Yukon RVing: Tombstone Park Interpretive Centre

On Monday, our final day at Tombstone Mountain Campground, we were in no hurry to leave, so walked over to the Tombstone Park Interpretive Centre for a look.

The $2 million centre was opened on August 28, 2009, by Premier Dennis Fentie, Environment Minister Elaine Taylor and Klondike MLA Steve Nordick. It was designed using the Leading in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) standards to minimize its environmental footprint. Design considerations included maximizing passive solar energy and natural air circulation to heat and ventilate the building; using solar panels as the key electrical source; instant-on hot water supply, low flow toilets and sinks; and using natural materials instead of plastics.

Tombstone Park Interpretive Centre
The trail from the campground was well thought out. The route itself is interesting, and some interpretive notes have been hung on a few plants – in this case, “Salix pulcra, tea leaved willow. Female. Persistant leaves. A favourite of moose.” Hopefully a spell-checker will be used before the real signs are made (there are 2 errors on this one), but they’re an excellent addition to the walk once you notice what they are.

Interpretive note on a willow
The first notable feature of the centre when coming from the campground is the very impressive solar power system, which has 2 huge panels that track the sun. Next is this caribou fence, which were used to trap and kill caribou. Although not very visible from this angle, some wonderful life-size caribou made from twisted willow decorate the fence.

Caribou fence at the Tombstone Park Interpretive Centre, Yukon
We had brought Monty and Bella with us, and dogs aren’t allowed in the centre, so I just had a fairly brief look though it. My initial impression is very favourable – the facility is beautiful and green to a very high level, and the displays are excellent.

Display in the Tombstone Park Interpretive Centre
This display describes the memorial to Joe and Annie Henry that we had found the previous day.

Display in the Tombstone Park Interpretive Centre, Yukon
With my family waiting patiently outside, I cut my visit short and we went to the Beaver Pond Interpretive Trail which starts at the south end of the parking lot.

Tombstone Park Interpretive Centre, Yukon
Near the start of the Beaver Pond trail is this willow-branch grizzly – very cool! It confused Monty for a few seconds when he first saw it 🙂

Willow-branch grizzly on the Beaver Pond Interpretive Trail, Tombstone Park, Yukon
The trail is short (1 km return), with little elevation change, and has some spectacular views, in this case over the North Klondike River.

North Klondike River along the Beaver Pond Interpretive Trail, Tombstone Park, Yukon
The trail is well gravelled, and interpretive signs are plentiful.

Interpretive sign along the Beaver Pond Interpretive Trail, Tombstone Park, Yukon
We spent quite a while at the viewing deck overlooking the beaver pond at the end of the trail. That spotting scope would be a great idea if not for the fact that any view is blocked by that large willow right in front of it 🙂

Beaver Pond Interpretive Trail, Tombstone Park, Yukon
Having artists working in the park through programs such as Art Magic in Tombstone has resulted in some really interesting creations such as the willow-branch animals and these beaver footprints stencilled on the viewing deck.

That was a great way to start the day off. We went back to the rig, had a leisurely lunch, and rather reluctantly, broke camp for the short drive to Dawson City. We’ll certainly be back to Tombstone Park again in the not-too-distant future.

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