Monday, July 25, 2016

Gates on Yukon History

As in most places I've been in Canada, local and self- or non-commercially published works of local history abound in Yukon. ("Canadians don't care about their history, blah blah blah.")  One of my Yukon discoveries, you might say, was the historian Michael Gates.

Michael is a former Parks Canada guy, one of the key people in Parks Canada's conservation/preservation projects in Dawson City, and now a prolific writer on Yukon history. He writes a history column for the Yukon News, and many of the columns are collected in History Hunting in the Yukon, the first of his books I got into while there. (He publishes with a division of BC's Harbour Publishing.)

The Yukon being a big village (in a space as large as France), I got to meet Michael for coffee through mutual friends, and he gave me a copy of his latest book, Dalton's Gold Rush Trail: Exploring the Route of the Klondike Cattle Drives. People know about the Chilkoot and White Pass routes to the gold fields of '98. Who knew there was also a trail for beef cattle?  Not an entirely happy story for the cattle, as you might surmise.  Michael has not only worked out the historical account of this trail, but went into the bush to sort out exactly where the trail was and what traces of it remain.

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