View of the Yukon River near Whitehorse, Yukon
Location of the Yukon River and watershed
|Native name||Kuigpak, Ooghekuhno', Tth'echu'|
|Source||Llewellyn Glacier at Atlin Lake|
|• location||Atlin District, British Columbia, Canada|
|• elevation||669 m (2,195 ft)|
|Kusilvak, Alaska, United States|
|0 m (0 ft)|
|Length||3,190 km (1,980 mi)|
|Basin size||854,700 km2 (330,000 sq mi)|
|• average||6,430 m3/s (227,000 cu ft/s)|
|• minimum||340 m3/s (12,000 cu ft/s)|
|• maximum||24,600 m3/s (870,000 cu ft/s)|
|• left||White River, Tanana River|
|• right||Tagish River, Takhini River, Teslin River, Big Salmon River, Pelly River, Stewart River, Klondike River, Birch Creek, Koyukuk River|
The Yukon River (Gwich'in: Ųųg Han or Yuk Han, Yup'ik: Kuigpak, Inupiaq: Kuukpak, Southern Tutchone: Chu Nìikwän) is a major watercourse of northwestern North America. The river's source is in British Columbia, Canada, from which it flows through the Canadian Yukon Territory (itself named after the river). The lower half of the river lies in the U.S. state of Alaska. The river is 3,190 kilometres (1,980 mi) long and empties into the Bering Sea at the Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta. The average flow is 6,430 m3/s (227,000 ft3/s). The total drainage area is 832,700 km2 (321,500 mi2), of which 323,800 km2 (126,300 mi2) is in Canada. The total area is more than 25% larger than Texas or Alberta.
The longest river in Alaska and Yukon, it was one of the principal means of transportation during the 1896–1903 Klondike Gold Rush. A portion of the river in Yukon—"The Thirty Mile" section, from Lake Laberge to the Teslin River—is a national heritage river and a unit of Klondike Gold Rush International Historical Park.Paddle-wheel riverboats continued to ply the river until the 1950s, when the Klondike Highway was completed. After the purchase of Alaska by the United States in 1867, the Alaska Commercial Company acquired the assets of the Russian-American Company and constructed several posts at various locations on the Yukon River.
The Yukon River has had a history of pollution from military installations, dumps, wastewater, and other sources. [ citation needed ] However, the Environmental Protection Agency does not list the Yukon River among its impaired watersheds, and water quality data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows relatively good levels of turbidity, metals, and dissolved oxygen. The Yukon and Mackenzie rivers have much higher suspended sediment concentrations than the great Siberian Arctic rivers.
The Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, a cooperative effort of 70 First Nations and tribes in Alaska and Canada, has the goal of making the river and its tributaries safe to drink from again by supplementing and scrutinizing government data.
The name Yukon, or ųųg han, is a contraction of the words in the Gwich'in phrase chųų gąįį han, which means white water river and refers to "the pale colour" of glacial runoff in the Yukon River.The contraction is Ųųg Han, if the /ųų/ remains nasalized, or Yuk Han, if there is no vowel nasalization. In 1843, the Holikachuks had told the Russian-American Company that their name for the river was Yukkhana and that this name meant big river. However, Yukkhana does not literally correspond to a Holikachuk phrase that means big river. Then, two years later, the Gwich'ins told the Hudson's Bay Company that their name for the river was Yukon and that the name meant white water river. White water river in fact corresponds to Gwich'in words that can be shortened to form Yukon. Because the Gwich’ins had been trading regularly with the Holikachuks, and because the Holikachuks had also been trading regularly with Yup'iks, the Holikachuks had been in a position to borrow the Gwich'in contraction and to conflate its meaning with the meaning of Kuigpak [River-big], which is the Yup'ik name for the same river. For that reason, the documentary evidence reflects that the Holikachuks had borrowed the contraction Ųųg Han [White Water River] from Gwich'in, and erroneously assumed that this contraction had the same literal meaning as the corresponding Yup'ik name Kuigpak [River-big].
