Chadburn Lake Park
Chadburn Lake Park is a public asset that provides access to world-class wilderness at our doorstep. It is the largest park in a Canadian municipality, over 18 times larger than Vancouver’s Stanley Park. The area was designated in 2010 as one of the five Whitehorse Regional Parks. Read on below to learn more about the park area.
Chadburn Lake Park is one of five Regional Parks located within the municipality of the City of Whitehorse. The city and its parks are located within the traditional territories of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council.
Chadburn Lake Park covers 7,550 hectares of City and Yukon Government owned lands, east of the Yukon River. The park boundary extends from Croucher Creek in the north to just past Chadburn Lake in the south, and from the eastern shores of the Yukon River and Schwatka Lake to the eastern municipal boundary.
The park encompasses four major lake areas:
- Chadburn Lake
- Chadden Lake
- Hidden Lakes
- Long Lake
Some notable features and amenities located within the park include:
- Biathlon Yukon lease area
- Canyon City and the historic Macaulay Tramway route
- Chadburn Lake Day Use Area
- Croucher Creek
- Fish stocked lakes (Hidden Lakes 1 and 3, Chadden Lake, and Long Lake)
- Grey Mountain
- Livingstone Trail
- Miles Canyon
- Rotary Cabins near Chadburn Lake
- Schwatka Lake Day Use Area
- Whitehorse Rifle and Pistol Club lease area
The following land parcels are excluded from the Chadburn Lake Park boundary:
- First Nations parcels
- A privately owned parcel located next to Grey Mountain Road
- Grey Mountain Cemetery
- City snow dump
As per the City’s Zoning Bylaw, there are three types of zoning that currently apply to Chadburn Lake Park:
- PE – Environmental Protection
- PG – Greenbelt
- PR – Parks and Recreation
The purpose of the PE and PG zones is to preserve areas in a natural state, with development limited to trails and interpretive facilities. Recreational uses such as beaches, boat launches, day use cabins, and outdoor participant recreation services are allowed as conditional uses in these zones, subject to a City Council approval process. The PR zone allows active recreational uses requiring facilities and/or infrastructure. This zone is limited to the Chadburn Lake Day Use Area, the Whitehorse Rifle and Pistol Club lease area, and part of the Biathlon Yukon lease area.
Development within the park requires the issuance of a development permit from the City, and typically requires a lease or license of occupation obtained from Yukon Government.
Park planning within Whitehorse is guided by the City’s 2007 Parks and Recreation Master Plan and the 2007 Trails Master Plan. These plans lay out a high-level vision and framework for park and trail management throughout the municipality. The Chadburn Lake Park Management Plan (in progress) will be consistent with these plans, and contain a finer level of detail for managing the resources and amenities located with the park.
Activities on park lands are regulated by the 2015 Parks and Public Open Space Bylaw (Bylaw 2015-20). The Bylaw provides regulations on trail use, permitted activities, permitting processes, and enforcement. Temporary activities in the park are additionally governed by the Use of City Parks and Paved Trails Policy, and the Lease, Encroachment, and Property Use Policy. City parks are also subject to the 2015 Parks Maintenance Policy and 2015 Trails Maintenance Policy. These policies describe, by priority, which municipal parks (Regional and urban) are to be maintained and to what level of service standard as designated by City Council.
Three major gravel roads provide access within Chadburn Lake Park:
- Chadburn Lake Road
- Grey Mountain Road
- Long Lake Road
These roads branch off into smaller access roads that lead to lakes, trails, and other areas. Parking is available in designated locations throughout the park.
Chadburn Lake Park contains an extensive network of formal and informal trails, some of which connect directly to the Riverdale neighbourhood. Many of these trails can be viewed in the following guides:
- A Guide to Popular Trails of Whitehorse
- Walks in the 5 OCP Parks (WhitehorseWalks)
- Yukon River Trail Marathon Map (Yukon River Trail Marathon)
Trail use designations for trails on the east side of the Yukon River were adopted by City Council in 2014 following an extensive consultation period. The East Yukon River Trails Map identifies Motorized Multi-use (MMU) Trails on the east side of the Yukon River, including within Chadburn Lake Park.
There are many popular activities that occur within Chadburn Lake Park. These include:
- Berry picking
- Bird watching and other wildlife viewing
- Cross country skiing
- Fat biking
- Mountain biking
- Rock climbing
- Stand-up paddle boarding
- Trail walking/hiking
If you participate in an activity that is not listed above, let us know about it!
There are several formal and informal day use and boat launch areas located within Chadburn Lake Park. The eastern shore of Schwatka Lake is included in the park boundary, and features a day use area at the south end of the shore. This is the primary location to launch motorized boats on Schwatka Lake (a secondary launch is located on the west shore). Paddlers also launch from this area, while sail boats launch from the north end of the east shore. Another day use area and launch site are located at Chadburn Lake. Paddling is popular in all of the major lake areas.
Yukon Geological Survey prepared a poster with an overview of some of the Geological features of the Chadburn Lake Park area. Click on the image to download the poster.
Chadburn Lake Park has a rich geological and cultural history. The City has commissioned a Historic Resources Overview Assessment for the area, which is currently in progress. The City is working with Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council to help inform the Chadburn Lake Park planning process.
Some heritage information is available online:
- From Trail to Tramway: The archaeology of Canyon City (Yukon Government, Culture & Tourism)
- Historic Sites Map, 2002 OCP
- Chadburn Lake Park is home to a variety of wildlife. While the City does not have a direct role in wildlife management, it is responsible for administering land use policies and bylaws that can affect, and help to protect, wildlife habitat. Some wildlife information is available online:
- Angler’s Guide to Yukon Stocked Lakes (Government of Yukon)
- Caribou Herd Ranges (Government of Yukon)
- Wildlife in Whitehorse: A guide to our natural areas (Government of Yukon)
- Wildlife Key Areas (Yukon Government, Environment)
There are many groups, clubs, associations, societies, and NGOs that are active in Chadburn Lake Park. These include:
- Active Trails Whitehorse Association
- Alpine Club of Yukon
- Association of Yukon Paragliders and Hang Gliders
- Athletics Yukon
- Biathlon Yukon
- Contagious Mountain Bike Club
- Klondike Snowmobile Association
- Midnight Sun Dive Club
- Riverdale Community Association
- Rotary Club
- Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club
- Whitehorse Rifle and Pistol Club
- Whitehorse Trail and Greenways Committee
- Yukon River Trail Marathon Club
- Yukon Bird Club
- Yukon Breeze Sailing Society
- Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club
- Yukon Conservation Society
- Yukon Education
- Yukon Fish and Game Association
- Yukon Medieval Combat Group
- Yukon Orienteering Association
If your group uses the park, but is not indicated above, let us know about it!