There is a pathway in the City of Yellownife that isn’t included on any of the tourist maps. This is despite it being clearly marked with wooden bridges, and cement markers. Hidden behind the new development of Niven Drive.
The path leads to the Back Bay Cemetery, which has been left to be reclaimed by the wilderness of the Northwest Territories. This peaceful resting place is also now a popular snowmobile trail. At first glance, it appears that only weeds and mosquitoes are running rampant, but a closer inspection shows that crosses have been broken and smashed across the burial grounds.
I found it by accident while exploring in and around the Yellowknife Ski Club’s trail system in the summer. Before finding the cemetery, my friends and I came across a dead raven in the trail. I’m taking it to be Yellowknife’s albatross.
With no one, including the City of Yellowknife, to look after this heritage site, it is very quickly being overgrown and destroyed. Even the sign that once greeted visitors who came by boat across back back lays shattered on the ground.
There are a few graves, like this one of a three month old who is just “asleep”, that are still managing to go mostly unharmed. But the amount of broken crosses scattered across the ground, makes you wonder if you’re not stepping on someone’s grave when you go visit.