~ Seattle WA, Skagway AK, Chilkoot Trail, Yukon Canada ~
The end of the 1800’s was a difficult era in American history. The nation was still dealing with an economic depression that started in 1893 and by 1896 had caused double digit unemployment. People from around the world were looking for something that could give them a boost. When gold was discovered in the northern Yukon Territory of Canada in 1896, the rush was on. Word reached the masses when, on July 17, 1897, a ship with a ton of gold sailed into Seattle’s harbor. Seattle grew from a quiet logging town into one of the busiest ports in the world, and over 100,000 people headed north to the gold fields.
But our story is not just about the gold. It is about the adventure, the risk and the rewards of leaving the known behind and venturing north. It is about the love of the land, the people who came, the First Nation's people who were there, and the legacy that this gold rush created. Those who did not strike it rich with gold still often struck it rich with stories, love, an appreciation of the land, and a life that would never be the same again. While only 30,000 people made it all the way to the Klondike gold fields in Dawson City, Yukon, it was the 100,000 who tried, who opened businesses, who ventured outside their comfort zone, who took a risk, who followed a dream. We celebrate all those who dared.
From Seattle to Alaska to the Yukon, the Friends of the Klondike Corridor works with the National Parks, residents and businesses, to weave together the various Klondike related national historic sites in Canada and the United States that together present the whole romantic international story of the Klondike Gold Rush.
Why Support the Friends? What do your dollars fund?
Donations help to fund our Community Outreach, Site/Park Development and Education programs. Over the past several years we have worked with many organizations and youth, and would like share a couple of success stories:
~ Through our community Living History programs, we have seen youth reconnect with their culture. Our programs are not just about learning the text book history, but connecting with individual culture - from American to Canadian to First Nations peoples. Youth in our programs have gone from shy, hesitant children to youth proud to stand up and share their history and the history of where they live.
~ In Seattle we have worked with the National Park Service to host events that bring visitors to the park, as well as supporting city wide events where we can distribute education material about the Klondike Gold Rush and invite people to visit the National Park. Tens of thousands of people were able to experience our Legacy Days events and visit with park rangers at the Seattle Pride Parade, Pridefest and Dragonfest events. With your funding, we are able to print a historic newspaper, the Klondike Corridor Chronicle - 4 page newspaper, with the Klondike story, and messages from our sponsors who support these efforts. Over 6,000 copies were distributed.
~ Food is another great way to engage youth - and we are really good at it! We have introduced hundreds of children to the art of 1898 ice cream making! While a bit messy, in Skagway Alaska children look forward year after year to our events so that they can make a mess, enjoy an ice cream (ok, mostly they make mike shakes), and relive some of the 1898 lifestyle. And when it is not ice cream, it flipping pancakes. Working with Parks Canada to support the reopening of Bear Creek Compound, (the site where the gold was melted into bricks and where the dredges of the Klondike were built from 1905 to 1966), we were able to allow visitors in for one day and enjoy all the pancakes they could eat (sourdough pancakes included of course) while exploring this amazing place. Parks Canada has since reopened the site with tours starting in 2018!
~ Now introducing Tin Cup Kelly! Tin Cup is time-traveler who first came to the Klondike in 1897, only to find himself transported to modern times. Join Tin Cup on YouTube and FaceBook as he travels throughout the Corridor, meeting the people living there today and learning just how things have changed (or not) since his day.
Become a Sponsor: All levels of sponsorships are appreciated. For example, as most funding grants do not cover the cost of food, but with the help of local donors and sponsors, we were able to provide lunches to the students participating in the Dawson City Living History Workshops, and purchase all the supplies for ice cream making. Nearly 100% of your donation will go directly into projects and programs.