WHITEHORSE, YUKON - A record field of 75 teams with 167 paddlers representing five countries are registered to start the eighth annual Yukon River Quest Canoe and Kayak Race on Wednesday, June 28.
Included in the field are Skagway canoe and solo kayak teams.
John ODaniel will be participating in his fourth River Quest, this time with his 19-year-old son Jason. They are called Skagway Sackbutz, reflecting Jasons passion for wrestling, and will be paddling in the Skagway Alpine Club canoe, a much lighter craft than their preferred Frankenboat. Theyve paddled three rivers together for fun, but work has gotten in the way of training this summer. Jasons goal is just to finish, and Johns is to beat my bow paddler to Dawson.
Also for Skagway in the solo kayak category is local teacher Denise (Anna Marie) Caposey. Her team name is her initials: AMC. Her goal for the event is to finish as a 50th birthday present to herself. She has paddled the Yukon River from Teslin to Carmacks, and from Marsh Lake into Whitehorse, as well as many trips on the Taiya near her Dyea home.
The 740-kilometer (460-mile) wilderness adventure paddling marathon is held on the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Dawson City in Canadas Yukon Territory. It is the longest annual canoe and kayak race in the world.
The registration period closed on May 26, but most solo and tandem slots filled back in February. The race has a limit of 70 solo and tandem teams and allows voyageur team entries above that limit.
This year a record six voyageur teams are entered, along with 28 tandem canoes, 23 solo kayaks, and 18 tandem kayaks. Winning teams in various classes receive $1,500 under a new prize structure adopted for this year. Total purse is over $20,000.
Ninety-nine paddlers from Canada represent the largest national contingent, followed by the United States with 44, Great Britain with 21, two from Austria, and one from Australia.
The Yukon leads the Canada representation with 31 paddlers, followed by 26 from British Columbia, 14 from Ontario, 11 from Alberta, 10 from Saskatchewan, four from Northwest Territories, two from Newfoundland, and one from Manitoba.
Paddlers from the USA are represented by 16 from Alaska, six each from Washington and Texas, four from New York, three from Michigan, two each from California and Hawaii, and one each from Iowa, Georgia, Wisconsin, Florida, Maine, and Illinois.
The large contingent from the United Kingdom this year is largely due to a BBC broadcast of the 2004 event that aired a year ago. Included among the 12 all-UK teams are three tandem kayak teams from the British Army, which held its own competition among soldiers this spring to fill the spots.
Biographies of all teams and other race information is available online at the race website: www.yukonriverquest.com.
After a LeMans-style start in downtown Whitehorse, teams paddle round-the-clock under the midnight sun, stopping for just two mandatory rests at Carmacks/Coal Mine Campground (7 hours) and Kirkman Creek (3 hours). It is a grueling wilderness adventure race that tests the stamina of both professional and recreational paddlers from around the globe.
In 2005 a total of 66 teams from six different countries started the event, while 50 finished. Eight category records were broken, including the new course record of 42:51:55. With lower water levels anticipated this year, it will take a monumental effort to break that record, but there are some world-class paddlers in the field that will give it their best shot.
Past class winners in this yearís race include Steve Mooney, Ingrid Wilcox and Tunde Fulop of Whitehorse, Brandon and Heather Nelson of Washington, David Kelly of California, Steve Landick of Michigan, and the Paddlers Abreast and RCMP Scarlet Fever voyageur teams from the Yukon.
Veteran River Questers Larry Seethaler of Anchorage and Heinz Rodinger of Austria are back with many others for another shot. For most paddlers, the biggest prize is just finishing the event in world famous Dawson City, site of the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-98. The race officially ends at 8:30 a.m. on July 2, followed by an awards banquet at noon at the Dawson Rec. Centre.
Race results will be updated and posted on the race website throughout the event.
This years race is drawing media attention from Canoe and Kayak magazine, whose editor is coming up for the event, as well as Adventure Kayak magazine, which will be following two KayakForCare teams that are raising money for hospices and early cancer detection awareness.
In addition, the Paddlers Abreast team of Yukon breast cancer survivors will be filmed for the upcoming National Film Board production, The River of Life by Whitehorse director Werner Walcher.
The event would not be possible without the assistance of nearly 100 volunteers and sponsors. Major sponsors are the Whitehorse Star, Canadian Rangers, and Whitehorse EMO. Other logo level sponsors are Air North, Kanoe People/Clipper Canoes, PR Services/yukoninfo.com, Northland Beverages/Aquafina, Integraphics, and Cranberry Bistro/Bold Rush. Many area businesses sponsor individual team bibs.
Volunteers are welcome for Whitehorse, Carmacks and Dawson City. To sign up, e-mail: email@example.com The race is organized by the Yukon River Marathon Paddling Association, based in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.
Upper Lake cabin ready for use
Community effort completes new overnight spot
The Alaska Department ofFish and Game last week announced that special king salmon regulations for
anglers fishing in Taiya Inlet north of the latitude of Taiya Point will be in effect from 12:01 a.m. Monday June 5 through 11:59 p.m. Monday July 31, 2006.
During this period, the bag and possession limit in Taiya Inlet is three king salmon of any size, and king salmon caught in Taiya Inlet do not count toward the nonresident annual limit, according to a ADF&G press release. This additional opportunity is being provided to allow harvest of hatchery-produced king salmon released at Pullen Creek, where runs are expected to exceed broodstock needs.
During the same period, the salt waters near the mouth of Pullen Creek will be closed to sport fishing to ensure brood stock needs are met. King salmon returning to Pullen Creek must migrate into the stream through a culvert that is accessible only during higher tides. Hatchery fish mill in saltwater off the mouth of the stream until a sufficient high tide allows them to pass through the culvert.
The area closed extends north of a line from a department marker on the Broadway Dock to a department marker on the Ore Dock, including the area off the mouth of Pullen Creek.
The department reminds anglers that fresh waters of Southeast Alaska are closed to king salmon fishing. However, Pullen Creek in Skagway may be opened to taking king salmon once hatchery brood stock needs have been met. In 2005, this did not happen because vandalism to the weir and holding pens resulted in the release of adult king salmon before enough eggs were collected. Continued vandalism will jeopardize the future of this king salmon enhancement program and the local king salmon fishery.
Other king salmon regulations remain unchanged in the area. Anglers sport fishing for king salmon are required to purchase a 2006 king salmon tag in addition to a sport fishing license. Exceptions to this requirement are listed on page 3 of the Southeast Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary.
Anglers can not possess king salmon in excess of the regulations for the area where they are fishing. Regulations prohibit the possession of king salmon less than 28 inches when fishing outside of designated tenninal harvest areas. Resident anglers are allowed to keep three king salmon 28 inches or more in length per day and in possession with no annual limit. Nonresident anglers are allowed to keep one king salmon 28 inches or more in length per day and in possession with an annual limit of four king salmon outside the tenninal area. Department staff and Fish and Wildlife Protection will closely monitor this tenninal king salmon fishery. If violations are observed regarding the location where king salmon are caught, the terminal fishery could be closed.
If you need further infonnation concerning this news release call (907) 766-2625 for recorded sport fishing infonnation or call the Division of Sport Fish office in Haines at (907) 766-3638.