For walkers, the city is a major agent of change

February 5, 2016. Start of updating this page

September 27, 2015. Changes to the city website have broken many of the links on this page. I'll get to this soon.


From the 2010 Official Community Plan: "A vast amount of land within City Limits is undevelopable due to steep slopes, rocky outcrops, lakes, and water courses. Whitehorse is located in a valley between two mountain ranges, with the Yukon River flowing through the valley bottom. The numerous watercourses have also created several steep and potentially unstable escarpments within the City."

The City of Whitehorse tagline is 'the wilderness city.' Some say we're a city surrounded by wilderness, and some that we're a city with wilderness running through it. Either way we have some of the characteristics of a wilderness city such as encounters with wild animals, or possibilities of getting lost in the woods.

To be able to plan effectively, we need to understand how the city functions, and city structure, including committees. So, this page examines the city's organization as it pertains to trails and greenspaces, as well as various mission statements, principles, visions, priorities, goals and objectives, plans, by-laws, committees, policies — things like the Trail Plan, Parks and Recreation Master Plan, snowmobile and ATV by-laws.

Some publications that offer insights on walking:...





.......... below not recently updated yet

There's a Whitehorse Trails Committee made up of varying government departments — First Nation, Yukon Government and City of Whitehorse — which is meeting monthly. Trail Plan also refers to Whitehorse Trail Technical Committee made up of government land use managers.

They currently have two neighbourhood trail task forces in process, both more area or district in nature, with neighbourhoods being about 1/3 of each task force. Each task force has a running group, a mountain bike group and three motorized vehicle groups. One task forces is only designating motorized mult-use trails and in the other, they're also designating non-motorized trails.

Additionally, the department is setting up a new Trail and Greenways committee which has a requirement to balance motorized and non-motorized groups. Website with minutes.

(Klondike Snowmobile Club call themselves advocates for environmental stewardship and stewards of the multi-use trail system. Parks and trails meet regularly with them and have given them automatic seats on Trail and Greenways Committee and each neighbourhood trail task force.)

For walkers, most of us choose to walk without sharing a trail with recreational vehicles. In reality, they can be fast, loud and smelly so we'd choose to walk where there were no motor vehicles. It's the Yukon after all, and a wilderness city. Rather than have vehicles allowed in every area, sharing could mean having non-motorized areas.

Trails Maintenance Policy

To add to the story of who does what, this 2008 policy specifically excludes the following:
(1) Trails not identified in the 2008 "Guide to Popular Trails of Whitehorse";
(2) Sidewalks and public rights-of-way;
(3) Parks and playgrounds;
(4) Greenbelts and/or environmental protection areas; and,
(5) All other trails not specifically designated as Priority Trails under this policy as defined in Appendix A – Priority Trails List.

What happens with the greenbelt trails, public rights-of-way, environmental protection areas? The Parks and trails department also must look at Parks as set out in the 2010 OCP as well as Parks identified in the 2007 Trail Plan Inventory.

Active transportation

Always to be aware of is America's cities are still too afraid to make driving unappealing The City of Whitehorse, has an ongoing program to develop a city wide Active Transportation Network which encourages the use of non-motorized forms of transportation. In 2007 developed the City of Whitehorse Trail Plan. This plan provided guidance on trail planning, development and programming and includes the following guiding principles for the development of trails:

When Canada Walks (Case Study: City of Whitehorse) held a Master Class here, city staff were asked their hopes and expectations. They said:

Protected Areas Task Force

With the wording in By-law's new call for members being almost identical to the Parks and Trails' committees, it would seem that 'protected areas' will not be about the land, but rather a continuation of looking at where motorized vehicles will be allowed to go.

If it was balanced neighbourhoods urban and rural by population, then 2 trail groups, … Urban Containment Boundary, ...something different. I sat with one task force and convinced them of a couple of things that got dumped as it got back to the city and its inner workings. Too discouraging.

Organization — city functional model.

City Contact List

Organizational review: Has a final report showing major shuffles in administration, including Parks and Recreation, trails, greenspaces, transportation, Management Team Meeting.

Office of the City Manager has ...
- Strategic Communications & Customer Service; Citizens First Work Team (continuously improve the citizen experience (customer service) across all departments)
- Specialist, Communications & Promotion responsible for assisting the Manager in all internal and external communications and promotion/tourism-related efforts

CORPORATE SERVICES: mandate - supportive enabling services contributing to effective, efficient service delivery
- Financial Services: budget preparation
- Information & Business Systems: web site and mapping

DEVELOPMENT SERVICES: mandate - positive, environmentally sustainable growth
- Environmental Sustainability: Active transportation
- Planning: OCP, land use, UCB; designation of right-of-ways, zoning such as PG, PR, ES
- Engineering: roads, crossings, structures such as Black Street stairs, Millenniuum Bridge

PARKS AND RECREATION: mandate - promote and enhance quality of life, citizen engagement, community pride & heritage and appealing neighbourhoods
- By-law Services: education and enforcement; ensure quality of life in the City’s neighbourhoods
- Outreach & Events; Group liaison and community engagement/ outreach activities; Community engagement advisory & coordination support to other departments; Events & festivals; Volunteer coordination; Community Outreach Work Team (City needs to improve its interaction with the community and citizens)
- Parks and Trails: Parks, trails & open space planning; Maintenance of City parklands, trails, playground areas, open space

Mayor and Council


Major City of Whitehorse planning


Selected By-laws more relevant to walkers

Policies adopted by city council