City of Whitehorse Pioneer Cemetery Refurbishment

Services: Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)

Ground Penetrating Radar work at the City of Whitehorse Pioneer Cemetery

Work Involved:

  • Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) Grave and Cemetery Survey
  • Historic and Archival Research
  • Project Description

The Pioneer Cemetery located on Sixth Avenue and Wood Street in the City of Whitehorse was in operation from 1900 to 1965. Whitehorse was established as a municipality in 1950 and accepted responsibility for cemetery management in 1965. No consecutive burial records were kept, and many of the wooden grave markers had been removed by the year 2000.

A refurbishment project for the cemetery was initiated in 2012-2013, when members the community contacted the municipality and requested that efforts be made to clean up and repair the park.

In February of 2017, Ecofor’s Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) operators conducted a scan of the cemetery in support of this project. The scan was guided by the results of detailed background research that our Archaeology and Cultural Resource Management team conducted prior to fieldwork.

With the goal of identifying grave-free paths within the park to guide refurbishment efforts, Ecofor’s scan resulted in the identification of an estimated 485 unmarked graves. Prior to these results, the city expected the number of unmarked graves to range in the 200-300 mark.

After interpreting the scan results, Ecofor provided recommendations on the location of grave-free paths within the cemetery. These paths aided in the city’s establishments of footpaths through the park as part of the greater refurbishment project. Additionally, scan information regarding the location and number of unmarked graves within the park will aid the city’s future efforts of identifying and marking the unknown individuals.

Refurbishment activities took place in 2017-2018, and the city held a grand reopening of the Pioneer Cemetery in September of 2018.


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