From September 7 to 9, 33 volunteers from across Canada worked on a tourism-related community project in one of three Yukon communities as part of the Government of Yukon’s Rugged Apprentices pilot program. This program offered volunteers a unique opportunity to experience the Yukon, while also helping to improve tourism infrastructure and local attractions.
In Dawson City, volunteers helped maintain the Crocus Bluff Disc Golf course by clearing small brush and laying out gravel on the paths. Merv Tew Park was enhanced in Carmacks with new picnic tables, benches, flowers and trees, and in Watson Lake, Rugged Apprentices beautified the Signpost Forest by clearing paths and adding wooden posts for new signs. Each community arranged for cultural and overall tourism experiences for participants during their stay, including a community concert, guided hikes, helicopter tours, dining experiences and storytelling.
The Rugged Apprentices pilot program targets the growing demand from travelers for authentic experiences and more direct connections with the people and places they visit. This concept of “voluntourism” offers attractive opportunities to promote sustainability and destination improvement. The program also supports the goals and actions of the Yukon Tourism Development Strategy and the Yukon Sustainable Tourism Framework.