If you’re into camping, you probably know how to swing an axe. How about a chainsaw?
During the construction of the Alaska Highway in ’42, they used whatever they could to cut through the bush in less than a year and fortify the continent against the threat of Japanese attack. It was a thrash-fest. As part of your road trip, see what they do now with chainsaws in Chetwynd, BC!
Chetwynd is the chainsaw carving capital of the world!
You need to see this place if you’re travelling the Alaska Highway. If you’re anywhere nearby during the second weekend in June, drop in. The picturesque town is brimming with beautiful, intricately carved wooden sculptures from the annual competition that draws chainsaw art enthusiasts from everywhere.
Read the full history of chainsaw carving in Chetwynd at gochetywynd.com:
“The project began as part of the Rendezvous ’92 Committee…created to help with the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Alaska (Alcan) highway. In 2005 Chetwynd hosted the first annual Chetwynd International Chainsaw Carving Championship, hosting seven carvers from B.C. and the United States. In 2006, the number of carvers attending increased to twelve carvers from all across North America. Chetwynd is now drawing international attention, with carvers coming as far away as Wales, North Wales, and Japan…The carvings themselves are becoming more intricate, with details so fine it is hard to believe that they were created with a chainsaw. Now there are more than 120 carvings located in various places around town.”
Say hello to the friendly folks at the Visitor Information Centre when you arrive in Chetwynd and pick up a map. Use it to guide your tour through businesses, parks and town streets where you can see beautiful, handcrafted sculptures of wildlife, fantasy heroes, scenics and abstracts.
When you’ve ogled all the amazing sculptures, go back to the Visitor Centre, let them know what you thought and buy yourself a souvenir miniature carving to take home with you after you finish driving the Alaska Highway.
There are great golf courses here in the Chetwynd area, lake and rivers for fishing and thick forests for hunting, hiking and biking. Enjoy them as you get ready for your road trip…or as a final stop before you leave the Alaska Highway corridor.
For kids, there are parks, playgrounds, a leisure pool, a library and the Little Prairie Museum. Nearby, there’s the massive and powerful WAC Bennet Dam, which fascinates youngsters as well as their parents!
Perhaps Chetwynd’s greatest calling card, though, is its Greenspace Trail System. It’s an interconnected series of easy-access, picturesque hiking and mountain biking trails in the Chetwynd, BC area.
The network is made up of the Cottonwood, Crown, Coyote, Centurion, Deer Point, Rodeo, 3 Culverts, Connector, Baldy, Community Forest, Interpretive and Windrem Trails. Trail maps are available at the Visitor Information Centre or District Office.
Then, if you’re into hardcore mountain biking, ride on, beyond this network. In the surrounding wilds, you’ll find challenging grinders, climbs and cross-country routes that will have your heart pumping and your adrenaline flowing.
It’s a one hour, ten-minute jaunt west on Highway 97 from Dawson Creek to Chetwynd. You’ll need to return to Dawson Creek to “officially” begin your Alaska Highway road trip at Mile “0”, but Chetwynd, British Columbia is worth a quick side trip for more than one reason…especially if you want to see what they do in these parts with chainsaws!