Klondike Gold Rush NHP – Skagway, AK

Stampeder – A Deputy Ranger Program


Senior Ranger activity

Completed: July 12, 2014

I was very fortunate this summer to be able to visit Skagway, Alaska. While on a southbound cruise through the Inside Passage the ship docked at Skagway for the day. We were on this cruise as part of an event with the National Park Travelers Club, http://www.parkstamps.org. Their annual convention was being held at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (NHP), both locations – Skagway, AK and Seattle, WA.

Skagway Cruise Dock

I was very pleased to learn that the Skagway unit of Klondike Gold Rush NHP has an adult program, Tales of a Stampeder – A Deputy Ranger Program. From the cruise docks a great, inexpensive city bus, SMART bus, is available to transport you around Skagway. At $2 per trip or the best deal, $5 for all day service, this was a great way to explore Skagway on a rainy day. This got us to the National Park Service Visitor Center quickly and dry!

Once I picked up the booklet I was able to complete the program in a couple of hours. Besides completing at least four activities in the booklet, you also need to complete an in-park activity; movie, walking tour, talk or hike in Skagway or Dyea.

While there I watched an amazing movie about the meaning of Wilderness. It was filmed in several wilderness areas of Alaska. The scenery and stories told were spectacular. Later in the day I also saw the park film that told the story of the Stampeders. This tells the story of the Alaska Gold Rush of 1898.

There was a variety of activities in the booklet; Which Route Would You Take?, Who Would You Be?, Historical Structure Scavenger Hunt, Journaling Activity, Ton of Goods, Gold Rush Crossword Puzzle and Cheechako? or Sourdough? Quiz.

The Historical Structure Scavenger Hunt had you match buildings scattered around town with their original names. Some had the same name today, Mascot Saloon, and some were being used for a different purpose, Martin Itjen House, is now a trails center, across from the NPS visitor center. Some had been kept up, others looked as rustic as the 1890s.

Skagway flower garden

I enjoyed the Cheechako? Or Sourdough? Quiz which had you answer a series of questions to determine if you were a greenhorn, Cheechako, or prospector, Sourdough. Based on my responses I was a Sourdough. However, I have no plans to strike out on the Chilkoot Trail, which starts in the town next to Skagway, Dyea. Actually in 1997 when I drove up to Alaska and visited Dyea, I hiked a portion of the trail, a very short portion – it is very steep!

After a lunch stop, which I used some of the time to complete activities, I returned to the visitor center and had the booklet reviewed by the ranger. Upon completion I received a very nice pin.I appreciated having a senior program to complete at this site.

Booklet & Pin


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