Tustumena 200 race canceled for 3rd year in a row

This year’s Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race has been canceled, marking the third consecutive year in which plans for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race qualifier have been scrubbed.Tami Murray, the race’s operations director and president, announced the cancellation on the race’s Facebook page Tuesday. As in the previous two years, Murray said, the decision came down to the fact that race organizers “don’t have enough snow and have way too much open water” for the event, which would have seen a field of 50 mushers take to the trail on Jan. 30.“As many of you know, we looked at an option of making a 65-mile loop that would include a section of the Kenai (National) Wildlife Refuge,” Murray wrote. “Unfortunately the area we needed to use is considered protected wilderness and they could not find a way around the regulation.”Murray thanked officials with the refuge, Cook Inlet Region Inc. and the Ninilchik Native Association for their help in trying to make the 2016 race happen.A week ago, Murray hinted that a cancellation was likely, saying, “We need some major snow and cold temps,” ahead of a decision set to be made during a Monday meeting of the race’s board of directors.Previous runs of the race, typically a 200-mile round trip from Clam Gulch to Homer, were also canceled due to warm weather in 2014 and 2015.Two-time Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey won the last Tustumena 200 in 2013, coming in ahead of Ray Redington and four-time Iditarod victor Jeff King in the top three. That race also saw two dog deaths, in teams run by mushers Paul Gebhardt and Nicolas Petit.Full article: https://www.adn.com/article/20160120/tustumena-200-race-canceled-3rd-yea... Alaska Dispatch News at newstips@alaskadispatch.com or on Twitter

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