ATLIN (population estimated at 400)
Atlin, the Tlingit place name “A Tien” meaning the “big water” originally referred to the union of three Lakes; Atlin Lake, Little Atlin Lake and Tagish Lake. These lakes were one in the post glacier period nearly 10,000 years ago. During this era lake levels were estimated at 150 meters higher than they are today and during the flood period the people traveled by rafts and took refuge on the tallest peeks, one being Jubilee Mountain at almost 6000 ft.
Tlingit camped and settled at the current site of Atlin, formerly known as “Wenah” which meant ‘alkali’, the mineral lick that attracted the Caribou for the salt. Caribou being more plentiful than moose were the primary source of meat. Caribou meat was dried and smoked by the shore. Abundant Salmon, as well as fresh water fish have provided for the Tlingit in the Atlin region. The Taku River Salmon are known around the world as ‘The Salmon’. A commercial drift net fishery on the Taku River supplies local and global markets.
Tlingit traditions are still practiced and the history and cultural of the region is a living legacy. Craftsmanship, trading and transportation are the products and services of the centuries that still maintain this unique lifestyle.
The Whitepass Company built a Hotel on the lakefront in 1917 and the M.V. Tarahne transported the influx of visitors and the tons of cargo destined for the Gold fields. This golden era flourished until the depression of the mid-30’s.
Today, the picturesque winding route past Atlin and Little Atlin Lakes, the beauty of the towering peaks (6,656 ft) surrounding the glacier clear waters is the main attraction but there is a lot more to offer from the local residents. Many of those drawn to Atlin for a peaceful and quiet lifestyle have opened their homes and developed small businesses to provide hospitality and adventure to the few who make it to “A Tien”.
Why should you drive the 90 km scenic route into Atlin? The magnificent glacier, waterfront and headwaters of the Yukon River. Maybe a float plane or air tour of the entire magnificent region, hiking the Provincial Park, a guided Llewellyn Glacier walk, winter skiing or dog sledding, kayak, canoe, special musical events in the historic ‘Globe’ theatre, crafted gold jewellery from fine stores, music festivals, annual July Tea on the historic Tarahne Boat, browse about shops and a wonderful museum and arts gallery to name just the most obvious!
Visit Atlin at www.atlinbc.com and at www.discoveratlin.com
Atlin Music Festival: www.atlinfestival.ca