The 31st annual Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Mail Run kicks off this (Friday) morning in Quesnel.
Rick Raynor, President of the Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Association, says there is a change this year.
“This year we’ve had to make some changes because of the logging that’s going on at Troll Resort. We don’t have the usual Friday run at Troll. This year we’re moving it down to the 600 road which is directly across from Cottonwood House for the Friday.”
Raynor says this is truly a unique event.
“The Gold Rush Sled Dog Mail Run is the only event that we’re aware of anywhere that Canada Post mail, official mail, is delivered by sled dogs for the first part of its journey before it actually enters the mail system.”
Raynor says they will deliver between 1,000 and 1,500 pieces of mail, including some that will be going as far as Japan, New Zealand, and Germany.
He says the mushers will be sworn in at 11-30 on the Norton Creek Road, which is the start of the 600 road, and the teams will then leave at 1.
Raynor says they are down a few mushers this year.
“We have mushers that are coming from as far away as Bend, Oregon but our musher teams are down this year. We’ve probably only got about a dozen teams and the main reason for that is because of what’s happened with one of our mushers Kim Verge. She was involved in a serious car accident in Alberta at the beginning of February and the Verge family is in Edmonton right now with her.”
Raynor says the banquet tonight at 6 at Troll Resort will act as a fundraiser for Kim.
“Tickets are at the door, 25 dollars, and we’re using the banquet as a fundraiser for the Verge family as well to be able to assist them in their difficult time. We’ve got a number of auction items that have been donated for the auction, and the proceeds will be going directly to the Verge family.”
Raynor says mushers will then make another run on Saturday beginning at 11.
“‘The mushers will be gathering at the Jack O Clubs parking lot and from there they will be heading out. There are two trails, one of them goes up the Cornish Mountain and back down and the other one is the longer trail which is out the Sugar Creek loop. The Wells Snowmobile Club has really come through for us and groomed those trails for us, so between them and the Cross Country Ski Association up in Wells has been really great, so big thanks to them.”
He says Sunday’s Barkerville dash will also begin at 11.
“The mail carrying teams are going to be leaving Barkerville heading out to the Cornish Mountain loop down into Wells where they’ll circle through the Jack O Clubs parking lot and pick up the dash participants. The dashers will be joining them for the run from Wells to Barkerville finishing off at the post office just before noon.”
Raynor says the best place to view the mail run is at the finish in Barkerville in front of the post office, but he says people can also go to the Jack O Clubs parking lot to be able to see the mushers actually tying up the dogs and bringing them into the sleds and getting them ready.