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Can-Am Crown sled dog races canceled due to warm temperatures, lack of snow

Musher David Boyer of Sint-liguori, Quebec and his team start the 100 mile race in the Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Races in Fort Kent Saturday.
Jessica Potila / St. John Valley Times
Musher David Boyer of Sint-liguori, Quebec and his team start the 100 mile race in the Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Races in Fort Kent Saturday.

The Can-Am Crown sled dog races in Fort Kent this weekend have been canceled because of upcoming rain and warm temperatures in Northern Maine, organizers say.

It's the first time in the event's history that there has been a full cancellation of the races, and the only time the issue was a lack of snow.

Dennis Cyr, president of the organization, says although there is snow on the trails, there is no coverage on roads the race course crosses over. And the board was concerned about the remaining snow melting this week.

"Looks like its going to be rain, and above average, or record breaking temperatures, so what little snow cover we have right now we're probably going to lose," Cyr said.

He says because many competitors may travel for days from across the country and Canada, the board couldn't wait any longer to make a decision.

Competitors travel from across the country to Fort Kent to compete, in some cases, in order to qualify for the Iditarod race in Alaska. And thousands of spectators travel to watch, because of it's reputation as a premier race, Cyr says.

"It is probably the biggest winter event in the state of Maine," he said. "It's definitely the best sled dog race east of the Mississippi River."

Between lodgings, food and other recreation during the races, Cyr estimates that that the races bring in around a million dollars for Fort Kent and the surrounding communities.

Kaitlyn Budion is Maine Public’s Bangor correspondent, joining the reporting team after several years working in print journalism.