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Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Yukon’s border set to open for first time since COVID  

DAWSON CITY, Yukon (CU)_The ferry has started to operate and the highway has been cleared of snow. Yukon’s tourism industry is abuzz with anticipation as Canada’s most northern border is set to reopen next week for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The Poker Creek–Little Gold Creek Border Crossing, which separates Yukon from Alaska, is the main tourist route for those visiting Dawson City, a small mining and tourism town along the Yukon River. The border cross is opened during the summer months. Accordingly, it last operated on 22 September, 2019, following which the pandemic triggered border closures in 2020. According to Ricky Mawunganidze, the executive director of the Klondike Visitors Association in Dawson City, with the border set to reopen on 1 June, local businesses are eager for the season to begin.

“Our operators are experiencing high occupancy already. We’re getting a lot of calls from people looking to come in June, which is the time when we start to get busy,” he said in an interview. “Right now, folks are just getting themselves organized, and there’s definitely a positive buzzabout the potential for more tourists coming in.”

The border crossing is located on the Top of the World Highway, which begins at a junction with the Taylor Highway near Jack Wade, Alaska traveling east to the ferry terminal in West Dawson, Yukon. In order to access the border from Dawson City, one must take a short ferry trip across the Yukon River, then a drive of about 100km.

According to Mawunganidze, the border is also considered a channel for “family connection”, particularly for the First Nation community in the area. “This year is going to be a Moosehide Gathering year, which is the traditional gathering forTr’ondek Hwech’in, which hasn’t been able to happen for the past few years,” he said. “A lot of their Alaskan family will be coming over for that in July, so the border opening is critical to that continuation of culture and history.”

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