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June 03, 2010

A New Respect

We drove downtown today to check out a little Dawson Creek history. We had a brochure with a self-guided tour of various points of historical interest. We made it through number 6 out of 17 and decided that since the town wasn't all that big, and we were spending more time trying to decipher the brochure, that we'd just walk around and take a few pictures of the many murals depicting the 1940's and the start of the Alcan Highway.

In the Alaska Highway House they have displays, including a 1942 US Army Willy Jeep, that relate the incredible story of the Alaska Highway. They also had an hour long PBS film documentary: The Building of The Alaska Highway. After watching that film I have a whole new respect for the men who completed this "Paul Bunyan sized feat". They built, through vast untamed wilderness, a 1528 mile road, which included 133 bridges and more than 3000 culverts, in a little over 8 months. They battled mountains, mosquitoes and muskegs (a swamp or bog formed by an accumulation of sphagnum moss, leaves, and decayed matter resembling peat) to finish this vital artery.

Since it's completion in 1942, a continuous program of upgrading, widening and straightening has been underway. Virtually 100% of the Alcan is now paved except where there is ongoing construction. On September 28, 1996, a ceremony was held in Dawson Creek in which the Alaska Highway was designated as the 16th International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in the world.

I feel privileged and honored just to be able to experience it as it is today. I will remember those very brave men and what they experienced as I drive through what they lived almost 70 years ago.

Mom and dad - ready to travel the Alcan!

1 comment:

  1. Sherri! Awesome blog post! So glad you enjoyed your time in Dawson Creek. I share your respect for the men who built the highway!
    Enjoy your adventure!

    "Mile O Citizen"