FAQ, Rules and Accessibility

What to expect while visiting during COVID-19

Last updated: Mar 25, 2022

There are currently no restrictions impacting public visiting the Yukon Wildlife Preserve.

The majority of COVID restrictions have been phased out by the Yukon Government and the Office of the Chief Medical Officer. The Preserve has a Safe Work Practice for mitigating risks within the workplace.

Currently:

Masks are not required for bus tours or inside any YWP buildings.

The Reception Cabin is open to the public. Masks are not required and there is no capacity limit.

Proof-of-vaccination is not required to visit the Yukon Wildlife Preserve or to participate in a guided bus tour.

Please respect the personal space of other visitors!

You cannot visit the Yukon Wildlife Preserve if you have been ordered to self-isolate. Please do not visit if you are experiencing COVID symptoms.

Rules

While you enjoy your time with us please remember:

  • No feeding the animals
  • No touching the animals
  • No smoking (smoking is only allowed in the designated area at the Front Parking Lot)
  • No Alcohol / Drugs
  • No drones / UAVs
Risks and Dangers

The Preserve takes pride in providing a safe, accessible environment to have special encounters with wildlife. That said, there are still some risks and dangers in visiting the Preserve:

Wild Animals

The Preserve is surrounded by a sea of wilderness and many of the Preserve’s animals (and their food) are wildlife attractants. As a result we see a host of wild animals using the Preserve. This includes Foxes, Snowshoe Hares, Arctic Ground Squirrels, Red Squirrels, and many species of birds. However, we also occasionally receive visits from lynx, coyotes, wolves, bears (black and grizzly) and porcupines.

What you can do to stay safe:
What we’re doing to keep you safe:
  • Visitors should stay aware of their surroundings while walking / biking / skiing / kicksledding on site.
  • You are also welcome to carry bearspray as an additional safety measure, in the event you encounter a bear.
  • Please call 867-456-7300 and notify us if you see wild lynx, coyotes, wolves, bears or porcupines during your visit.
  • We take a number of steps to deter lynx, coyotes, wolves, bears and porcupines, including fencing, electric fencing, and regular patrols. Sightings are infrequent, but do occur.
  • Preserve staff take swift action to ensure your safety. The Preserve conducts drills (including “bears on site” scenarios) to ensure we’re prepared.
  • The Preserve works closely with CO Services in these situations to ensure all people and animals are safe.

Captive Animals

The species in human care at the Preserve can also be dangerous – they are large, untrained animals after all!

What you can do to stay safe:
What we’re doing to keep you safe:
  • Please refrain from touching or feeding any of our animals. Touching or feeding significantly increases the danger to you and the animal.
  • The Preserve also uses stand-off barriers, both outside and inside many of the habitats. However, not all habitats have a double barrier.
  • We also post signs reminding you to not to touch or feed our animals. This is reiterated in our rules as well.
  • Finally, the Preserve conducts drills for animal escapes.

Slips, Trips and Falls

The Preserve is spread out over a large, natural site. While the gravel roads offer a level walking surface, visitors will also find loose gravel, sticks, Arctic Ground squirrel holes, snowy/icy slippery areas, overhanging branches and other natural hazards.

What you can do to stay safe:
What we’re doing to keep you safe:
  • We recommend taking your time and ensuring you are evaluating your own capabilities and aren’t taking any unnecessary risks.
  • We recommend choosing proper footwear for the conditions (i.e. warm boots in winter, comfortable shoes for walking, etc)
  • The Preserve does its best to mitigate natural hazards in high traffic areas (for example sanding icy areas in front of popular viewing areas), but it’s impossible to eliminate all of these hazards.
  • In winter we also post signs at the top of steep hills to ensure visitors do not end up descending a steep hill without warning.

Weather

The Preserve is an outdoor experience in Canada’s North. We experience extended periods of very cold weather, strong winds and some hot days.

What you can do to stay safe:
What we’re doing to keep you safe:
  • We recommend dressing appropriately for the weather and your level of activity. Dressing in layers can help you adjust to the conditions throughout your visit.
  • Especially on winter bus tours, where you are less active but also outside in cold weather, we recommend dressing warmer than you think you need to. You can always remove excess clothing, but you can’t add clothing you didn’t bring with you!
  • The Preserve has limited indoor facilities. Our vehicles and the Front Cabin are heated.
  • The Preserve closes to the public in extreme cold temperatures. See our Cold Weather Policy below for more on this.
  • In the event that you find yourself succumbing to the elements and are finding it difficult to retain to your vehicle at the front, please flag down one of our staff OR call for help at 867-456-7300.
Drones and Film / Photography

We welcome you to take photos or videos on your phone or camera for personal use. Use of drones at the YWP are not permitted by public.

If you wish to take photo/film for commercial purposes (including sales, stock photo sales, commercials, documentaries, etc.,) you must book in advance and special fees apply. Please see Commerical Film and Photography program for more.

Flying a drone or any UAV is possible under our Commerical Film and Photography program, but has special requirements, including insurance requirements and compliance with Transport Canada legal requirements. This must be booked in advance.

