A Natural Treasure

Kusawa Park is within 100 kms of Whitehorse – along the southern boundary of the Yukon, south of the Alaska Highway – making it accessible and popular with Yukon residents and tourists for canoeing, fishing, camping and hiking.

Canoeing on Kusawa Lake

The pristine Kusawa Lake watershed is set in the Coast Mountains and is known for its wildlife diversity, including important populations of Dall sheep, mountain goats, raptors, moose, black bears and grizzly bears. The watershed supports lake trout, whitefish, grayling and salmon.

It is a diverse area encompassing at least some portion of three different ecoregions, mainly the Yukon Stikine Highland and Southern Lakes ecoregions. The influence of Pacific weather systems means Kusawa experiences the warmest winters in the Yukon, contributing to the unusual biological diversity of the area.

The rugged terrain and elevation variation results in extensive areas lying above treeline, presenting considerable rock and high alpine vegetation with extensive subalpine of shrub birch and willow. This is important habitat for resident large ungulates and carnivores while the lower slopes are frequently covered in open white spruce. On lowlands in the region soapberry and willow are common with sedge often found on poorly drained locations.

Kusawa Lake is over 70 kms long, surrounded by mountains, well known for its fishing, and idyllic with more than 30 sandy beaches to explore.

Black Bear

Gyrfalcons and golden eagles are the most important birds of prey in the Kusawa area. The area features a moderate population of gyrfalcon and a relatively dense population of golden eagle. Golden eagles are the most common cliff-nesting raptor in the Yukon, some of the highest densities in North America are found in this area. A few bald eagle nests are known, Osprey are less common, no nest sites are known. There have been unconfirmed sightings of peregrine falcon in the area, but no nest sites are known.

The species mentioned above are considered vulnerable to management decisions. The Coast Mountian gyrfalcons could be one of the more vulnerable raptor populations in the Yukon due to the area’s proximity to much of the territory’s human population (Mossop pers. comm. 1993). The peregrine falcon has been classified as endangered in North America and rare in Canada (Burnett et al. 1989)

  • Kusawa Background Study, 1993