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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Canyon Sled Dog Challenge is Cancelled

“Since we can’t guarantee a quality event that is safe for mushers and their dogs, we are going to Plan B,” said organizer Mary Beth Logue in announcing the decision to cancel this Saturday’s Canyon Sled Dog Challenge.

Wednesday night, Feb. 19 at 5:49 p.m. Logue emailed committee members. She wrote: "Just spent an hour checking out the trail at both Darling Run and Marsh Creek. I don’t believe it would be safe to run teams of six or eight dogs on it for there is no way to slow them down or to safely stop them."

The Challenge is a mid-distance run on the Pine Creek Rail Trail that covers a total of 18 miles from Ansonia to Tiadaghton and back to Ansonia. Its purpose is to test the abilities of skijorers - cross-country skiers harnessed to one or two dogs - and teams of six to eight pro and registered breed sled dogs and their mushers.

Plan B is a special free event for the public at 9 a.m. this Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Darling Run Access to the Pine Creek Rail Trail. To get there, take U.S. Route 6 from Wellsboro or Galeton to Shippen Township, turn onto Route 362, drive about 1.5 miles, turn right, enter the access area slowly and park.

Logue, a mid-distance sled dog racer who lives in Trout Run, Pa., will have seven of her Alaskan huskies with her at Darling Run as well as racing equipment and supplies. "I am also inviting other mushers to bring their dogs,” she said. “We may run on the trail if conditions are safe.”

At the Darling Run Access parking lot, Logue will give short presentations about mushing. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet her and her dogs and also to dress like a musher and stand behind a sled so a friend or relative can take their photo.

Second Chance Animal Sanctuaries’ volunteers will be at the Darling Run Access parking lot with hot chocolate, coffee and Highland Surprise cookies available for a nominal fee/donation. All proceeds will benefit the animals in their care.

"My sled dogs are friendly so people can walk up to them," Logue said. "I am bringing Hornet, Inish, Limerick, Ruby, Cyclone, Typhoon and Triumph."

The number of mid-distance races of 30 to 150 miles Logue enters in any given year is dependent on if there is enough snow to hold the events. “Some years I have gone to one race and other years, none," she said.

At 11 a.m., this Saturday, Logue will also have her huskies, sled and equipment on display at the Burnin’ Barrel at the Ansonia Valley Inn in Shippen Township (GPS Address: 5440 Route 6, Wellsboro, PA 16901). This will give people a second opportunity to meet this musher and her dogs as well as dress like a musher and stand behind Logue's sled to have their photos taken for free.

The Burnin' Barrel will open at 11 a.m. for lunch with three varieties of Straub beer on tap. Straub Brewery of St. Marys, Pa. is the sponsor of the challenge. A Straub representative will be on hand with a limited supply of T-shirts and pint glasses.

The organizers of the Canyon Sled Dog Challenge are the Pennsylvania Sled Dog Club, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry and the Wellsboro Area Chamber of Commerce. "We hope to hold the sled dog challenge in 2021 if there is enough snow," said Julie VanNess, chamber executive director.

For more information about this Saturday's events, call the chamber at 570-724-1926 or email info@wellsboropa.com before 4 p.m. this Friday or visit the club's FaceBook page: https://www.pasleddogclub.com/races-events-source/2019/2/23/canyon-sled-dog-challenge.

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