How long does it take?

Most people spend 1.5 to 2.5 hours exploring the Preserve. It depends on your groups interests and needs.

Bus tours last approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.

Walking can be as little as 1.5 hours but up to 3. The figure-8 loop is 5km (3 miles) in length. Many people can walk that much faster, but when you factor in looking at animals, taking photos and maybe a picnic, it can make for a relaxed half-day.

Families with toddlers might consider just the bottom loop (for a 45-90 minute option), but with a stroller can also tackle the full loop.

What Should I Wear?

 

As an outdoor facility, with no publically accesible covered and warmed buildings, you should dress for the season and variable weather. Check out the current weather at our facility! Closed-toe shoes are recommended with variability for season including running shoes, hikers or an insulated boot for the winter. Weather can change quickly and dramatically in our region, layers are important to staying warm and dry. We recommend packing some with you whether you self-propel through the facility or join a guided tour to ensure you can enjoy your expereoince from start to finish!  

 

Can I bring my dog?

No, we do not permit dogs onto the Yukon Wildlife Preserve site. We also require that dogs remain in your vehicle while parked in the front parking lot. If you wish to let your dog out of the vehicle, we ask that you please exit the parking lot before you do so.

Although many dogs are well trained, wildlife in close proximity to dogs increases the risk to both the animals at the Preserve and your dog.

What about Service Animals?

We do our very best to accommodate people with service animals; however, due to the nature of our site, there are some restrictions. For the best experience, please connect with us ahead of your visit at info@yukonwildlife.ca or 867-456-7400.

Can we drive through?

We don’t allow personal vehicles onsite. But we do allow people to bring and use their own bicycles, kicksleds, cross-country skis, strollers, wagons, etc!

We do offer guided bus tours and can accommodate special groups.

Can we bring food or a picnic?

Yes, we encourage you to bring snacks or lunch to enjoy on-site. The Preserve Reception Gift Shop sells ice cream treats but otherwise does not have food services. Snack and lunches can be enjoyed at the Reception area picnic tables. Within the Preserve and along the trail there are additional picnic tables.

Please do not feed any animals and ensure you keep a clean site and use the garbage recpticles for any waste and recycling. 

Is drinking water available at the Preserve?

Please bring your own water. The Reception Cabin is a dry facility. A pop machine with a selection of soda, juices and water is available for purchase. Please note this machine is out of order during winter months, mid-October to April. 

Is the Yukon Wildlife Preserve wheel chair accessible?

 Yes and no.

The front parking lot and roads are gravel covered.

Outhouses and buildings marked on the map are wheelchair accessible and accessible by ramps. However, the door sill at front reception and learning centre are slightly raised.

All viewing platforms (except muskox) are accessible by ramp. There is typically good viewing from many spots along the roadway as well.

We have a fully accessible low-floor 22 passenger bus for our guided bus tour experiences.  This bus can accommodate 2 wheelchairs. Please call to book your seat in advance to ensure availability.

What's the parking situation? Can I park my ... ?

We have a large parking lot at the front. We typically have adequate room for half-a-dozen or more RVs to park and maneuver comfortably. On busy days, space can be more limited. However on all but the busiest days, there is space available.

Cold Weather Policy
  • At 10am, if temperatures at the YWP are at -35.0°C or colder YWP will delay opening from 11:30am to 2:00pm.
  • At 1pm, if temperatures at the YWP are still at -35.0°C or colder YWP will remain closed for the remainder of the day. At 1pm, if temperatures are warmer than -35.0°C, the YWP will open for the day at 2:00pm.
  • Temperatures are measured from YWP weather station above and do not include windchill. YWP will notify all affected bookings. For past weather data, see the Preserve’s Weather Underground page (use the gear icon at top right to switch between Fahrenheit and Celsius
  • YWP reserves the right to deny entry to visitors who are inadequately prepared for extreme cold conditions.
Will you be open when I visit in... ?

Maybe! Check our upcoming hours here. Otherwise, get in touch at info@yukonwildlife.ca.

Typically we are open:

  • 7 days a week year-round

We also are open on holidays, including all local and national holidays:

  • Statutory holidays (except Christmas day)

 

Do you accept ______ form of payment... ?

We accept cash, credit or debit. 

Cash – both CDN and USD. Please note at this time USD is only accepted at par. 
Credit Cards – Mastercard, Visa, Amex, Discovery are all accepted with tap, chip or pin. 
Debit – Currently we only accept debit tap. 

Should you need to withdraw cash, Takhini Gas Station (at the corner of the Klondike Hwy and Takhini Hot Springs Rd turn off) has an ATM. 

 

Become a Sponsor

Our mission is to connect our visitors to the natural world through memorable experiences in large natural landscapes. We care for Yukon’s most vulnerable wildlife and build nature literacy through engaging programs. Join us in building communities that are wild at heart!

Yukon Wildlife Preserve
Box 20191
Whitehorse, Yukon
Y1A 7A2

Proud member of:

CAZA Logo

With the support of:

Yukon Government Logo