An Explorer's Guide to the Alaska Highway
The year 1967 was a big deal along the Alaska Highway because of the many events celebrating the centennial of both Canada's Confederation and the purchase of Alaska, and the 25th anniversary of the construction of the highway. I picked up the brochure posted below in Dawson Creek - my family had intended to drive part of the Alaska Highway with my father driving our 1962 Pontiac Safari station wagon, but we didn't make it very far because of the choking dust once we passed the end of pavement at Mile 84. My mother in particular didn't find the brochure's description of the Alaska Highway as "The World's Most Alluring Adventure Trip" to be true!
There is no indication of who published the brochure, but the emphasis on Whitehorse and Atlin make the Yukon Department of Tourism likely.
The text of the brochure has been typed out to make it easier to read. It is in italics, and comments about some of the photos are in regular font. While the photos show some differences from today, much has changed little.
THOUSANDS OF MEN - soldiers and civilians from the United States and Canada - and a great corps of giant road-building machines, carved the Alaska Highway during the urgency of the Second World War through 1,523 miles of awesome wilderness in British Columbia, the Yukon, and Alaska. Today, the Alaska Highway is an artery of commerce and a well-trodden path to excitement, adventure, and history for the whole family!
THREE BIRTHDAY ANNIVERSARIES will be marked along the Alaska Highway in 1967! The 25th anniversary celebrations of the highway itself will take place during the year, and, as well, Canada is celebrating the centennial of its Confederation, and Alaska will be in a festive centennial mood as the Alaska Purchase of 1867 is commemorated. Truly, 1967 is the year to take part in the memory of the past and the typical north-country approach to the future!
AS YOU DRIVE "DOWN NORTH" along the Alaska Highway, you will notice that facilities for travel and fun are located at an average of less than 25 miles apart. Much effort goes into keeping the Alaska Highway in good condition. The Canadian section of the highway is paved for 84 miles north of Dawson Creek, and the remainder is of gravel surface which is generally well-graded. For all its length, the Alaska Highway affords never-to-be-forgotten opportunities to hunt and fish, thrills for the photographer, the rockhounds, the bird-watchers, and - well, everyone!
FOR MORE INFORMATION contact the Chamber of Commerce at any major point on the Alaska Highway. And then . . .
HAVE A GOOD TRIP
OBSERVE ALL THE HIGHWAY SIGNS
AND DRIVE SAFELY
Travel North In 1967!
Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Alaska Highway, engineered through 1,523 miles of wilderness in 1942 to help win a war. Now, in a peaceful role, it's an adventure road to the continent's last frontier! Obtain your specially-prepared program - "A Passport To Excitement" - at either end of the Alaska Highway or along the way.
SEE the Yukon's midnight sun!
FROLIC in the Liard and Takhini hot springs!
RELIVE the gold rush of '98!
FISH for the northern tackle-busters!
And at regular intervals along the way enjoy the many special facilities for your convenience: campsites, trailer parks, hotels, motels, service stations.
- There have been many changes to the map since 1967. Among them, the proposed road to Stewart is now part of the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, the railway between Skagway and Whitehorse has largely been replaced by the South Klondike Highway, the Campbell Highway now connects Watson Lake and Carmacks (running just south of Ross River), and the Portage Mountain dam site is now the W.A.C. Bennett Dam.
1. Montague Roadhouse - these deserted remains were once part of the Yukon's early day transportation system. It was a stage stopover on the 330 mile winter road which connected Whitehorse to Dawson City.
2. Watson Lake Signposts - This world-famous cluster of signposts was started by construction crews working on the Alaska Highway in 1942. Every year the collection grows larger as tourists boosting their
communities tack up new signs.
3. Situated near the Alaska Highway at Whitehorse, this spectacular canyon was one of the hazardous obstacles on the water route to the Yukon's Klondike.
4. The Robert Service Cabin at Yukon's Dawson City is open to visitors during the summer. "The Bard of the North" wrote many of his famous poems in this log cabin.
5. Each year Caravans and Travelcades join the thousands of individual
camping families on the trek through the Yukon on the Alaska Highway.
- An enlarged version of photo #5, which shows over 100 Airstream trailers, members of a Wally Byam Caravan, parked in downtown Whitehorse, can be seen here.
6. Highway travel provides opportunities to "pan" for gold (and keep all you can find) when you visit the Yukon - Klondike.
7. Bud Fisher - Yukon's Ambassador at Large - This colourful sourdough may be seen strolling down Main Street, demonstrating the intricate art of gold panning, or greeting visitors when they arrive by bus, train or air.
8. Modern amenities and facilities provide for the needs of the highway traveler at Whitehorse, Capitol City of the Yukon. Unlimited supplies of every variety are available at this bustling transportation hub on the Alaska Highway.
9. The Klondike Gold Rush era comes to life once again on the stage of the Palace Grand Theatre in Dawson City where "Days of '98" entertainment is presented each summer.
- Photo #8 is an aerial look at the new Riverdale residential area in Whitehorse, with the city behind. It was printed reversed, however. An enlarged version of it with the orientation corrected and with some of the features seen in the photo pointed out, can be seen here.
1. The mineral-laden Atlin Country was first discovered by water transportation. Today it is Helicopter Country. Located on Lake Atlin. the area is still rich in various minerals and scenic beauty, a delight to all.
2. Atlin is a community existing in the pause between two eras. Its colorful past is evident by the relics that still remain. The old Jeweller Clock in good running condition beside a deteriorating building.
3. Remains of old cars and other machinery tell the story of the thriving metroplis in the Gold Rush days.
4. Visible remains of some elaborate cabins and specially designed log houses spell out the story of the glorious exciting early days society.
5. Here is further testimony of an exciting past. This old Fire Truck found its way to Atlin from Portland, Oregon, more than 60 years ago via a long sea journey and transhipment by river and like to its present resting.
6. Gold panning of the early days is now depicted by the Tourist. Some Old Timer struck it rich in the rush of 1898, some tourist will find gold in 1967.
7. Caribou herds, as well as other Big Game can be found in most parts of Northern British Columbia as well as the Yukon. A hunters paradise.
8. The actual operation of Sluice Mining is still carried out profitably
by I small number of men who pride themselves on their independence.