This Week in History


Kluane Issued a Stamp

For the week of Monday April 25, 2011

On April 27, 1979, Canada Post issued a stamp to commemorate Kluane National Park and Reserve. Created from Alan Caswell Collier’s original artwork, the stamp was part of a series which also featured Fundy National Park and endangered wildlife, and coincided with the international recognition of Kluane.

Kluane Commemorative Stamp
© Canada Post Corporation, 1979
Reproduced with Permission

Located in the southwest Yukon, Kluane is known for its spectacular landscapes, diverse plant and animal life, and history of Aboriginal settlement going back thousands of years. In 1943, the Kluane Game Sanctuary was created, banning First Nation harvesting. When a portion of the sanctuary was declared a national park reserve in 1976, the ban was lifted, but many First Nations were uncertain of their rights in the area. When the federal government signed land claim agreements with Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and Kluane First Nation in 1993 and 2003, sections clarifying their rights to resume harvesting in the park were included.

In 1979, Kluane also received recognition from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). For almost 40 years, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has placed sites of universal value on the World Heritage List. UNESCO recognized Kluane as part of a transboundary World Heritage Site with the Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Since its designation, other parks in Alaska and British Columbia have been added to the site, making Kluane / Wrangell-St Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek Park one of the largest World Heritage sites, measuring nearly 100,000 square kilometres.

Lowell Glacier, source of the Alsek River
© Parks Canada / W. Lynch / 1989

Together, the parks feature unique ecosystems created by glaciers moving over millions of years, spectacular mountains, and more than three dozen river systems. The Kluane and Wrangell / St. Elias area is one of exceptional beauty. It has some of the highest peaks in North America: the 5,959 metre-high Mount Logan in Kluane National Park and Reserve is Canada’s highest peak and Mount Saint Elias, on the Yukon-Alaska border, is the second highest peak in the United States. As well, the region’s more than 200 glaciers form the largest non-polar ice field in the world. Furthermore, animals such as Dall’s sheep and grizzly bears, endangered in other regions, thrive in this area.

Other Canadian national parks and national historic sites on the World Heritage List include Nahanni, Wood Buffalo and Gros Morne national parks, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump and L’Anse aux Meadows national historic sites and Old Town Lunenburg national historic district. The Fortifications of Québec national historic site is part of the Historic District of Old Québec World Heritage site.

To learn more about Kluane, please visit the Kluane National Park and Reserve and World Heritage pages on the Parks Canada web site, as well as the This Week in History story, Conquering Mount Logan. For more stories about World Heritage Sites in Canada, please visit: Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Vikings in Canada, The British Colony that wasn’t British, and Québec Fortifications Unique in North America in the This Week in History archives.

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