New Sled Dog Race Comes with $25,000 Purse

A dog team on a trapline. Photo from www.gichigamiexpress.com

A new three-day sled dog race aims to highlight northern Minnesota’s sled dog heritage next month. Racers will depart from Grand Portage on Sunday, January 6, and return on Monday January 8 after visiting Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail.

According to an article in the Duluth News Tribune, organizers wanted to unite different communities within Cook County and highlight the area as a tourist destination. Dubbed the Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race, the course will take mushers from Grand Portage to Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail:

Day 1: Grand Portage to Hungry Jack Lodge

Day 2: Windigo Lodge to Devil Track Landing

Day 3: Grand Marais to Grand Portage

While many of us think of sled dogs for racing and tourist activities, the new race also hopes to promote their heritage in the region. According to its website, sled dogs were first used as work animals by Native Americans because they could pull heavy sleds without trails.

But during the 1900s, as “outsiders” came into the region to open resorts, they started to use the sled dogs with tourists. You can read more about the history of sled dogs in the region HERE.

Each stage of the inaugural race starts at 9 a.m., January 6, and mushers are expected to cross the finish line between 3 and 6 p.m., January, 8.

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