Whitehorse, Canada's wilderness walking trail city...

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Making walking better

The beauty of walking is it's always affordable and universally acknowledged as a healthy activity for all ages. In addition to making our own lives better, the things we do to improve our community walking will also attract active, inquisitive, respectful tourists.

Also look at Site map to get another way of looking at this site. One day I hope to spend a bit of time on the structural aspect of this site. Just not yet!!

A walker's look at...

Creating a walking culture

  • Yukon Walking Strategy shows how we could get creative as a community by thinking walking.
  • Stewardship: Better neighbourhood walking will come when neighbourhoods have a sense of stewardship. Here's examples of what others are doing.
  • 5 OCP City Parks: Planning is doing a small initial contract before tackling the bigger question of how to address these parks.
  • Safe roadway crossings: Both the Alaska Highway and Mountainview Drive will become 4-lane roads in the not too distant future — what about walkers needing to cross them.
  • Public right-of-ways: It can be hard finding neighbourhood short-cuts, even in your own neighbourhood. Both ends of walkways need to be clearly signed and mapped.
  • There's often an emphasis on education and codes of ethics as a way of resolving conflicts. I looked, unsuccessfully, for a code of ethics on local recreational vehicle sites. Hopefully it doesn't take a bad accident before trail safety, trail ethics becomes a topic of discussion.
  • Quiet places–Non-motorized greenspaces: One of the joys of walking can be a sense of peace. We'd all like be able to find a few places where we can savor tranquility, as recommended by the ATV task force.
  • Urban Containment Boundary highlights the city's plan to make this area the focus of future growth.
  • Zoning
  • Fiscal equality of walking as a mode of recreation, health, active transportation,
  • Culture of walking: Walking events build a sense of being a walking community. Think about how to change things so walking as an activity becomes a community focus.
  • Tourism and walking: How can Whitehorse, and the rest of the Yukon, create a niche tourism market?
  • Active transportation: study is done. Our mission, to double walking from 7% to 15%. Impossible some say.
  • Walking festival: A wilderness city, with clean air, trails, spectacular scenery, but no walking festival?
  • Some neighbourhoods cry out for needing community associations.
  • Another walking need is identifying easy, interesting, family-accommodating hikes, easy outing that allow quitting spots when a kid just isn't having fun

Outside Whitehorse

  • Mt. Sumanik Ridge, a 30-km loop walk that we could work towards building.
  • Knuckle Ridge Trail an all-season hike along the north ridge of Mount MacIntyre.
  • Reckless Raven Yukon 50 Mile Ultra: Draft route uses parts of the previous 2 ideas
  • Walking in the Yukon: List of walking opportunities in places outside Whitehorse; helpful for those who might be happy going around the Yukon and walking in the communities.
  • White Pass Border hike: At the US/Canada border on the Skagway Road is a short easy hike. It's tricky to find good walks up on the pass that you can recommend to visitors. This trail is mostly in Canada and starts at the parking lot in Canada. How can we get this hike to be at least minimally marked?
  • International Falls at the Alaska BC border is also a great hike. But, the beginning is down a steep cliff. Crazy. Needs help and has same problem as previous item—no responsible group More to come
  • Log Cabin to Bennett map This hike is all in BC
  • Yukon River Bridge to town. Part of a Yukon River trail, this needs trail work in places, especially at creek crossings and where trail along cliffs is dropping away. More to come
  • I wonder if there's a modern map showing the old traditional trail network throughout the Yukon. Something to look for.

Interpretation opportunities

  • Interpretation: Can government's Wildlife Viewing Program address a broader interpretative/safety need? Here's a chance to attract new people to the outdoors; protecting an environment.
  • Places that seem a natural for being explained — an interpreted route, or a sign or....
    - Hawk Ridge Trail
    - Paddy's Pond
    - Arkell wetlands
    - Marwell wetlands

Stories that need telling

  • First Nations: People have lived here for thousands of years and what their lives were like over these every changing and sometimes very harsh conditions is an integral story for interpreting. People want to learn more about their lives over time.
  • Geology and geography: How can we talk about interpretation without involving geography and geology? Yukon's Geological Services have done bits of public interpretation but they could present a very informative viewpoint to walkers. Wouldn't it be neat to see The Evolution of Continents focussed on Whitehorse or the Yukon.
  • Beringia and the glaciers: We have an interesting opportunity in Whitehorse to tell the fascinating story of glaciation and melting. The glacial lakes, some sense of what the Yukon River was like while the ice was melting and what it was like for First Nation people here as the ice melted and the glacial lakes drained.
  • Squirrels: We see them so often in our back yards and in the greenbelts. A recent wildlife viewing squirrel event left people astounded by the depth of knowledge local studies has built up. Let's share this!
  • Greenspace safety This is a big topic. What role does government have in thinking safety? Bears, challenging topography, mapping, how to not get lost are a start of things both residents and visitors have to deal with.
  • Trees and shrubs: One of my personal projects is to make an identification key for trees and shrubs in our neighbourhood Paddy's Pond/Ice Lake Park area. The next stage is identifying the willows that we have here. My goal is a tool that the Yukon Literacy Council approves of.
  • Wetlands: Whitehorse, and the Yukon, have many wetlands. Why is this important?
  • Spring plant life.What are the first signs of growth, the first flowers?

Overview maps

4 fairly detailed prototype maps: 65 x 28 inches ~7-8mb. Don't try to print them, just zoom in using the PDF zoom tool. Start with areas you know, like your neighbourhood, then explore.

Think about trails which you've hiked, which ones you'd recommend that visitors can safely do. If we ever get the community energy to have a walking festival here, which walks would you recommend?

  • Walking in Whitehorse. Legend
  • Walking in Whitehorse: playgrounds, public right-of-ways, trails, suggested hikes, viewpoints, trail names, motorized trails...
  • Making walking better: lots of suggestions like bridges, boardwalks, trail repair, connector trails needed. I'm trying to make a map of issues raised on this page....
  • Development as it affects walking: future development, commercial, public utility, the urban containment boundary (UCB) and the future UCB, so we know a bit more about where our city may grow...
  • The 5 OCP parks: Having thought about trails, what do we want our parks to be like?