Snowmobilers blazing trails on old mining roads

It’s too bad you couldn’t come last night ‘cause we really ripped around the trails, Tim Grenon said as we sat down for breakfast…

It’s too bad you couldn’t come last night ‘cause we really ripped around the trails, Tim Grenon said as we sat down for breakfast last week.

Before the News sent me to Dawson for four days, Grenon and I planned an evening of trail blazing on an overgrown road that his club, the Dawson Sled Dawgs, are clearing for the snowmobile season.

Scheduling became a problem and after sharing our disappointment about my absence on the ATV tour — Grenon relishes any chance he gets to hit the trails — we settled for a meal at the Downtown Hotel to discuss the reclamation project.

“We have roads everywhere in this country from mining and we’re trying to open them up,” said Grenon, Sled Dawgs president.

“We have an incredible trail system here that we’d like to brush out and map.”

The non-profit club is clearing a 32-kilometre trail outside of Dawson thanks to a grant from Yukon Energy and the territory’s Community Development Fund, which donated $2,000 and $18,800 respectively.

“The money’s great, but overwhelming,” said Grenon. “In the end we’ll have a lot to show for it, but we got a lot of work to do.”

The 93-member club has spent the summer clearing the trail of brush, putting up signs and staking kilometre markers. It’s a lot of work for members — more than they planned for — but once winter hits, it’ll be worth it, said Grenon.

“We’re all avid snowmobilers,” he said. “We love it. And the more trails we have, the better winter we have.”

Years of disuse have left the old trail covered in brush. The resilient willows pose a particular problem for volunteers preparing the trail.

Four different trails originally were marked for work this summer, but the club quickly realized only one would be finished in the winter, said Sled Dawgs treasure, Vikki Loewen, who joined Grenon at the hotel for the meeting.

The Caulder Creek Trail near Eldorado Creek will take snowmobilers and cross-country skiers up and down steep hills, through rough terrain and down winding paths into deep valleys.

“It’s different routes, different scenery,” said Loewen. “The trails are there, so you might as well use them. And no matter how many times you see the country, it’s amazing.”

Reclamation is ongoing because the club will maintain old trails and open new ones next year. Grenon “could do a trail a year for the rest of his life, and there’d still be more to clear,” he said.

“It’ll continue on. There’s so much country here. The work is endless, truly endless.”

Opening up new trails will give locals more recreational options because they could also be used in the summer by hikers, horseback riders and ATVers, said Loewen, who has two boys eager to test the trails.

“I found growing up here, there wasn’t a lot to do,” she said. “There’s things that can be done now, you just need to take the initiative to go ahead and find them. (The trails) are for the family, not just adults.”

The Sled Dawgs raise most of their own money through fundraisers like a slide-and-ride where, after kids come down a hill on their sleds, club members haul them back up with their snowmobiles.

Members also host Alaskan snowmobilers during the Dawson Poker Run. The new trails will show the Alaskans different parts of the Dawson area, said Loewen, and more variety keeps them coming back.

New trails will keep things fresh for the avid snowmobilers hoping to kill time in a slow winter season.

“I love tearing around on a sled. It’s better than coming into town and sitting in the bar,” said Grenon. “When you get out there, you have a lot of fun.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted


Wyatt’s World for Feb. 26, 2021

Ken Anderson’s Sun and Moon model sculpture sits in the snow as he carves away at the real life sculpture behind Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre for the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous festival in Whitehorse on Feb. 21, 2018. Yukon Rendezvous weekend kicks off today with a series of outdoor, virtual and staged events. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Rendezvous snowpad, live music and fireworks this weekend

A round-up of events taking place for the 2021 Rendezvous weekend

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. The proposed Atlin Hydro Expansion project is moving closer to development with a number of milestones reached by the Tlingit Homeland Energy Limited Partnership and Yukon Energy over the last several months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Atlin hydro project progresses

Officials reflect on milestones reached

Whitehorse musher Hans Gatt crosses the 2021 Yukon Journey finish line in first place at approximately 10:35 a.m. on Feb. 26. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Whitehorse musher Hans Gatt crosses the 2021 Yukon Journey finish line in first place at approximately 10:35 a.m. on Feb. 26. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Hans Gatt wins inaugural 2021 Yukon Journey

The Yukon Journey, a 255-mile race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse, kicked off on Feb. 24

In a Feb. 17 statement, the City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology used for emergency response. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Three words could make all the difference in an emergency

City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

The Yukon government and the Yukon First Nations Chamber of Commerce have signed a letter of understanding under the territory’s new procurement policy. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
First Nation business registry planned under new procurement system

Letter of understanding signals plans to develop registry, boost procurement opportunities

Most Read