This is the top of the 'Midnight Dome' directly above Dawson City. There have been “informal” bike trails on the Midnight Dome for years. During the Klondike Gold Rush there were literally thousands of stampeders living in tents and shanties on the slopes above Dawson City, so there were trails and tote roads all over the place, which local bike enthusiasts have turned into bike trails. Over the past ten years groups of youth have built some crude ramps and jumps, but most have fallen into disrepair. This year’s approved trail building project was the first “formal” attempt to establish a network of bike trails on the Dome.
Most of the youth in Dawson City picked up mountain biking on their own and have been doing it for at least 5 years on average. Up until a couple years ago there was an amazing bike shop in town and the owner Tim Gunter inspired a couple of generations of youth to get into MTB. Quite a few of them have ridden the trails in Whitehorse and Carcross/ Montana Mountain, and of course watched a lot of YouTube videos on biking.
This spring the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in (TH) Government’s Community Services Department canvassed the local youth, with the primary focus on youth who might be considered at risk, to see what new activities or services they felt might enhance quality of life and well-being for themselves and others in the community. Most of them, being avid bike enthusiasts felt that the development of high quality bike trails on the Midnight Dome would provide a positive benefit to the community, particularly the youth. Following these initial discussions the TH Community Counselor could see this was something the youth were passionate about, so she challenged the youth to take the initiative and make the project a reality. In early April the youth enlisted the support of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in FN (TH), Yukon Government, and the local trail building club, Klondike Active Transport and Trails Society (KATTS), to help them with their endeavors. The youth were aware of the tremendous success the Tagish/Carcross FN’s (TCFN) had with their “Single Track to Success’ project on Montana Mountain, so they travelled to Whitehorse to meet with representatives from the TCFN and the Whitehorse biking community to learn from their experiences. During this visit they were fortunate to meet with some of the Carcross First Nations youth who had worked on the Montana Mountain trails in Carcross, so they were able to hear firsthand what a positive experience it had been for them and their community.