sled dogma: reality bites

sled dog industry subsidies  check out your tax $$$ in action

Race organizers requests $1 million from the State of Alaska to

"insulate ourselves from...endless antagonism"

State of Alaska grants Iditarod $100,000 to fight animal rights activists


$200,000 Cabins to Nowhere: Federal Stimulus Dollars at Work


A partnership between the state and the federal Bureau of Land Management has erected four new shelter cabins along the Iditarod Trail in these locations:

  • The foothills along the Norton Sound coast between Unalakleet and Shaktoolik, an area regularly battered by fierce winds whipping across the sea ice.

  • Moose Creek, near the end of the 90-mile remote slog between the ghost towns of Ophir and Iditarod.

  • Tolstoi, in the same stretch of trail but closer to Ophir; and

  • North Fork Innoko River on the trail's northern route that is followed in even-numbered years. The cabin is near the abandoned town of Cripple, not far from where top contender John Baker got lost for several hours last year.

The shelters are 16-by-16-foot cabins of spruce logs with bunk space for six and a wood stove.

The project cost $800,000, money appropriated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act intended to stimulate the lagging economy across the United States. Much of the cost involved transporting materials and crews to the site by helicopter after reaching staging area by fixed-wing aircraft.

"That's the cost of putting these things where they do the most good," said Doug Ballou, a resource manager at BLM. "In the Lower 48, we'd be talking about rest areas on the interstate."

"One of the long-term goals of the Iditarod Trail is to provide safe travel along the trail -- not just for the race but for the villagers who use it as part of a wider network. It's the road system for rural Alaska, and it can be life-saving."


Posted by Jim Wilke on 02/09/11 -


"Absolute baloney. Three of these four cabins are located on remote trails that are only used by the Iditarod every other year. The Iditarod has to pay big bucks to break the trail because no one travels out there. In fact, there are few people even living in the area - the closest villages are McGrath and Shageluk, both about 100 miles away and home to 300 residents each. The fourth is on a well traveled trail that is only 12 miles from a village of 250. Trust me, they won't use this thing, they'll get home. The Iron Dog trail passes two of the four but won't use them.

This $800K expense is a direct subsidy of a commercial event, the Iditarod. No one else will ever use them or see the inside.

And note the cost - if you or I were building a cabin out there, you'd haul in plywood and lumber and throw the thing up for $20-30K. Since the government was involved, they helicoptered in 3-sided logs from Anchorage. Logs were chosen because they are rustic and picturesque - no one with a brain uses logs because you can't insulate them and they are heavy and expensive. It will take a week to warm one of these things up.

In five years, these cabins will be relics or burned to the ground, just like your money."

musher subsidies: food, euthanasia, and vet care

Low Cost Vaccination Programs - Locally sponsored vaccination programs allow mushers to vaccinate large numbers of animals for practically nothing.

Cheap and Free Euthanasia - Mushers can take unwanted dogs to local shelters and "surrender" the sled dog for any reason at all. Most sled dogs are quickly designated "unadoptable" (having never been socialized, house broken, or allowed off a tether) and must be euthanized at the shelter's expense.

Free Food - Local shelters provide free dog food to mushers in financial distress. There are also programs hosted by musher organizations to encourage race fans to purchase food for participating mushers.


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