Yukon Nuggets

1898 Yukon Nuggets

Watson Lake


Frank Watson was among about 1500 people who attempted to reach the Klondike via the almost impossible route from Edmonton. When he arrived in the Upper Liard River area in the spring of 1898 Watson had lost all hope of going any further – the route was just too difficult. However, he liked the country and he decided to stay. He became a trapper and prospector. He married a Native woman from Lower Post. The Upper Liard River and its tributaries became his trapping territory. He built his home on the shores of what was then known as Fish Lake, and now Watson Lake. In the spring of 1941 the construction of the Watson Lake airport was underway. Two runways, along with administrative buildings and staff houses for DOT and RCAF personnel were built. A year later the Alaska highway brought thousands troops and civilian workers to the area. The highway passed 10 miles to the east of the lake, and a small community then called the Watson Lake Y sprung up. The work was completed in the fall of 1943, though a post office had been built in 1942. All this activity was too much for Frank Watson. He moved his family a few miles north to Winded Lake.




A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin.

Les McLaughlin

Les McLaughlin

As storyteller, radio man, and music producer, Les proved a passionate preserver of Yukon heritage throughout his life — nowhere more evident than as the author and voice of CKRW’s “Yukon Nuggets,” from its inception until his passing in 2011.