KSA Club News: Wise ways to make the Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site your winter destination

Snowmobiling is permitted in much of the Chilkoot Trail NHS for most of the winter

A view of Lindeman and Bennet from Log Cabin Mountain.
A view of Lindeman and Bennet from Log Cabin Mountain. Photo courtesy Klondike Snowmobile Association

The Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site has had a wild past. Whether it is the story of Tlingit and Athapaskan First Nation traders and travelers, or the stampede of prospectors making their way to the Klondike goldfields, the living history and natural beauty of the Chilkoot have attracted visitors for decades. Here’s what you’ll need to know to stay safe and have fun at the site this winter:

Please Respect Other Users and Share the Site

World famous as a summer trail, the historic site has also become a popular winter destination. The Log Cabin Parking Lot and adjacent lands are shared by backcountry skiers and snowboarders, snowshoers, dog walkers, cross country skiers, bike riders, dog mushers, campers and snowmobilers. Parks Canada has created regulations as a way to reduce user conflicts and ensure that the area is protected for everyone to enjoy.

Winter Safety and the Yukon Regional Avalanche Forecast

This is a remote area. Winter users need to be self-sufficient and responsible for their own safety. In the event of an emergency, you should be prepared for lengthy delays in search and rescue response. There is no cell phone coverage in the area. Parks Canada recommends all users carry a satellite phone. If you carry a satellite device, understand how it works. Leave a trip plan with someone at home who can contact emergency services if you don’t return as scheduled.

Significant avalanche terrain and other natural hazards exist and users should be trained and carry the appropriate equipment. A great planning resource, Avalanche Canada offers a timely avalanche forecast page which provides coverage specifically for the White Pass region. ‘Know before you go’ and learn the latest snowpack information, acquire terrain advice, and consider risk as you plan your next outing.

Check out additional online resources for winter safety, local conditions, trip planning and training on the Parks Canada and Yukon Avalanche Association websites.

Non-Motorized Weekends

Snowmobiling is permitted in much of the Chilkoot Trail NHS for most of the winter. However, every third weekend, from Friday through Sunday, is set aside exclusively for non-motorized activities. Use of over-snow vehicles anywhere in the Chilkoot Trail NHS, including staging, loading and unloading machines in the Log Cabin Parking Lot, is prohibited on the following days in 2020:

  • February 14-16
  • March 6-8 (Buckwheat International Ski Classic Race)
  • March 27-29
  • April 17-19

Read more about the Chilkoot Trail NHS winter-use schedule here.

Lindeman and Bennett Restricted Activity Areas

The Lindeman and Bennett town sites have special protections in place to prevent damage to fragile artifacts and historic features. Snowmobiling and random camping are not permitted within specified areas at any time. The designated restricted areas are easily identifiable on each the Lindeman City restricted activity area map and the Bennett City restricted activity area map. Please walk, ski, or snowshoe (do not ride your snowmobile) if you would like to visit the old church at Bennett. Camping is allowed in the immediate vicinity of the two day-use cabins at Lindeman, and near the shelter (closed for the winter) at Bennett.

Lindeman Day-Use Cabins

There are two user-maintained, day-use cabins at the south end of Lindeman Lake that remain open throughout the winter. Each cabin has a wood stove, and you can find firewood inside or buried beside the cabins. It is illegal to cut or gather any other wood from the Chilkoot Trail NHS than what is provided. Please respect the Restricted Activity Area - snowmobile access to the cabins is via Lake Lindeman only. If you decide to spend the night, pitch your tent near one of the cabins.

Log Cabin Parking Lot

The Log Cabin Parking Lot is part of the Chilkoot Trail NHS and is a hub for winter activity in the area. The parking lot can be busy with kids, dogs, vehicles, snowmobiles, trailers, campers and tents; be cautious and slow down when driving through. Camping is permitted at Log Cabin between December 1st and May 15th. There has been an increasing number of fire rings and garbage left in the parking lot, especially during busy weekends. Please dispose of garbage in the bins that are provided, but don’t add to already full garbage cans (bring it back to town if there isn’t room). Fires are allowed in the parking lot area, but must be contained within a fire pan (not burned on the ground). Plan to bring your own wood as it is illegal to cut or gather firewood within the site, and firewood is not provided. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times. While the Log Cabin Parking Lot is patrolled regularly, it is up to all users to maintain a clean site. It is a privilege to access and use this area. Please respect it.

Winter Camping

Winter camping is allowed in most of the Chilkoot Trail NHS. Unlike in the summer, camping permits are not required, and you do not have to stay in designated campgrounds. In the Lindeman and Bennett Restricted Activity Areas, tent camping is limited to the immediate vicinity of the day-use cabins. Campfires are only allowed in the Log Cabin Parking Lot and must be contained within a fire pan.

Log Cabin Cross Country Ski Trails

Volunteers maintain approximately 25 kilometres of cross-country ski trails, just outside the Chilkoot Trail NHS adjacent to the Log Cabin Parking Lot. These trails, home to the annual Buckwheat International Classic Ski Race, are enjoyed by thousands of skiers every year. Please, respect the signs and do not drive your snowmobile on the ski trails. For up-to-date trail conditions call the Mountain Shop in Skagway at 907-983-2544.

First Nation Trapline and Residence

There is an unbroken connection between the modern Indigenous peoples in this area and their ancestors who trapped and travelled here thousands of years ago. A Carcross/Tagish First Nation family maintains a trapline north of Log Cabin and along the railroad tracks, and they have a seasonal residence at Bennett. Please respect their privacy and do not interfere with their traps or property. Dogs can disturb traps and may be injured. Please keep your dogs on a leash at all times.

Whether snowmobiling or backcountry skiing, dog walking or dog mushing, enjoy your winter outing on the Chilkoot Trail NHS!

Do your Part

  • Leave no trace. Pack out your garbage, including dog waste.
  • Protect cultural and natural resources. Do not remove, disturb or damage archaeological or historical objects, plants, animals or other natural objects.
  • Winter users are our eyes and ears on the land. Contact Parks Canada at 1-780-852-3100 to report damage to facilities, and unusual or illegal activity.
  • Fishing, hunting and possession of firearms is strictly prohibited.
  • Do not approach, disturb or feed wildlife.
  • For more information call 1-800-661-0486 or visit www.pc.gc.ca/chilkoot.

For emergencies and to report infractions, call Parks Canada 24-hour
Dispatch: 1-780-852-3100

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