Klondike Gold Rush

(continuer en français) – Last updated: October 14, 2020

It all began on August 16, 1896 when a small group of prospectors spotted gold nuggets at this location in Rabbit Creek, since renamed Bonanza Creek, which then flows into the Klondike River. The registration of their claim, the Discovery Claim, spread the word and other prospectors in the area rushed to find more veins around. By the time the first pounds were collected and shipped to the major cities of the American West, it was already one year later.

On July 15, 1897, the first cargo reached San Francisco, which impressed with its size and ease of extraction. The news travels around the world and attracts all available adventurers. In three years, it is estimated that more than 100,000 people tried to reach the Yukon by land or sea, under harsh conditions. About 40,000 will reach Dawson City, which is transformed into a tent camp, from where they move to their claim or serve the luckiest.

To ensure order and security, the Mounted Police sent several hundred men in the region. One of their posts was recreated in Whitehorse.

It is considered that 4,000 prospectors found gold, only a few hundred in sufficient quantity to become rich. The difficulties of exploitation led many to resell their concessions. Gradually large mining companies took them over, they alone were in a position to put up substantial resources. Powerful dredgers were built to rake the valley bottoms. Dredge Number 4 was preserved and opened to the public by Parks Canada.

The result of the use of the dredges transforms the landscape, leaving patches of tailings. To mitigate the ecological impact, various initiatives are carried out, such as this series of nesting boxes.

Today mining still exists, including other minerals such as silver, zinc and lead.

Beyond the industrial aspect, the memory of the Gold Rush is strongly used by the tourist activity, accounting for a growing part of the region’s resources.

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    • I agree with you, the tailings are pretty disruptive to the landscape. It seems there is a debate about whether to flatten them out or leave them that way. I think at least some of it should be left, as it can also be seen as something spectacular.

      Liked by 1 person

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