July 26, 2014
by Barbara Tetreault
The Berlin Daily Sun
Berlin – Jericho Mountain State Park is known as a paradise for ATV riders but the 7,000 acres has also attracted the eye of mushers. This fall, the Canaan based Seal Cove Journeys has rented out the entire campground at the park to put on a three-day campout and training weekend with three experienced race veterans providing hands-on help.
“I love the place,” said co-owner Christine Richardson. “I’m just impressed with the trails.” Richardson said she came up to the park last winter to train with local musher Sally Manikian of Shelburne. Mainkian has helped to run sled dog races at Jericho the last two winters. She decided the park was the perfect place to hold a weekend training camp and found the state very accommodating of the idea. Richardson met last Friday with Clint Savage of the N.H. Trails Bureau and Jericho Park Manager Jim Grant to go over the details.
A maximum of 18 sled dog teams will be accepted for the training weekend. The dog teams will train pulling ATV’s. Richardson explained the ATV’s will be operating and a driver will steer and apply brakes as needed. Some smaller teams may use wheeled carts.
The training weekend is Oct. 17-19, which is the same weekend as RiverFire. Richardson said training camp will add to that weekend’s activities and she hopes people will come and watch the dog sled teams in action.
“We want people to lean to interact,” she said. Richardson started dog sledding 20 years ago and, with a partner, owns a kennel of 35 Alaskan huskies. She has participated last year in the 250-mile Can-AM Crown International Sled Dog Race in Fort Kent, Maine. She is also a registered Maine Guide.
Two veterans of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race – Brent Sass and Mike Ellis, will join her at the training weekend. Ellis holds the record for running the fastest Siberian team in the famous Iditarod. Ellis placed 13th in the Iditarod in 2012 and earned rookie of the year honors.