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Dog sledding joins the pack of popular winter sports in Michigan

Credit Courtesy of Tasha Stielstra
A musher drives a team of dogs at Nature's Kennel Sled Dog Racing & Adventures.

Many call skiing to mind, or ice skating, when thinking about winter in Michigan. A growing number of Michiganders, however, envision a team of dogs pulling a sled through snow-covered forests and fields.

Dog sledding is getting more popular in Michigan, with more and more people seeking out places like Nature’s Kennel Sled Dog Racing & Adventures in McMillan, in the Upper Peninsula.

Tasha Stielstra owns the business with her husband. She joined Stateside to help us understand dog sledding’s growing popularity in our state.

Listen above for the full conversation, or read a highlight below.

On what a perfect dog sledding moment looks like

“It’s, you know, unlike no other winter sport, because it’s truly silent … and the dogs are so excited to run. It’s their favorite time. They bark and go crazy and howl and sing. And then you leave the dog yard and it becomes silent. And that rush of the sled and just panting of dog breath. And it’s pretty magical. You kind of feel a connection to nature that’s even probably different than just going for a walk in the woods – being pulled by an animal is pretty unique. And you see some areas of the country that are kind of inaccessible otherwise, which is, again, pretty unique, and just that magic of winter feel.”

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