The Lewes River is the former name of the upper course of the Yukon, from Marsh Lake to the confluence of the Pelly River at Fort Selkirk.
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The generally accepted source of the Yukon River is the Llewellyn Glacier at the southern end of Atlin Lake in British Columbia. Others suggest that the source is Lake Lindeman at the northern end of the Chilkoot Trail. Either way, Atlin Lake flows into Tagish Lake (via the Atlin River), as eventually does Lake Lindeman after flowing into Bennett Lake. Tagish Lake then flows into Marsh Lake (via the Tagish River). The Yukon River proper starts at the northern end of Marsh Lake, just south of Whitehorse. Some argue that the source of the Yukon River should really be Teslin Lake and the Teslin River, which has a larger flow when it reaches the Yukon at Hootalinqua. The upper end of the Yukon River was originally known as the Lewes River until it was established that it actually was the Yukon. North of Whitehorse, the Yukon River widens into Lake Laberge, made famous by Robert W. Service's "The Cremation of Sam McGee". Other large lakes that are part of the Yukon River system include Kusawa Lake (into the Takhini River) and Kluane Lake (into the Kluane and then White River).
The river passes through the communities of Whitehorse, Carmacks, (just before the Five Finger Rapids) and Dawson City in Yukon, and crossing Alaska into Eagle, Circle, Fort Yukon, Stevens Village, Rampart, Tanana, Ruby, Galena, Nulato, Grayling, Holy Cross, Russian Mission, Marshall, Pilot Station, St. Marys (which is accessible from the Yukon at Pitkas Point), and Mountain Village. After Mountain Village, the main Yukon channel frays into many channels, sprawling across the delta. There are a number of communities after the "head of passes," as the channel division is called locally: Nunum Iqua, Alakanuk, Emmonak, and Kotlik. Of those delta communities, Emmonak is the largest with roughly 760 people in the 2000 census. Emmonak's gravel airstrip is the regional hub for flights.
Navigational obstacles on the Yukon River are the Five Finger Rapids and Rink Rapids downstream from Carmacks.
Despite its length, there are only four vehicle-carrying bridges across the river:
A car ferry crosses the river at Dawson City in the summer; it is replaced by an ice bridge over the frozen river during the winter. Plans to build a permanent bridge were announced in March 2004, although they are currently on hold because bids came in much higher than budgeted.
There are also two pedestrian-only bridges in Whitehorse, as well as a dam across the river and a hydroelectric generating station. The construction of the dam flooded the White Horse Rapids, which gave the city its name, and created Schwatka Lake.
The river flows into several parklands and refuges including:
Some of the upper slopes of this watershed (e.g. Nulato Hills) are forested by Black Spruce.This locale near the Seward Peninsula represents the near westernmost limit of the Black Spruce, Picea mariana, one of the most widespread conifers in northern North America.
The Yukon River is home to one of the longest salmon runs in the world. Each year Chinook, coho, and chum salmon return to their terminal streams in Alaska, the Yukon Territories, and British Columbia. The Chinook have the longest journey, with an estimated 35–50% bound for Canada. As salmon do not eat during their spawning migration, Yukon River salmon must have great reserves of fat and energy to fuel their thousands-mile long journey. As a result, Yukon River salmon are noted for their especially rich and oily meat.
The villages along the Yukon have historically relied on and continue to rely on salmon for their cultural, subsistence, and commercial needs. Salmon are traditionally dried, smoked, and frozen for both human and sled-dog consumption. Common methods of fishing on the Yukon include set gillnets, drift nets, dip nets, and fish wheels. The preference of certain gear is largely dependent on the river's varied characteristics in different areas. Some parts of the river do not have eddies to make set-nets successful, whereas in other places the tributaries are small enough to make drifting impractical.
