ALASKA HIGHWAY HERITAGE PRESERVATION PROJECT
The Alaska Highway Community Society Welcomes You!
The Alaska Highway Community Society (AHCS) is formed of representatives from local governments located along or near the Alaska Highway in northeastern British Columbia. The Society works to celebrate, promote and protect the history and heritage of the Alaska Highway. The administrative support for the AHCS is provided by the Fort St. John office of the Northern British Columbia Tourism Association (NBCTA). The NBCTA is governed by a private-sector board of directors representing business and community tourism interests within the Northern Tourism Region.
Commemorating the Alaska Highway Corridor
The AHCS is currently working on a nomination to commemorate the Alaska Highway Corridor as a National Historic Site of Canada to help mark the 75th anniversary of the construction of the Highway and the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017. While the building of the Highway is already commemorated as an ‘event’ and an engineering work of national significance, we are confident that the Alaska Highway Corridor is also a ‘place’ of national historic significance. For more about the nomination project see the Alaska Highway Heritage Project section.
The AHCS is also working cooperatively to undertake parallel and independently funded initiatives:
The Alaska Highway First Nation Story Collection Project, funded by the North East Native Advancing Society, offers story-collecting training to First Nations;
The Taylor Memory Project, funded by the District of Taylor, gathers both historical and contemporary stories about Taylor from residents and looks at ways the stories can be told through future exhibits; and
The Fort St. John Interpretive Planning, funded by the City of Fort St. John to identify an accurate reflection of Fort St. John’s story or stories in relation to the Alaska Highway.
History of the Alaska Highway
The Alaska Highway Corridor crosses provincial, territorial, international and cultural boundaries as it winds through northern British Columbia, southern Yukon and up into Alaska. Its geography, geology, flora and fauna encompass arable lands at its south end and sub-Arctic conditions in the north. The human footprint in the Corridor is most clearly evident in the highway itself, in its towns and in protected places, such as Kluane National Park. A closer look reveals that the Corridor has many stories to tell through less obvious human imprints on the landscape, such as places of importance to First Nations, former trading posts along the waterways, old trails and relics from the Second World War era.
The Corridor’s centrepiece is the Alaska Highway. Over a distance of almost 2,237 km, it crosses five summits ranging from 975 m to 1,280 m to serve residents, tourism, forestry, mining and the oil and gas industry. The highway is divided into three distinct sections. In British Columbia it is known as Highway 97; in the Yukon as Highway 1; and in Alaska as Highway 2. It runs through diverse natural eco-regions, from the Peace River Plains through boreal forests and mountain ranges.
The Highway itself was a significant feat of engineering and was recognized as an event of national historic significance in 1954, and as an International Historic Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers and Canadian Society for Civil Engineering in 1996.