The beautifully renovated Thechàl Dhâl’ Visitor Centre in Kluane National Park and Reserve opens for the 2021 season
Everything at the south end of Lhùʼààn Mân (Kluane Lake) is massive: the mountains, the lake, the dazzling wildflower meadows and the megafauna, including Dall’s sheep, moose and grizzly bears. Everything, that is, except Kluane National Park and Reserve’s diminutive Thechàl Dhâl’ Visitor Centre. But this hidden gem, usually dwarfed by its namesake mountain, now shines bright after a major renovation and exhibit renewal.
Open for the 2021 season as of May 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, Thechàl Dhâl’ Visitor Centre is a 45-minute drive north of Haines Junction on the Alaska Highway. The new exhibits are big, bold and beautiful, like the surrounding landscape. Parks Canada and Kluane First Nation collaborated on the exhibits, with valuable input from Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, to tell stories that reflect the presence of Dań (Southern Tutchone people) on this lovely but challenging land.
The panels on the deck introduce Dań and their culture, as well as showcase the area’s unique ecology. Scientists from the Yukon and beyond have studied the bears, bees and birds of the valley; the rare plants that thrive here; and the extraordinary effects of nearby glaciers.
The indoor exhibits present Dań Keyǐ (the people’s land) through maps, activities, stories and song. Learn about hunting and using all parts of Mäy (Dall’s sheep). Discover how to respect Big Grandfather (grizzly bear) and what might happen to you if you displease him. Hear Diyet’s song of yearning for land lost, then regained. Admire superb beadwork by women of Kluane First Nation who are using the patterns of their grandmothers and creating their own.
A new, heated sunroom is perfect for relaxing and enjoying the view on cool, windy days. Look out for activities hosted by Parks Canada and Kluane First Nation taking place here throughout the summer.
Staff at Thechàl Dhâl’ Visitor Centre will answer your questions and prepare you for a safe visit, long or short, in Kluane National Park and Reserve. Look for Dall’s sheep, which are often visible low on the mountain in the spring and early summer. You might even see lambs with the help of the centre’s spotting scopes.
Friday, May 21, 2021 marks the opening of all Kluane National Park and Reserve’s facilities, including the Kathleen Lake Campground and the award-winning Parks Canada Visitor Centre in Haines Junction’s Da Kų Centre (the glamourous big sister of the Thechàl Dhâl’ Visitor Centre).
Please remember to bring your face mask and practice the Safe Six.
Visit the park web site: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/kluane to learn more.
Kate Alexander, Visitor Experience Product Development Officer at Kluane National Park and Reserve, managed the Thechàl Dhâl’ exhibit renewal project. This is Kate’s first and last Parks Canada article for WUY as she has just retired in order to explore the Yukon, full time.