Sign Post Forest of Watson Lake, Alaska

Jul 27, 2010 0 comments

One of the most famous of the landmarks along the Alaska Highway was started by a homesick GI in 1942, and is now one of the attractions which make Watson Lake, at Mile 613, a must-stop. The Sign Post Forest has over 65,000 signs (as in 2008) and you can even add your own.


In 1942, a simple signpost pointing out the distances to various points along the tote road being built was damaged by a bulldozer. Private Carl K. Lindley, serving with the 341st Engineers, was ordered to repair the sign, and decided to personalize the job by adding a sign pointing to his home town, Danville, Illinois. Several other people added directions to their home towns, and the idea has been snowballing ever since.

The Signpost Forest takes up a couple of acres, with huge new panels being constantly added, snaking through the trees. There are street signs, there are "Welcome To..." signs, there are signatures on dinner plates, there are license plates from around the world - the variety is as broad as people's imagination. Reading the signs and messages can take you on a textual tour of the world for as long as you care to keep reading and walking.

To say that posting signs has become popular with travelers is an understatement - in July 1990, sign number 10,000 was nailed up in a special ceremony by Olen and Anita Walker, of Bryan, Ohio. The official count of signs conducted by the staff at the Visitor Centre in September 2003 showed 51,842 signs and by September 2008 it had reached 65,164 signs! Each year, between 2,500 and 4,000 new signs are being added to the collection.

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[via Explore North]


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