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A Road from Atlin to Juneau, 1905

An Explorer's Guide to Atlin, BC

Highways of Alaska, the Yukon, & northern British Columbia

The Atlin Claim - Saturday, January 28, 1905

Atlin-Juneau Road

    The public meeting to be held at the Court House, Thursday evening, to consider the proposed Atlin-Juneau Road, promises to be one of great interest. This road to the coast is seriously and favorably considered by many intelligent people in Atlin District as the most practicable and only natural solution of the mail and transportation problem. We suggest that a blackboard be used on which a sketch can be made of the country through which the road will run. This map could then be used to show the different routes proposed and will present the matter in a way easily understood by all.

    The following report was given at the meeting of the Board of Trade held last Monday night, and, with additional information, will be presented at the public meeting next Thursday.

    ATLIN, B. C., Jan. 20th, 1905.
To the President of the Board,

    Sir: - We, the Sub-Committee of the Council appointed to enquire into and report on the possibilities of putting a wagon road through to the Coast by way of Taku River, and the benefits such a road would prove to this Mining District of Atlin, beg to report as follows:

    We have gone carefully and fully into these matters and, after due consideration of all information it has been possible to collect, conclude that the project is not only feasible but that no natural obstructions present themselves; and taking into consideration the facts that such a road would put Atlin in direct touch with sait water, would cost less than that proposed two years ago - north from Atlin via Tagish to Car Cross - would develop the southern opart of British Columbia to the south and east of Atlin, and would lie wholly within the borders of the Province, we cannot overlook the fact that such an undertaking would be a benefit to other parts of the Province as well as to our own District.

    Since its inception, this Camp has suffered from having only one outlet, viz.: - the lake and railway system to Skagway. During eight months of the year this is closed to the District, except by negotiating the dangers of lake travel in open boat or the greater perils of ice travel in the early winter and spring to connect with the W. P. & Y. R. system at Car Cross or Log Cabin. Much danger to life, delay of and damage to mail and express matter, delay of passenger travel through the unsafe condition of the ice and impassable state of the trails, has always to be coped with year after year, to the annoyance and expense of all concerned, and it is a matter of Atlin's history that mail carriers and others have sacrificed their lives whilst in the discharge of their duty. That something should be done to remedy this state of affairs all are agreed, and this southern route commends itself to us on the following grounds:

    It will afford easy approach to Atlin and surrounding country at all times of the year. It will bring Atlin nearer steamboat communication on the Pacific by one-third of the distance via Car Cross and the White Pass system. It will be an all year route and consequently will enable men working placer ground to conveniently continue operations at least thirty days longer in the fall than at present when they have to close down about the third week in October in order to catch the last boat leaving Atlin - early in November.

    Such a road will materially lessen the cost of all staples, particularly on smaller mining machinery suitable for individual workers and will relieve the merchants from the compulsion of laying in enormous stocks of provisions, etc., in the fall, to carry them over the winter, thus more evenly distributing their freight expenses.

    It will provide means of an uninterrupted mail and express service; damage to such would be obviated and danger to life would be reduced to a minimum, since lake and ice travel would be eliminated.

    It would provide facilities for handling the average ores in the Camp, upon which sufficient work has been done to demonstrate the possibility of working the same under more favorable circumstances than those at present existing.

    In spite of all the drain on this Camp since its commencement, the drawbacks under which it has laboured with regard to freight rates, that it has been side-tracked in its communication with the coast and used as a feeder to a foreign system, instead of being in touch with ocean traffic, the Camp has shown a vast increase in its placer output and steady progress in the quartz development. That the life of the Camp is not one of short duration, but will be for many years to come a gold producer, and consequently an important source of revenue to the Province, is indicated by the constant discoveries of ancient channels and gold bearing gravels of vast extent.

    The construction of such a road in the direction proposed would open up a great portion of the Province hitherto untouched and which is known to carry gravels and mineral deposits well worth mining men's attention.

    The country through which this road would pass resembles very much that of the Atlin District itself, of which the Mining and Engineering Journal says, that, the roads in that part of the Province cost less than in any part of Alaska to build and maintain. Little bridging would ave to be done, as the streams are small. There is abundance of good timber, and eight miles of the already constructed McKee Creek road would form part of the proposed road.

    The distance approximately from Atlin to the Boundary Line would be about eighty miles, possibly less. The road certainly would not extend all that distance if steamers could reach a landing within the Canadian Boundary, as is reported.

    In conclusion, we would point out that this is really the natural gate to this portion of the Province from the sea and that more than once this said route has been contemplated for a railway route, and that in 1899 a pack-horse trail was cut from the head of canoe navigation to the Silver Salmon Lake, a distance of some thirty miles from Atlin.

    We would further suggest, sir, that a public meeting be called, at the instigation of the Board, through the Government Agent, to present this matter to the residents of the District, and a petition be circulated through the District, urging the construction of the road upon the Government, through our Member, Dr. H. E. Young.