Panning for Gold in Dawson City
Back during the gold rush, it wasn’t at all uncommon for someone to use a pick-axe and shovel and find a fair amount of gold in just one afternoon. That’s what triggered the gold rush up to the Yukon.
“Claim 6” was a small are set aside so tourists can experience what panning for gold was like.
People think that you scoop up dirt from the river bed, but that’s not quite the case. The gold can literally be anywhere. You use a shovel and pick-axe to loosen the dirt, then you rinse away the sand and debris in the water.
The idea is that since gold is relatively very heavy, you can gently use the river water to wash away any sand and dirt leaving behind any gold flakes, bits, or even small nuggets.
The dirt you scoop up is called “pay dirt”.
On the other side of the road on claim 6 is a bunch of cut lines the visitor association dug up to help visitors collect their pay dirt.