Desigination would see Klondike area recognised by the United Nations for its history and culture
Some Dawson City placer miners are opposed to World Heritage status for parts of the Klondike, despite a letter from three levels of government pledging mineral exploration and development will not be affected by the designation. The miners raised their objections at a public meeting in Dawson City over the weekend.
An application for World Heritage status was made in January to the United Nations Educational Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), by a committee that includes representatives of the Yukon Chamber of Mines and the Klondike Placer Miners’ Association.
If granted, it would make the Klondike an area officially recognized by the United Nations for the history of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, the 1898 Gold Rush, and the activities of the people currently living there. A decision is expected before July 2018.
In a letter, Dawson City Mayor Wayne Potoroka, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation Chief Roberta Joseph and Yukon Premier Sandy Silver promise that areas inside the heritage site will not be regulated any differently than areas outside the site.
But for some miners and their supporters, there’s nothing in the designation for them except the possibility they could eventually be forced out of business, said Dawson City placer miner Marty Knutson.
“I think my big takeaway on the UNESCO proposal here is that there could possibly be a small benefit in tourism, but that seems to be on the backs of the miners and the industrial community,” Knutson said at the weekend meeting.
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