Over the last 20 years salmon recruitment, the number of returning adults, has taken several shocks. The late 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s have been marked by radically reduced runs for various salmon species. The United States Department of Commerce issued a Federal Disaster Declaration for the 2008 and 2009 Commercial Chinook Yukon River fisheries, calling for the complete closure of commercial fishing along with restrictions on subsistence fishing. The root cause of these poor returns remains debated, with questions about the effects of climate change on ocean food-supply & disease prevalence in returning adults, the methods of fishing used on the river, and the effects of the Bering Sea Pollock trawl fleet on food supply and salmon bycatch. 7.5 inches (190 mm).In 2010, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game's Board of Fisheries issued the first-ever restriction for net mesh size on the Yukon, reducing it to
Various organizations are involved to protect healthy salmon runs into the future. The Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association was formed in 1990 by consensus of fishers representing the entire drainage in response to recent disaster years. Its organizational goals include giving voice to the village fishers that have traditionally managed these resources, enabling communication between fishers and fishery managers, and helping to preserve the ecological integrity of salmon runs and local cultures' Traditional Ecological Knowledge
In March 2001, the U.S. & Canadian governments passed the Yukon River Salmon Agreement to better manage an internationally shared resource and ensure that more Canadian-originated salmon return across the border.The agreement is implemented through the Yukon River Panel, an international body of 12 members, equal-parts American and Canadian, that advises managers of Yukon River fisheries concerning restoration, conservation, and coordinated management.
Tribal organizations such as Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP), Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments (CATG), and Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) work to sustain Yukon River salmon to promote healthy people, cultures, and communities.
Yukon is the smallest and westernmost of Canada's three territories. It also is the least populated province or territory in Canada, with a population of 35,874 people as of the 2016 Census. Whitehorse, the territorial capital and Yukon's only city, is the largest settlement in any of the three territories.
Yukon–Koyukuk Census Area is a census area in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2010 census, the population was 5,588. It has the largest area of any county or county-equivalent in the United States. It is part of the unorganized borough of Alaska and therefore has no borough seat. Its largest communities are the cities of Galena, in the west, and Fort Yukon, in the northeast.
The Gwichʼin language belongs to the Athabaskan language family and is spoken by the Gwich'in First Nation (Canada) / Alaska Native People. It is also known in older or dialect-specific publications as Kutchin, Takudh, Tukudh, or Loucheux. Gwich'in is spoken primarily in the towns of Inuvik, Aklavik, Fort McPherson, and Tsiigehtchic, all in the Northwest Territories and Old Crow in Yukon of Canada. In Alaska of the United States, Gwichʼin is spoken in Beaver, Circle, Fort Yukon, Chalkyitsik, Birch Creek, Arctic Village, Eagle, and Venetie.
The Kuskokwim River or Kusko River is a river, 702 miles (1,130 km) long, in Southwest Alaska in the United States. It is the ninth largest river in the United States by average discharge volume at its mouth and seventeenth largest by basin drainage area.
The Koyukuk River is a 425-mile (684 km) tributary of the Yukon River, in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is the last major tributary entering the Yukon before the larger river empties into the Bering Sea.
The Chandalar River is a 100-mile (160 km) tributary of the Yukon River in the U.S. state of Alaska. Its peak flow, recorded by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) between 1964 and 1974 at a stream gauge at Venetie, was 62,800 cubic feet per second (1,780 m3/s) on June 9, 1968.
Deg Hitʼan is a group of Athabaskan peoples in Alaska. Their native language is called Deg Xinag. They reside in Alaska along the Anvik River in Anvik, along the Innoko River in Shageluk, and at Holy Cross along the lower Yukon River.
Yukon is in the northwestern corner of Canada and is bordered by Alaska and the Northwest Territories. The sparsely populated territory abounds with natural scenic beauty, with snowmelt lakes and perennial white-capped mountains, including many of Canada's highest mountains. The territory's climate is Arctic in the north, subarctic in the central region, between north of Whitehorse and Old Crow, and has a humid continental climate in the far south, south of Whitehorse and in areas close to the British Columbia border. The long sunshine hours in the short summer allow a profusion of flowers and fruit to blossom. Most of the territory is boreal forest, tundra being the main vegetation zone only in the extreme north and at high elevations.
