As Yukon territory turns 115 years old today, birthday celebrations are centering in Dawson City, home of the historic Klondike Gold Rush.

But some of the area’s history could be in jeopardy after federal budget cuts led to layoffs of Parks Canada staff who maintain most of the artifacts and old buildings in the area.

The Klondike gold rush drew as many as 40,000 people panning the creeks for gold, and when they didn't find it most of them left in large numbers, abandoning everything they brought with them.

Even after the gold rush, people still came looking for gold but on an industrial scale. Bear Creek Compound is where they looked after the heavy machinery which tore into the creeks looking for gold.

Community groups have come forward to help preserve many of the historical sites. One group in Dawson City is working to have the entire area declared a UNESCO world heritage site.

CBC’s Heather Avery photographed some of the artifacts in Dawson City left behind by the people who came looking for gold.