The Force in the North


Champagne was at the crossroads of two traditional trails; one to the coast on what became the Dalton Trail and one going west-to-east along what became the Kluane wagon road.

The NWMP had a summer camp in Champagne in 1903 and a building there in 1904. When the RCMP post became permanent in 1905, construction of a new building began. Champagne was made a sub-port of entry after Dalton Post was closed and the constable acted as customs agent. The detachment quarters were completed in 1907 and an older building was used as storage. The customs office closed in 1909.

In 1907, the new detachment buildings were finished and the old building used as a storehouse. Champagnes Landing is a sub-port of entry and one of the members of the detachment acts as a sub-collector for customs.  Patrols were frequently made to Kluahne and to Mendenhall Landing, and occasionally to Dalton House. In the spring a patrol was made into the Hutchi Valley. (Royal Northwest Mounted Police Annual Report. Sessional Paper No. 28. 1908:11, 16, 22.)

Champagne Landing detachment was not re-opened in 1911 and the place will be served by patrols. (Report of the North-West Mounted Police, 1911. Sessional Paper No. 28. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer. 1911:214.)

A post office opened in 1911 and Shorty Chambers was the first postmaster. Air mail flights were made from Whitehorse until June 1911 when the wagon road was put in. The post office closed in October, 1949. Champagne continued to be a fur trading post after mining died down.

The detachment at Champagne opened and closed according to demand. The detachment closed for good in 1938.