Yukon Energy Corporation (YEC) is a Canadian Crown corporation in Yukon that provides electrical power to Yukon. YEC is a subsidiary of Yukon Development Corporation that was established in 1987 to take over the Yukon assets of the Northern Canada Power Commission. The company's headquarters is in Whitehorse, Yukon.
Northern Athabaskan is a geographic sub-grouping of the Athabaskan language family spoken by indigenous peoples in the northern part of North America, particularly in Alaska, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. The Northern Athabaskan languages consist of 31 languages that can be divided into seven geographic subgroups.
Southwest Alaska is a region of the U.S. state of Alaska. The area is not exactly defined by any governmental administrative region(s); nor does it always have a clear geographic boundary.
The Hän, Han or Hwëch'in / Han Hwech’in are a First Nations people of Canada and an Alaska Native Athabaskan people of the United States; they are part of the Athabaskan-speaking ethnolinguistic group. Their traditional lands centered on a heavily forested area around the Upper Yukon River, Klondike River (Tr'on'Dëk), Bonanza Creek and Sixtymile River and straddling what is now the Alaska-Yukon Territory border. In later times, the Han population became centered in Dawson City, Yukon and Eagle, Alaska.
Yukon is one of Canada's three territories in the country's extreme northwest. Its history of human habitation dates back to the Ice Age, and the original inhabitants are believed to have arrived over 20,000 years ago by migrating over the land bridge from Asia. In the 18th century, Russian explorers began trade with the First Nations people along the Alaskan coast, beginning the establishment of trade relations throughout the region. The famous Klondike Gold Rush began after gold was discovered near Dawson City in 1896. As a result of the influx of people looking for gold, it was made a separate territory in 1898, split off from the Northwest Territories. The second major event in the Yukon's history is the construction of the Alaska Highway during the Second World War, for the transportation of war supplies. Eventually Whitehorse became the largest city in the Yukon, and then the capital in 1953.
The Yup'ik or Yupiaq and Yupiit or Yupiat (pl), also Central Alaskan Yup'ik, Central Yup'ik, Alaskan Yup'ik, are an Eskimo people of western and southwestern Alaska ranging from southern Norton Sound southwards along the coast of the Bering Sea on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and along the northern coast of Bristol Bay as far east as Nushagak Bay and the northern Alaska Peninsula at Naknek River and Egegik Bay. They are also known as Cup'ik by the Chevak Cup'ik dialect-speaking Eskimos of Chevak and Cup'ig for the Nunivak Cup'ig dialect-speaking Eskimo of Nunivak Island.
The Tanana Athabaskans, Tanana Athabascans or Tanana Athapaskans are an Alaskan Athabaskan peoples of the Athabaskan-speaking ethnolinguistic group. They are the original inhabitants of the Tanana River drainage basin in east-central Alaska Interior, United States and a little part lived in Yukon, Canada. Tanana River Athabaskan peoples are called in Lower Tanana and Koyukon language Ten Hʉt'ænæ, in Gwich'in language Tanan Gwich'in. In Alaska, where they are the oldest, there are three or four groups identified by the languages they speak. These are the Tanana proper or Lower Tanana (Kokht'ana) and/or Middle Tanana, Tanacross or Tanana Crossing (Koxt'een), and Upper Tanana (Kohtʼiin). The Tanana Athabaskan culture is a hunter-gatherer culture and have a matrilineal system. Tanana Athabaskans were semi-nomadic and as living in semi-permanent settlements in the Tanana Valley lowlands. Traditional Athabaskan land use includes fall hunting of moose, caribou, Dall sheep, and small terrestrial animals, and also trapping. The Athabaskans did not have any formal tribal organization. Tanana Athabaskans were strictly territorial and used hunting and gathering practices in their semi-nomadic way of life and dispersed habitation patterns. Each small band of 20–40 people normally had a central winter camp with several seasonal hunting and fishing camps, and they moved cyclically, depending on the season and availability of resources.
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