Monday, September 12, 2011

Did You Ever Want to Live in a Small Town?

Sign for Atlin 8-22-2011 11-45-05 AM 2984x1945
I always have said that I would like to live in a small town. It is either a dream or a hallucination…. the remoteness, the slower pace, knowing everyone, improvising to get things done, etc. have always been appealing. But Dee keeps bringing me back to reality, pointing out how much I like Home Depot, Lowes, Barnes and Noble, good restaurants, running water, sewer systems Smile(more later)….  Let me tell you about Atlin.
Atlin is a small isolated community in the NW corner of British Columbia, on the traditional lands of the Taku River Tlingits. Glacial-fed Atlin Lake is 4 miles wide and 85 miles long, in a wide wilderness valley surrounded by snowcapped mountains. Atlin is a 2 or 3 hour drive from Whitehorse Yukon, the capital of the Yukon with . Current population is up to 400 full-time residents. During the Klondyke Gold Rush of 1898, the population was 10,000! Many buildings from that era still remain. Though Mining and Tourism underpin the economy of Atlin, there is a large and very influential number of artists, artisans and authors in this very special little-known community.
Atlin is about 60 miles off the Alaskan Highway, one way in and one way out. About 20 of those miles are dirt/gravel. Just our kind of place and road to get there.
So off we went.

Atlin Road Construction 8-22-2011 10-47-51 AM 3264x2448Atlin Road Construction 8-25-2011 10-11-22 AM 3264x2448

From the Alaskan Highway you are in The Yukon and you cross over into British Columbia further down the road. They Yukon is fixing up the road as you can see from these photos from the Trek.

It is hard to imagine a town that is unincorporated. In Atlin’s case, and I assume many unincorporated towns, that means there is no mayor, no council, no elected officials, i.e. no one is in charge. Everything that needs to be done to keep the town operating is done by volunteers. Volunteers groups sign up to watch after the roads, docks, library, museum and historical buildings, campground, festivals, etc. etc. Many of the people near the lake draw their drinking water from Lake Atlin, said to be much cleaner than any domestic water system in big cities. There is no sewer system so if the home has no septic, the sewage is hauled to the “lagoon” and dumped! Here is a sign at a campground a little ways out of town that characterizes the place
Sign ar Pine Creek Campground 8-24-2011 11-13-06 AM 3264x2448

Just drop your fee at ANY business in town! Would that work in Phoenix? Smile Or any other place you know of?

Norseman RVPark, Atlin, BC 8-25-2011 8-12-34 AM 3264x2448     Norseman RVPark, Atlin, BC 8-25-2011 8-10-57 AM 3264x2448
We paid an extra $3 and got the “el primo” Penthouse Site. It is on a spit of gravel, only 14 feet wide, that extends out into Lake Atlin. How cool! We stayed three days!
Window View from Trek 8-23-2011 4-18-06 PM 3264x2448 Window View from Trek 8-23-2011 4-18-19 PM 3264x2448 

Bow and Starboard Views

Window View from Trek 8-23-2011 4-17-54 PM 3264x2448  Norseman RV Pk. Penthouse Site 8-23-2011 4-12-30 PM 2492x1841
Port View and Front Deck – Awesome!
Norseman RVPark, Atlin, BC 8-25-2011 8-12-47 AM 3264x2448 
Norm--Owner Norseman RV Park 8-25-2011 8-11-52 AM 3264x2448

Norm is the owner and developer of the Norseman RV Park


Views Around Town

Court House 8-23-2011 3-13-16 PM 2677x2258Court House Library 8-23-2011 3-18-04 PM 3264x2448Garrett Store 8-23-2011 2-49-44 PM 3264x2448Globe Theatre 8-23-2011 2-55-40 PM 2123x2443Globe Theatre 8-23-2011 2-57-09 PM 3264x2448Jewelry Store 8-23-2011 2-53-35 PM 3022x2301Outside Atlin Museum 8-22-2011 2-06-21 PM 3264x2448Pine Creek Falls 8-22-2011 3-42-00 PM 2388x2168Tarahne 8-25-2011 8-52-19 AM 3264x2448
The Tarahne was originally a tour boat on the lake. It was saved and is being restored by townspeople.
 Atlin Cemetery 8-22-2011 2-24-40 PM 3264x2448Atlin Cemetery 8-22-2011 2-25-39 PM 3264x2448Atlin Cemetery 8-22-2011 2-30-46 PM 3264x2448


Gold Mining 8-22-2011 3-03-40 PM 2875x1878

Gold mining is pretty big these days with heavy equipment being used and 24/7 operations.  Helicopters and planes fly workers and supplies to the mine sites.

Atlin is a unique place. There are a couple general stores/groceries in town and a single gas station. No cell service and shaky landline. People are pretty independent but pull together to get things done. We would like to go back some day.
SO, Would YOU want to live in a small town? As small and remote as Atlin, BC?
Upside Down Trees !!!! 8-24-2011 12-46-12 PM 3264x2448
It took us a while to figure out what was going on here. Someone had replanted downed tress upside down! They also have a sense of humor in Atlin.
Next time I will summarize our trip to Alaska and share some of our observations. Until then…….


Nancy said...


BJ said...

I was so excited to read this particular blog!! My niece and her husband pastored there filling in til the new minister arrived. :) Most all of your pictures were familiar to me because they had shared them with me on facebook. it is on our Bucket list to go to when we can start traveling again. :) I too love Atlin and I haven't even been there yet :)

Anonymous said...

The upside down trees are the work of a bigfoot.