A YouTuber who told viewers that they, like him, could build their "dream" cabin in the Yukon wilderness forgot to mention that he did so illegally in the eyes of the territorial government. In 2020, Matty Clarke ventured to Ensley Creek, 15 miles up the Yukon River from Dawson City, where he cleared land and erected a homestead. He then shared his efforts on his "Skote outdoors" YouTube channel. Clips from that channel have now found their way to the Yukon Supreme Court. In a petition filed last week, the territorial government says Clarke "must vacate, remove all structures and personal property, and remediate the Site" on public land within the traditional territory of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in, the CBC exclusively reports.
Though Clarke's videos indicate he staked a mining claim in the area, the government says the YouTuber didn't have a valid placer claim when he set up camp in September 2020, and was denied one on an application months later. "Even if Mr. Clarke had honestly and properly staked the Claim, doing so did not give Mr. Clarke authority under the [Placer Mining Act] or any other Yukon legislation to construct a cabin at the Site for his permanent residence," the petition reads, per the CBC. Government officials say Clarke failed to provide evidence of his authority to occupy the site within 30 days of notification last June. He later argued the 16-by-20-foot log cabin is proof enough of his right to reside there, adding he'll be homeless if forced to leave.
"I feel so connected with my house and my natural surroundings both emotionally and spiritually," he wrote to a lands manager. "I do not look at myself as a trespasser but a guardian or steward of the land." Warned that legal action would follow, Clarke held firm. "I will still be considering this cabin my legal dwelling," he wrote in September. The government is requesting court orders to force the removal of Clarke and his cabin along with the occupants of two other cabins within a half-mile radius. Clarke makes no mention of neighbors in his videos, which are titled "Alone in the Yukon." The government also wants an injunction to prevent Clarke from occupying other territorial land without proper authority. (Read more Yukon stories.)