Yukon AGM 2017

 

The Northern Lights Have Seen Queer Sights… 

May 2017 ACC AGM and Section Forum, Whitehorse

The bald eagle dipped down to take a closer look at the group of kayakers that had just frightened away a school of salmon he’d had his eyes on for lunch. He had spotted the fish from his nest at the top of a tall subalpine fir, the official tree of the Yukon Territory. One of the kayakers appeared to have missed the final turn to the pick-up point on the Yukon River, and was madly flailing in her efforts to rejoin the bigger group. 

“No worries”, she hollered, “I took a course last summer.” 

“You wouldn’t know it!” another rejoined, to general boisterous laughter.

 A group of kayakers on the river.

A group of kayakers on the river.

The group of kayakers was part of a contingent of almost three dozen Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) Board members, National Office staff, and section representatives from across Canada, who had converged in Whitehorse a few days ago to celebrate some very special occasions:  the 150th anniversary of Canada, the 50th anniversary of the Yukon Alpine Centennial Expedition (YACE); and a celebration of the creation of the Yukon’s first ACC section.

“How long are they planning to be here?” the Bald Eagle asked his buddies the Woodland Caribou and the Beaver later over brews at The Miner’s Daughter. The three friends enjoyed hitting the bar early, to take advantage of the happy hour prices. So did the Alpine Club group apparently, raucously reviewing the previous day’s hike up the King’s Throne in Kluane National Park.  It had taken the group five hours to complete the 8 hour hike, a 1250-metre elevation gain over 7.5 km. “You’d think they’d be too tired to make so much noise”, the caribou marvelled. “Well at least they’ll be in meetings at some point, so we can get some peace and quiet. The Brown Bear wants to check out the Beringia Interpretive Centre tomorrow, touch base with his ancestral peeps.”

 ACC Toronto Section Representative Katherine (Sparky) Russell hikes King’s Throne, with the Yukon’s Ruby Range in the background. Photo: Isabelle Daigneault.

ACC Toronto Section Representative Katherine (Sparky) Russell hikes King’s Throne, with the Yukon’s Ruby Range in the background. Photo: Isabelle Daigneault.

The Beringia Interpretive Centre features an area that remained ice-free during the last glaciation period in North America, and stretched from the Yukon to Siberia. A 1500-km wide land bridge between the two regions was part of this area, and provided a connection of land between Alaska and Siberia that enabled  many species of plants and animals to move from one continent to another, including horses, camels, caribou, mammoth, and wooly rhinoceros, and the first humans to arrive in North America.

 A visit to the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre was a highlight. Photo: Caroline Marion.

A visit to the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre was a highlight. Photo: Caroline Marion.

“Oh for pity’s sake!” the Brown Bear exclaimed the next day. “Here they are again!  Are they planning to do any work at all while they’re here?  Being a volunteer for the ACC sure seems like a good gig.” The Bald Eagle reassured him, saying “I had a look at an agenda one of them left on the deck of the S.S. Klondike this morning. They’ll be busy tomorrow all right – reports from Board Committees all morning, then a focus on how to implement section priorities in areas like training, leadership, volunteer recognition, administrative burden, branding, and website improvements.”

“Zzzzz” the Beaver chortled, “can you tape that last bit for me? I’ve been having trouble falling asleep the last few days and that agenda might just do the trick.” “Oh I don’t know”, the Woodland Caribou retorted, “maybe it will be more interesting than it sounds. Let’s ask the Wandering Tattler to spy on the meetings tomorrow, and give us a report.”

The Wandering Tattler and his sidekick the Red Fox arrived right on time for Saturday’s happy hour, ordering the Pinot Grigio as usual, because it really tasted like Chardonnay. “Well actually, the meeting was pretty interesting. That Alpine Club has been up to a lot in the last year. They’re digitizing every single issue of the Canadian Alpine Journal from 1907 to 2015 and putting it on line free of charge this fall. And they’re looking at hopefully building some new huts, maybe at Mount Robson, Waterton, and the Castle Wilderness Area.” “About time”, the Bald Eagle exclaimed, “It’s been a nightmare trying to book in anywhere this summer!”

 President of the ACC Neil Bosch dishing up some grub.

President of the ACC Neil Bosch dishing up some grub.

“And the sections have been busy too”, the Woodland Caribou acknowledged. “The Vancouver Island Section’s first hut is being built soon, and sections continue to offer lots of incentives and recognition to trip leaders. And you should have heard all the ideas about reducing administrative burden and improving the look and feel of the national and section websites!”

“Hey, you guys feel like taking in a movie tonight?” the Bald Eagle asked the group. “Glen Crawford and Chic Scott’s documentary on the 50th anniversary of the Yukon Alpine Centennial Museum is on at the MacBride Museum, right after the ACC Annual General Meeting. Bottoms up though, it starts in 30 minutes and I want a good seat….”

 The Whitehorse AGM featured the premiere showing of Expedition Yukon – 50 Years Later. photo: Caroline Marion

The Whitehorse AGM featured the premiere showing of Expedition Yukon – 50 Years Later. photo: Caroline Marion