Trail change hurts Carmacks and Braeburn

PELLY CROSSING Kendall Tracy expected an abridged Quest trail to end in Carmacks. So on Friday, the owner of the Carmacks hotel, restaurant, store…

PELLY CROSSING

Kendall Tracy expected an abridged Quest trail to end in Carmacks.

So on Friday, the owner of the Carmacks hotel, restaurant, store and gas bar was surprised to discover it was going to return to Dawson.

“I was disappointed, to say the least,” said Tracy.

“It will obviously have a negative effect on our economy.”

And when the Quest is heading towards Whitehorse, as it is this year, Carmacks usually sees even more business, said Tracy.

“With all these people from Fairbanks, they tend to stay longer than when the Quest is going the other way.

“It’s really unfortunate that they decided to turn around in Pelly,” she said.

Carmacks already lost plenty of business and exposure when the Quest officials decided to change the mandatory layover from Carmacks to Braeburn several years ago.

It was an odd decision “because Carmacks was voted by mushers to be the best place to stop along the whole Quest trail,” said Tracy,

“And now they just breeze through here,” she said.

“Now Whitehorse and Dawson get this shot to the economy and the lesser communities don’t get anything.

“We won’t see five cents this year.”

February is usually quite busy for Tracy.

“We even donate rooms to the Quest officials,” she said.

“But this year we won’t see anybody.

“I’m disappointed they didn’t end it in Carmacks.

“Although the race would have been a little shorter then,” she admitted.

Carmacks Quest volunteer co-ordinator George Skookum had lots of people lined up to help make food and prepare the checkpoint.

“We always look forward to watching the teams come through,” he said.

“And when they are heading toward Whitehorse it is really becoming a race with lots of intensity.”

It’s a big economic loss for the community, he added.

Braeburn lodge will miss the Quest this year as well.

Who will eat Steve Watson’s enormous cinnamon buns?

And mushers won’t receive their complimentary burger, big enough to feed the whole team.

“Those two communities are loaded with volunteers that support this race,” race marshal Mike McCowan told mushers and Quest officials.

“So, we should all try to stop and thank them, and spend as much money as we can and pay attention to those people in those communities, because they deserve it.”

One fellow suggested the Quest buy enough cinnamon buns from Braeburn to leave one on every plate at the banquet after the race.

But it would probably only take half a dozen to feed the whole banquet hall.