Jeff Dinsdale of Quesnel gave a talk at the Fort St. James National Historic Site on the history of dog mushing in central B.C. for the Fort St. James Sled Dog Association.

History for the dogs

Jeff Dinsdale of Quesnel visited Fort St. James to give a talk on the history of mushing in north-central B.C..

Jeff Dinsdale of Quesnel visited Fort St. James to give a talk on the history of  mushing in north-central B.C..

Dog mushing has been around in Canada for a long time, according to Dinsdale, with the Inuit in the north using sled dogs for over 4,000 years.

The Carrier peoples of New Caledonia and beyond, however, he does not believe were using sled dogs prior to their introduction by the fur traders, who brought them from northern Alberta to help carry furs and supplies across the north in the winter.

“As far as British Columbia is concerned, this is where it all started,” said Dinsdale.

Over the years, sled dogs and their sleds evolved. Early sleds were fairly rudimentary, beginning with toboggans made out of two eight-inch boards.

In the early years, the dog teams were small, usually as few as four dogs or less made a team.

Mushers had to run, walk or snowshoe alongside or behind the sleds, with nowhere to stand on the back of the sleds, and steering control was limited.

Sled dogs were instrumental in the fur trade, in the Collins Overland Telegraph Line, and the railway line. Surveyors of both line systems used sled dogs for their work.

The talk ended with a fantastic demonstration of the traditional clothing from the late days of the fur trade, with a coat made from a wool blanket, leggings, and traditional ties and wraps to keep the snow out and warmth in.

Over 30 people attended Dinsdale’s talk, put on by the Fort St. James Sled Dog Association. Entry was by donation, with proceeds going towards the association’s Caledonia Classic races set for February 22-24, 2013.

Just Posted

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

Cyclist braking stigma on addiction from coast to coast

Mathew Fee aims at world record for longest distance on BMX bike while sharing his story of recovery

Blackwater Gold Project receives a thumbs up from the Environmental Assessment Agency

The $1.8 billion project will provide approximately 2,000 jobs

Hazelton RCMP officer pleads not guilty to assault

A trial date for Const. Eric Unrau will be set on Apr. 23

MP Nathan Cullen to testify at oil tanker ban committee hearings

Senators travel to Prince Rupert and Terrace as part of fact-finding mission on Bill C-48

4 victims killed in Penticton shooting spree remembered at vigil

John Brittain, 68, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Whitecaps fans stage walkout over club’s response to allegations against B.C. coach

Soccer coach has been suspended by Coastal FC since February

Three climbers presumed dead after avalanche in Banff National Park

One of the men is American and the other two are from Europe, according to officials

Two recommendations made in probe of B.C. train derailment that killed three

The CP Rail train went off the tracks near the B.C.-Alberta border in February

VIDEO: Trump tried to seize control of Mueller probe, report says

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report revealed to a waiting nation Thursday

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select sailings

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries will be available on the Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

B.C. awaits Kenney’s ‘turn off taps,’ threat; Quebec rejects Alberta pipelines

B.C. Premier John Horgan said he spoke with Kenney Wednesday and the tone was cordial

Federal government extends deadline to make Trans Mountain decision to June 18

The National Energy Board endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline on Feb. 22

Prince George sweeps to first-ever BC Hockey League crown

Spruce Kings beat Vernon Vipers 3-1 in the Okanagan Wednesday for 13th straight playoff win

Most Read