Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Dogsledding Becoming a Popular Winter Adventure for Tourists in New Brunswick

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Dogsledding Becoming a Popular Winter Adventure for Tourists in New Brunswick

Article excerpt

Dogsledding is popular winter adventure

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ALLARDVILLE, N.B. - For Gilles Vaillant of Vincennes, France, the chance to go dog sledding in northern New Brunswick was "a dream come true."

"After the dogs were hitched, we left for this magnificent adventure bathed in silence, wind and barking with great sensations," he said, describing the adventure he took with his wife, Christine, during a visit to Canada in 2014.

Christine -- who is usually uncomfortable around dogs -- described the sled dogs as endearing and beautiful, and her experience as "a magical ride."

"It was very impressive for me to see as soon as they were hitched, that I had to press hard on the brake as they had one desire to take off," she said.

"They were barking very hard to go."

The first known use of putting dogs to work to pull sleds dates back some 4,000 years, but more recently dog sledding has become an enjoyable winter activity that is drawing tourists to Canada for the experience.

For Diane LeClerc, dog sledding is a chance to bond with her dogs and to educate the public on the sport and her Acadian culture in northern New Brunswick.

"It's the nature, the silence, the peace, the liberty that you get from that," she said. "You can't imagine until you try it."

LeClerc was born in northern New Brunswick but spent much of her life in Quebec -- working at the Granby Zoo for 24 years.

"I always wanted to come back to New Brunswick to do dog sledding," she said. "I came back, bought a house and 33 acres with my dogs."

In 2014, LeClerc opened Sled Dog Adventures in Allardville, N.B., and in her first season drew tourists from such places as Germany, Madagascar, Turkey, Japan, China and France.

She said people come for the experience.

"It's the dogs, it's the outdoors, and it's more than that. You get a relationship with the dogs and you can't imagine how the dogs are strong, how they listen and how loving they are."

Add to that the scenery as the dogs take riders along snow-covered trails through forest and fields. …

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