A self-proclaimed inland guru has agreed to the dismantling of the remote — and unauthorized — off-grid Yukon log cabin he’s built, occupied and boasted of on his YouTube channel.
Matthew (Matty) Clarke has also agreed to post a new video online, stating that other potential pioneers must have permission from the Yukon government before occupying public lands.
Clarke is one of three people who caught the attention of government officials when they built cabins in a remote area near Ensley Creek about 15 miles up the Yukon River from Dawson City, Yukon. According to the government, those huts were all built without permission or permission on public land and within the traditional territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in.
The government asked Clarke, Simon Tourigny and Chloe Sergerie to each vacate and remove their cabins, and initially all three resisted or ignored the requests. Earlier this year, the government filed a petition with the Yukon Supreme Court to force them out.
The court’s petition against Sergerie has now been withdrawn. A spokesman for Yukon’s Energy, Mines and Resources Department says her cabin has been removed and the site has been restored to its natural state.
Tourigny, meanwhile, did not respond to an earlier court subpoena and a hearing was scheduled for later this month in the Yukon Supreme Court. A government spokesman said Friday that the hearing has now been adjourned because Tourigny’s cabin appears to have been abandoned.
Clarke has agreed to dismantle his cabin by January 1, remove all his belongings from the property and restore it to its natural state. If he doesn’t, the territorial government will do it for him and he will have to hook up to pay.
‘A guardian or steward of the land’
Clarke’s adventures in the bush and Yukon’s justice system began two years ago when he apparently arrived in the area with the intention of finding solitude and his own piece of paradise.
A series of YouTube videos — posted by Clarke last year under the name Skote Outdoors — appear to tell the story of his 2020 arrival in Dawson City to stake a mining claim, then his journey upriver to find the claim and choose a place to build his house.
The videos are a mix of step-by-step instructions for building a cabin yourself, a northern travelogue, and Clarke’s inspiring reflections.
“Dreams come true, man. Dreams come true every day, guys – you just have to make them come true,” he says in a video.
Clarke posted a series of six videos – titled “Alone in the Yukon” – in which he single-handedly cuts down trees and builds his log cabin in Yukon. However, according to the Yukon government, he was never as alone as his videos suggest — Sergerie and Tourigny’s huts were nearby, although they are never shown or mentioned in the videos.
The Yukon government eventually found Clarke’s cabin and his 5,200-follower YouTube channel. And while officials last summer tried to force the YouTuber to leave the site and demolish his cabin by threatening a lawsuit, Clarke initially tried to get out of it, claiming an honest mistake and even offering to buy the land and a set up a tourism office. company.
In a letter to a local government land manager, Clarke argued that the cabin was now his home and that he saw himself not as an “invader, but as a guard or steward of the land.”
Meanwhile, he continued to post new videos online this past summer without mentioning his legal predicament.
Now, the government says, Clarke’s “dream come true” has been boarded up and abandoned. He has a few months to dismantle it and remove all his belongings from the site.
He has also agreed to make a new video before March 31 and post it on his Skote Outdoors channel.
“While the creative content will be his own, the video will include a statement that everyone must seek and obtain permission from the Yukon government before occupying territorial territories,” the agreement filed with the Yukon Supreme Court reads.
Meanwhile, he’s posted a new weekly series of videos on Skote Outdoors, apparently filmed last winter, of him building an off-grid log cabin in Labrador.
“Is life in the woods a crime?”
While Clarke was apparently focused on his new adventure in Labrador, Sergerie and Tourigny took to the local Yukon media last fall and winter to try to argue for their right to stay in their Yukon cabins.
In a written statement to the media earlier this year, Sergerie complained about how she and Tourigny were harassed by government officials for simply pursuing an alternative lifestyle.
“Is life in the forest a crime?” Sergei wrote. “We’re not asking anyone to change their lives, just that our minority be socially accepted and left alone.”
Tourigny wrote a similar manifesto that appeared in local newspapers last year.
Speaking to UKTN News in April, he acknowledged that his cabin in Ensley Creek was unlicensed, but nevertheless seemed bewildered by his legal troubles. He said he felt “persecuted” by overzealous government officials.
“They tell me my cabin is not allowed. That’s a fact, I can’t deny it,” he said.
“My question is, why? What’s wrong with my cabin? And at what point, like, is it not acceptable anymore? It’s a shelter built with logs and moss so I can be comfortable and safe in the wilderness.”
Tourigny said he was willing to make his cabin legal in some way, but no one seemed to want to help him do that.
“I really want to live in the bush and I think I should have the right to have a cabin in the bush. If you want me to do it legally, let me do it legally,” he said.
“The only reason I didn’t play by the rules is because I want to live in the bush so badly that I decided to do it anyway… No one can tell me I’m wrong because I know in my heart that I’m not doing anything wrong.”