Sled Dog Meet-Up

Free event for the public at the Darling Run Access to the Pine Creek Rail Trail

by Diane Eaton – February 22, 2018

The lack of snow on the Pine Creek Rail Trail coupled with a forecast that calls for the temperature to rise to 55 degrees this Saturday, Feb. 24 have led organizers to cancel the inaugural Canyon Sled Dog Challenge, a mid-distance event to test the abilities of teams of 6 or 8 dogs and their musher, running from Ansonia to Tiadaghton and back.

Instead, a special free event for the public will be at the Darling Run Access to the Pine Creek Rail Trail at 9 a.m. this Saturday. To get to the Darling Run Access, take Route 6 to Shippen Township, turn onto Route 362, drive about 1.5 miles, turn right, enter the access area slowly and park.

Mary Beth Logue, a mid-distance sled dog racer who lives in Trout Run, Pa. will have eight to twelve of her Alaskan huskies with her at Darling Run as well as racing equipment and supplies. “I will give short presentations about mushing and people will have the opportunity to dress like a musher and stand behind a sled so a friend or relative can take their photo,” she said. “It may be a nice day for people to visit with my sled dogs and then get out and enjoy the Pine Creek Rail Trail.”

Volunteers from Second Chance Animal Sanctuaries will be at the Darling Run Access with beverages and snacks available for purchase with all proceeds to benefit the animals in their care.

“My dogs are friendly so people can walk up to them,” she said. “Its tradition that a litter of Alaskan husky puppies be named based on a theme. Six of the dogs with me at Darling Run will be from the Wrangell-Elias National Park litter. They will include: McCarthy, Wrangell, Blackburn, Bonanza, Chitina and Elias who are named for places in the park. Also with me will be Yukon and Charley who are named for the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. I may bring four others as well.”

Logue got into sled dog racing when she and her husband motorcycled to Alaska in 2001. “We saw a sled dog demonstration in Denali National Park and I was hooked. It is my passion.”

She trains her own dogs and has entered her team in mid-distance races of 30 to 150 miles in New England, Michigan, Maine and one in the Allegheny National Forest in Warren County, Pa. Each race has its own rules,” Logue said. The number of races she enters in any given year is dependent on if there is enough snow to hold the event. “In the past several years there hasn’t been that much snow. Some years I have gone to one race and other years, none.”

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 and dress like a musher and stand behind her sled to have their photos taken for free. The Burnin’ Barrel will open at 11 a.m. for lunch. There will be three varieties of Straub beer on tap. A representative from Straub will be on hand with a limited supply of T-shirts and pint glasses. .Straub Brewery of St. Marys, Pa. is the sponsor of the challenge.

The organizers of the Canyon Sled Dog Challenge include the Pennsylvania Sled Dog Club, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry and the Wellsboro Area Chamber of Commerce. “We are planning to hold the Canyon Sled Dog Challenge in 2019 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.

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