Posted by: cherylyoung | November 25, 2012

Atlin, Some say the most beautiful place in the world

Tucked into the far northwestern tip of British Columbia,the remote and spectacularly beautiful community ofAtlin graces the eastern shore of the mighty Atlin Lake,headwater of the Yukon River and named after theTlingit word atlah, meaning ‘Big Water’ – very appropriatefor the largest natural lake in the province

This once-bustling centre was born during theGreat Rush of 1898, when gold was discovered innearby Pine Creek.Most of the year-round residents of Atlin have stayed for more than one reason, but in general, they quitesimply want to live in one of the quaintest and mostcolourful little towns, nestled in the heart of a valleythat is simply stunning in its beauty and grandeur.

Along the lake’s western edge, the majestic Coast Rangestretched to the north and the south, as far as the eyecan see.There, snow-laden peaks keep silent watch over theentrance to the Torres Channel, gateway to theincredible  wilderness area which lies beyond.To the south, where rock combines with ice and waterto form some of the most spectacular scenery foundanywhere, lies Atlin Wilderness Park, fully one-third ofwhich is occupied by glaciers.

One of the most prominent of these is Llewellyn, whosegreat tongues of ice melt into Atlin Lake, releasing thesediments that give the lake its incredibleaquamarine hue.Population: 400Location: Atlin is located in the extreme northwestcorner of British Columbia, about 112 miles (180 km)southeast of Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory.Access to Atlin is by floatplane on Atlin Lake, or by roadfrom the Yukon to the north.

Atlin was the site of the final great gold rush in Canadianhistory, with many of the area’s streams producing someof the best gold panning in the history ofBritish Columbia.The early miners on Pine Creek discovered the remainsof long abandoned flumes and old sluice boxes.The mystery still remains as to who panned Pine Creekbefore the rush of 1898.Atlin`s nearest neighbour in British Columbia isTelegraph Creek, 250 km to the southeast (as the baldeagle flies) on the Stikine River.

The communities of Atlin and Telegraph Creek wereonce connected by the Telegraph Trail, originally builtby work parties from the Collins Overland TelegraphCompany and intended to provide North America withdirect communication to Europe.However, an Atlantic cable was completed first, inSeptember of 1866, eliminating the need for anoverland cable.The Klondike gold rush saw the trail extended to theYukon – completed in 1901.Now overgrown, the 375-km trail was once bustlingwith travellers, hunters and the men who operated andmaintained the Dominion Telegraph line.

Re-live the Gold Rush by visiting the Atlin HistoricalMuseum, housed in the 1902 schoolhouse, stroll throughthe Pioneer Cemetery or pan for gold on Spruce Creek.

Wander through the forlorn remnants of nearby Discovery,founded on Pine Creek 10 km above Atlin. Also known asPine Creek, the once busy gold-mining town started todecline in 1915, once the gold dried up.

Don’t miss the graceful old paddlewheeler M.V Tarahnewhich, in her glory days, carried passengers and freightthe length and breadth of the lake; now she rests on thelake waterfront.

Anglers can fish right off the town dock, or cast their linesin the local lakes and streams, where rainbow trout,arctic grayling and northern pike abound.

Troll Atlin Lake, where large lake trout are plentiful, orfly-in to the Taku watershed for world-class salmon andsteelhead fishing.

Fishing in British Columbia.Winter enthusiasts love Atlinfor the cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling,curling and ice fishing experiences.

Picnic beside Pine Creek Falls, splash around with the kidsin the natural warm springs, hike a mountain trail,canoe an  isolated lake, or camp on the water’s edge.

Marking the extreme northwest corner of the provinceis the Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Wilderness Park.

The park – the largest in British Columbia – covers2,366,260 acres (958,000 hectares) of ruggednorth-coast wilderness and, together with the otherthree adjacent national parks, comprise the largestcontingent area of  protected wilderness in the world, ataround 21 million acres (8.5 million hectares).

The Tat, as it is known to people who have difficultypronouncing the full name, is also designated by theUnited Nations as a World Heritage Site,BC A DAY AT A TIME  www.bcadayatatime.comCHERYL YOUNG

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