Caribou Legs Brad Firth Runs 1200 KM to Save the Peel River Watershed

30 04 2014
Caribou Legs’ nears end of 1200km Save the Peel run

Gwich’in runner Brad Firth is carrying letters of protest from Inuvik to Whitehorse

CBC News Posted: Apr 29, 2014 2:06 PM CT Last Updated: Apr 29, 2014 4:28 PM CT

Gwich'in runner Brad Firth, nicknamed Caribou Legs, nears Whitehorse on Monday, after running for nearly a month from Inuvik, N.W.T. He is expected to arrive in Yukon's capital today carrying letters of protest against development in the Peel River watershed.

Gwich’in runner Brad Firth, nicknamed Caribou Legs, nears Whitehorse on Monday, after running for nearly a month from Inuvik, N.W.T. He is expected to arrive in Yukon’s capital today carrying letters of protest against development in the Peel River watershed. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

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A Gwich’in man nicknamed “Caribou Legs” will arrive in Whitehorse today after running nearly 1,200 kilometres from Inuvik, N.W.T., in support of protecting the Peel River watershed.

Brad Firth is carrying protest letters from the Mackenzie Delta for Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski.

Firth’s run started at the beginning of April. He has been running for almost a month through frigid temperatures, blizzards, wind and rain to protest the development of the Peel watershed — a pristine wilderness region the size of Nova Scotia.

“My grandparents were raised on the watershed, my aunts and uncles were raised on the watershed,” he said.

“This country is known to us as the Peel watershed and is very sacred to our people. We do not want any development in this area.”

Peel watershed

The Yukon Government’s plan for the Peel watershed will open up 71 per cent of the area to industrial development.

This year the Yukon government opened 70 per cent of the Peel region to mining. That hassparked a court casebetween First Nations, environmental groups and the Yukon Government.

First Nations say it is a violation of Land Claims Agreements.

Richard Harper joined Firth a week ago, accompanying him through communities such as Pelly Crossing and Carmacks.

“Lots of support all the way through, from everybody,” he said.

He says it’s inspiring to see Caribou Legs run anywhere from 40- 70 kilometres a day, and inspiring to learn about his personal transformation.

Seven years ago Firth was an addict living on the streets of Vancouver. He says running helped turned his life around and now running for the Peel Watershed has been healing.

“That would be my rehab centre,”he said. “You know, that would be a place to go and seek solitude.”

Celebrations and protests are planned for Whitehorse in the coming days. But Firth will soon fly to Vancouver and start running from there all the way back to Inuvik to raise awareness about the Peel.

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