions on a number of big topics, including transportation and recreation; return by August 4.

July 14, 2019. Walkers are middle aged, hikers are cool. No longer just an activity for older people with sticks, rambling in the countryside is catching on with a new generation

July 9, 2019. One place to stay in the know on the Highway project, and to give feedback is Highway's project site https://letstalkhillcrest.ca

This would be us:  The resulting densities are also too low to sustain high-frequency public transit. Line from an interesting article. Talks about how 'mundane road regulations embed automobile supremacy into federal, state, and local law'. Good article as we talk about updating the OCP, updating the perennial downtown parking plan and twin the Alaska Highway.

July 3, 2019. Top 10 books about walking in Britain

Before the late 18th century most people walked only because they had to, or if they were on pilgrimage. Walking was the preserve of the horseless poor.

June 28, 2019. June 30, 2019 is the 3rd Reckless Raven. Here's a peek at the route! Sunday we'll do our 3rd annual Cheer on the Ravens Hike.

June 25, 2019. Pedestrian safety: SF's plan to increase crossing times between signals

June 21, 2019.If you go out in the woods today, you'll surely walk into catepillers dangling on thin threads. Go've gotten face fulls! This page needs a key to the booklets but none the less, the info's here.

June 4, 2019. 225 miles and 100 parks: one woman's epic hike around New York City why walking in our cities is important for our well-being

May 13, 2019. City with a female face: how modern Vienna was shaped by women “if you want to do something for women, do something for pedestrians”.

April 18, 2019. An update to my input to YESAB for the Range Road extension.

April 14, 2019. I heard by the proverbial grapevine that there was federal funding looking for shovel-ready trail projects. I thought I'd respond with some things I see as we walk around Whitehorse. I called it Shovel-ready, a selection of trail ideas from a walking point of view. Stuff for walkers, runners, and bicyclists as we share the same trails! Feel free to suggest other things.

if you have access to a colour tabloid, double-sided printer (flip on short edge) you can use this pdf to print a booklet version:

April 14, 2019. The healing power of being in nature — go for a walk!

Bored with your walks? No time to walk? Think lunch hour or after supper, a walk with a friend, kids, or if hosting guests and want to dazzle them! Here's some 1-3-km loop walks around town that are easily accessible, with some parking, and provide a treat: a pond, a spot by a river, a cliff, a view, an unusual hike, or maybe a nice neighbourhood walk...?

March 7, 2019. Range Road extension and walking. My YESAB submission.

March 4, 2019. Teen helped off clay cliffs A teenager rescued from the clay cliffs Sunday was not injured, the Whitehorse Fire Department said this morning. This is the area the downtown south area development scheme says needs a staircase.

February 20, 2019. Short Loop Walks The healing power of being in nature — go for a walk! Bored with your walks? No time to walk? Think lunch hour or after supper, a walk with a friend, kids, or if hosting guests and want to dazzle them! Here's some 1-3-km loop walks around town that are easily accessible, with some parking, and provide a treat: a pond, a spot by a river, a cliff, a view, an unusual hike, or maybe a nice neighbourhood walk...?

February 2, 2019. Watch this York student struggle to get to class in a wheelchair due to uncleared snow

January 21, 2019. Worst walk on my commute is city-owned. A winter city doesn't have to be this painful

January 7, 2019. there's some senior-focussed events on the walking ideas for active elders page

January 5, 2019. A senior’s resolution: No more falling down in 2019

January 2, 2019. A stark illustration of how much light pollution obscures the stars

Next OCP is in process. This one will be for 20 years!!! So it's a good time to think about your ideas on community values. How can we up the ante on walkability? Are there things we can do to make a more vibrant downtown?

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pjl at whitehorsewalks period com