Tagged with " dawson attractions"
Sep 11, 2010 -

Parks Canada’s Bear Creek Compound

Parks Canada’s Bear Creek Compound is somewhat legendary in Dawson as few have stepped foot in it. Today, for the first time in at least seven years, and possibly for the last time, the compound was opened to the public for a few hours. Checking it out seemed like a good use of my afternoon break!

From the Parks Canada website:

Bear Creek is an industrial complex of some 65 buildings and related structures located in the Klondike River Valley, 10 kilometres east of Dawson City. From 1905 to 1966, Bear Creek was the Klondike headquarters for corporate mining interests, acting as the administrative and repair centre for the goldfield’s dredging operations. These huge dredges worked the goldfields, replacing the small individual miner of the gold rush and ensuring the viability of gold mining as a profitable business up until 1966.

(For a refresher course on dredges, go back to my post about Dredge No. 4.)

Parks Canada acquired the complex in 1975 but because of environmental concerns could not do too much with it. One of the biggest hazards is the mercury that was used in the gold extraction process. The cost of rehabilitating the site to make it safe for the public would be prohibitive. Today, Parks Canada mostly uses the buildings for storage, but there is one garage left for repairing big machinery.

Visiting the compound was an extraordinary experience. The majority of the buildings are in some stage of decay, mostly advanced, and many have artifacts left in situ, as though time has stood still. It reminded me a lot of touring Alcatraz, actually, and the weight of history was incredibly present.

I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to tour the Bear Creek compound. What a way to conclude my stay in the Klondike!

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Jun 20, 2010 -

The Dawson City Museum

Curiosity got the best of me this afternoon and I decided to use my break to check out the Dawson City Museum. As side note, this was the first time I had to pay admission to a Dawson attraction. The fee is $9 for adults, but I was given the student rate of $7.50. Even at nine bucks, I wouldn’t have squawked!

The museum is housed in the old Territorial Administration Building and contains enough exhibits to occupy an hour or two. It is the ubiquitous museum found in capital cities that discusses the history of the area from prehistoric times to today.

My trip to the museum answered one of the most burning questions I have been pondering about placer mining: why were shafts dug in the winter when the ground had to be thawed. Surely, that was a lot of work! The answer is that by digging in the winter, the miners didn’t need to build supports for the shafts.

The Dawson City Museum is a respectable institution that offers good value for the admission charge. It sums up most of the other attractions and is probably the one thing you should see if you only have an afternoon in Dawson. But, oh, what a shame that would be. 🙂

I still have quite a few attractions left to see, but am glad that I have now nailed down all the big ones!

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Jun 15, 2010 -

Improvements to the 9th Ave and Lookout Trails

The Dawson parks and recreation folks have been busy making wonderful improvements to the 9th Ave and Lookout Trails. I borrowed Oz this afternoon and set off for the Lookout to see what was the same and what was different.

There are three changes to the Lookout Trail:

1) the trailhead is now clearly marked and easy to find;

2) the Ninth Ave trail follows the Lookout Trail for a spell and then branches off to the left; I’ll need to come back to see how far it goes;

3) the Lookout Trail is slowly being extended up towards the Slide. There was a bit of a trail last year, but now it is obviously being turned into a proper, maintained, trail.

Good job, parks and rec!

Oz was great; curious but not to the point of tugging at his leash and willing to match my pace. I love our dates! 😀

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