Chilkoot: An Adventure in Ecotourism


246 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55238-030-0
DDC 971.9'1




Reviewed by David W. Leonard

David W. Leonard is the project historian (Northern Alberta) in the
Historic Sites and Archives Service, Alberta Community Development. He
is the author of Delayed Frontier: The Peace River Country to 1909 and
co-author of The Lure of the Peace River Coun


During 1897–98, the Chilkoot Pass, which straddles present-day Yukon,
Alaska, and British Columbia, was the scene of a frantic stampede of
gold seekers on their way to the Klondike. Their plight was subsequently
immortalized in word, song, and a series of gripping photographs that
Pierre Berton saw as exemplifying the human spirit. In recent times, the
Pass has emerged as a focal point for visitors to Alaska and the Yukon.
As an international project that covers four political jurisdictions, it
has become a good example of what ecotourism should be—elements of
human history combined with a stunning natural backdrop.

In a handsome monograph (more than 50 percent of it illustrations and
maps), the authors present a three-part study of the trail, outlining
its present use, its history, and what visitors can see when traveling
over it. The contemporary color photographs by Robert Scace are
reproduced on high-quality paper and set off by large margins. The only
drawback to this is that, in a rectangularly horizontal book, many of
the images of vertical scope are consequently subdued. Archival photos
provide a good sense of the trail in history, while maps illustrate both
the historical and contemporary context of the trail. Though the text
does not offer any new insight into the trail’s history, quotes from
several original sources add to the story. The only error detected by
this reviewer is the misidentification of Port Simpson as Fort Simpson.


Ingelson, Allan, Michael Mahony, and Robert Scace., “Chilkoot: An Adventure in Ecotourism,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024,