Saturday, August 17, is coming right up. That’s Discovery Day, the day that Skookum Jim (Keish), Dawson Charlie (Káa Goox) and George Carmack stumbled across the gold discovery on Rabbit Creek – immediately renamed Bonanza Creek – that would trigger the most famous gold rush in the world.

Carmack rushed off to Fortymile, the site of the first big gold rush in (what would come to be called) the Yukon, to register their claims. They thought he would be believed more readily than the two First Nations men.

Carmack, widely known as Lyin’ George and Siwash George, due to his obvious desire to copy the Indian lifestyle, wouldn’t have been believed except for the poke of gold he had with him.

His claim became Discovery Claim, and that place is now the centrepiece of a very pleasant cultural, historical and natural walk that starts beside the attractive new sign and the National Historic Sites bronze plaque, about 14 kilometres up the Bonanza Road and just a few kilometres from Dredge No. 4.

The site has been a tourist draw for many decades, and I recall visiting a very run-down version of it on my first trip to Dawson in 1978. However, in 2011 it was re-launched as a site truly worth visiting: an impressive attraction with recreations of period equipment from the earliest times to the present, interpretive plaques and lots of natural beauty.

The rebirth of Discovery Claim was made possible by the generosity of the late Art Fry, the last miner to actively work this claim. The vision, financing and work were cooperative ventures that included the Klondyke Centennial Society, Parks Canada, and the Yukon Government’s Heritage Branch.

I first walked this reborn Discovery Claim Trail the fall before its reopening along with my late neighbour, John Gould, whose mining background, historical knowledge and drive were so important to the development of the trail.

There are 11 interpretive sites along the one-kilometre trail, and most people will be able to walk it in about an hour. It’s not completely accessible for people with mobility problems, but parts of the trail will work for a wheelchair.

When you see the place where the original find was made, and consider the development of the various mining methods, you may be tempted to give panning a try yourself.

Most of the ground is staked and a lot of it is still being actively mined today, but the Klondike Visitors Association owns Claim No. 6 Above Discovery – claims were numbered above and below the first staked claim – and you’re welcome to take a pan, dig some dirt, and see what flakes of yellow metal you can wash off in the nearby creek.

After 32 years teaching in rural Yukon schools, Dan Davidson retired from that profession but continues writing about life in Dawson City.

After 32 years teaching in rural Yukon schools, Dan Davidson retired from that profession but continues writing about life in Dawson City.