History of Gold Panning in Alaska
Alaska has often been associated with gold discovery and prospecting. The history of gold rushes in the region dates back to the 19th century.
Gold was discovered in Klondike, Alaska in 1896, but word did not spread quickly to the continental United States. It wasn't until prospectors in Seattle and San Francisco caught word of the discovery just more than a year later, that there began a "rush" to Klondike in the hopes of striking it rich. Nearly 100,000 prospectors migrated to the Klondike region, but only 30,000 arrived due to weather, distance, and illness. Of those 30,000, only about 4,000 people discovered gold.
There was a strong economic effect due to the Klondike migration, which was felt through northwestern Canada and Alaska. Towns and cities were established to provide living quarters and supplies to the miners. Homes were established in these small towns and cities as well. As the gold rush dragged on, many miners that were left actually brought their families with them. Though few struck it "rich," the gold rush brought in thousands who ultimately helped create an economic infrastructure for Alaska and northwestern Canada. Several years after the beginning of the gold rush, thousands of small claims were consolidated into fewer, larger claims that could marshal the resources for mass processing and have some hope of turning a profit.
Prospectors ascending the Chilkoot Pass in a long line near Klondike, Alaska.
When gold was discovered in the Alaskan town of Nome in 1899, many miners from Klondike consolidated their resources and ventured there. Gold was very easily obtained and the gold rush that ensued lasted for more than a decade. Nome is still a popular mining spot to this day and the total gold estimated to have come from the region is estimated to be 112 metric tons, with an estimated value of nearly $5.03 billion by today’s value of gold.
If you are native to Canada or Alaska, or perhaps you are visiting the region, you should consider gold panning there. Not only is there a great deal of historical relevance, you may just find some gold yourself! For all your gold panning needs, consider using the Gold Rush Nugget Bucket!