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Greenville’s 100-mile Wilderness Sled Dog Race canceled

Courtesy Meghan Agrell | BDN
Courtesy Meghan Agrell | BDN
File photo from last year's race. Sylvain Robillard of St. Gabriel de Brandon, Quebec passes through the check point at West branch pond camps on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, during the 70-mile competition in the Wilderness Sled Dog Races.

The annual 100-mile Wilderness Sled Dog Race in the Moosehead Lake Region scheduled for Feb. 3 has been canceled due to unsafe trail conditions. Recent warm weather and rain, followed by freezing temperatures, has caused ice to develop on portions of the race route, which could spell disaster for mushers and their sled dogs.

“The decision is always just totally putting the mushers and the dogs first,” said Amy Dugan, President of the Wilderness Sled Dog Racing Association. “We’ve always prided ourselves on running a safe race.”

While trails in the Moosehead Region currently have enough snow cover to be used by skiers and snowmobilers, the trails are too compact and icy for mushers to consistently use ice hooks to slow, stop and hold their teams, Dugan explained.

“The way the race starts, part of it would be OK, and then you’d get up onto the [Greenville Municipal Airport] and we have at least 200 yards of glare ice and thin show,” Dugan said.

The race, first held in 2006, typically draws about a dozen sled dog teams and a crowd of volunteers and spectators. Rescheduling it isn’t a viable option, Dugan said.

“We’ve tried the postponement thing, and it just falls apart,” Dugan said.

Sled dog races are scheduled throughout the Northeast for nearly every weekend in the winter, making it nearly impossible to reschedule a race without competing with another race, Dugan explained.

“We are heartbroken and disappointed but feel that we must stand strong in our resolve to not send mushers and their dogs out on unsafe conditions,” said Dugan. “The entire race committee thanks all the volunteers that have been working so hard to make this race happen.”

More details can be found on the event’s website at, or by calling 207-695-2421.

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