Participants having the time of their life at the 2017 Sled Dog Mail Run. Karen Powell photo

Sled Dog Mail Run delivers a good time

Speciality envelopes to be included in mail run will soon be available

One of the Cariboo’s most charming traditions is mushing towards us.

Now in its 27th year, the Sled Dog Mail Run celebrates the history of the use of sled dogs for delivering mail in the north.

While the event has left its racing roots behind, it still carries official Canada Post mail along the Cariboo Gold Rush routes.

“I like the fact that it’s a connection with history,” says avid dog sledder and event organizer Jeff Dinsdale.

“I also like that it’s an outdoors event and a really positive family event.”

Around 30 participants are expected to join in on the fun this year.

In addition to dog sledders, some cross country skiers, snow shoers, kick sledders and skijor-ers ( skiers pulled by dogs) have been known to take part. In one instance, someone even attempted the run on a bicycle.

Those who do not want to brave the outdoors, or simply prefer to do their travelling by warm car in the winter months, can still participate by sending their mail in special envelopes, which will be available for purchase in Quesnel and Wells.

Each envelope will have sled dog-related artwork as well as an insert explaining the tradition.

Volunteers apply a cancellation stamp for Quesnel, Wells and Barkerville post offices to the mail a few days before the run and it is then distributed between the participants.

Mail carriers will complete three loops. One in Umity Pits, just north of Quesnel; another around Troll Mountain and finally a Barkerville/ Wells loop.

READ MORE: Historic Dog Sled Mail Run unique to Quesnel and Wells

The final leg of the run is called the Barkerville Dash, the only competitive section of the run, and often the most fun.

Dinsdale says the dash, which is open to anyone, can bring out some great characters.

“One lady who was fairly elderly had this big clunky dog and there she was with her little sled and this one dog and she was determined to do the dash,” he recounts.

“Another woman showed up with two huskies and a sled with two big stuffed animals in the sled, so it was stuffed dogs in the sled and real dogs pulling it.”

He adds the final portion is often his favourite.

“It’s the real climax,” Dinsdale says.

“To run my dog team down the main street of Barkerville is a really thrilling experience for me.”

Once the mail carriers make it to Barkerville they ceremoniously hand off their sacks to the town’s postmaster and the mail is entered back into the Canada Post stream to travel all around the world.

Dinsdale says it is typical for the mail to travel to more than 60 countries each year.

The event will take place January 24-27.

For information about the run or to find out where to buy the mail run envelopes, visit

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Troll Ski Resort is preparing for a ski season in the middle of a pandemic. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer File Photo)
Quesnel-area ski resort preparing for throwback season

Troll owner Hildur Fossberg Sinclair said they will operate like it was 30-40 years ago

Fifty spectators will be allowed in the West Fraser Centre, alongside 50 people on the ice. (Lindsay Chung Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
After tumultuous week of changes, Quesnel’s West Fraser Centre allowing spectators again

Capacity limits at the rink have changed four times in the past two weeks

The Quesnel SPCA is looking for foster homes for kittens, puppies and other small animals. (BC SPCA Photo)
“Genuine lifesavers”: BCSPCA puts out call for foster volunteers

The COVID-19 pandemic means more foster volunteers are needed to handle reduced capacity

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Charges laid against Prince George man, 39, in drug trafficking probe

Tyler Aaron Gelowitz is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 18

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read