The Enchantment of Tagish Narrows

At the beginning of the semester I had to write a short paper about a special place for my Natural History of the North class with David Mossop, so I wrote about Tagish Narrows. Just thought I’d share it 🙂

033 (2) (1280x960)


“Every naturalist has ‘that one spot’ that holds a special place in their heart; a place they can find peace, and possessively claim as their own. Tagish Narrows – a wide river connecting Marsh and Tagish Lake, bordered by wetlands and boreal forest – is that magical place for me.”

“This river narrow is rated second in the top three most important migratory waterbird hotspots in the Yukon due to food resources and location along the avian migratory pathway; so naturally, it was birds that first called me in. I have frequented this rich environment since my first outing nine years ago, and fall more in love with it upon each visit. Certain moments from the past blaze in my memories. In spring, lounging on the bridge to listen to the singing birds and watch the blaze of the setting sun, or laying on my stomach in the guano-rich mud amongst the restful shorebirds – my companions. In summer, fishing for tasty Lake Trout off the bridge with a crowd by day, and observing the quick, feeding bats alone at dusk. In colourful autumn, scanning the sky with my binoculars for tiny raptor specks, and the willows for rutting moose. In winter, fondly watching over the small flock of steadfast ducks scraping a living in the icy, unpredictable open river, and marveling at the beauty of the painted sky.”

“I see value in the untouched land, the birder’s sanctuary, the naturalist’s heaven. Untouched land that has been under threat of oil and gas exploration recently, an action that could pollute our clean water, tear down swaths of forest, and force wildlife from the area. The river has given me and my community fish to cook up for dinner on some lazy afternoons, and posed as an artistic backdrop to creative photography and other arts. It was the scene of my first dates, a neutral recovery zone after stressful events, a space in which to contemplate the meaning of life.”

“The narrows connect communities and ecosystems, acting as a link in the chain of lakes through southern Yukon, and the magnet that always draws me back.”


015ephotocomp (1280x942)

Tagish makes me think of some of the verses from Robert Service’s poems…

“Yet, it’s not the gold that I’m wanting, so much as just finding the gold. / It’s the big, broad land, way up yonder; It’s the forests where silence has lease. / It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder; it’s the stillness that fills me with peace.”

It’s a beautiful and special place. If you ever have the chance to spend some time there, I’d highly recommend it… especially if you’re a birder 🙂

5 responses to “The Enchantment of Tagish Narrows

  1. What a beautifully moving paper. Your love of the area shines thorough.
    My husband and I spent three weeks visiting in the Yukon this summer, and we feel a special hope that the environment stays clean and healthy for every living thing. It is such a special place.

    • I really enjoy to read you. So sensible…
      I’m preparng a trip in spring 15 and I will go to your place it’s sure !

      Hope to met you and the Yukon bird club

      Sylvia Lessard

  2. One of the highlights of my life was mushing dogs along the edge of the Narrows about 30 years ago. The nice weather had taken a turn about and the migrating swans had stopped. Meanwhile more birds continued to arrive. It was estimated that there were over 2,000 swans there and who knows how many ducks! For me it was a glimpse into the far distant past. Huge numbers of birds and nothing to disturb them. By the way, small dog teams don’t seem to bother the birds the way a lone human, snow machine or loose dogs do.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s