Search NNSL


NNSL Photo/Graphic

Subscriber pages

buttonspacer News Desk
buttonspacer Columnists
buttonspacer Editorial
buttonspacer Readers comment
buttonspacer Tenders

Court News and Legal Links
Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size
Sled dog killed in Kam Lake area
Mushers say Kam Lake dangerous for teams who are training

Kirsten Fenn
Northern News Services
Thursday, November 3, 2016

Mushers are reminding drivers to be cautious of dog sledding teams travelling on city roads after a woman's dog was killed by a vehicle and another injured over the weekend in the Kam Lake area.

NNSL photo/graphic

One of Alexis Campbell's sled dogs was killed and another injured by a truck while training in the Kam Lake area on Oct. 29. - photo courtesy of Alexis Campbell

Alexis Campbell was crossing Deh Cho Boulevard around 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 when she said a large gravel haul truck struck her two point dogs, directly behind the leader. The team was coming off of a side street that Campbell believes was Taltheilei Drive.

"One was killed on impact and the other one, we thought she was dead. My brother stayed behind and she bounced up so we brought her to the vet," Campbell said.

The injured dog is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery, Campbell said, but the situation has still been hard on her and her family.

"I just hope this never happens to anyone else," she said.

Campbell wants to talk to mushers and the public about what could be done to improve safety in the Kam Lake area, which she described as "scary" for both sled teams and pedestrians.

Increased traffic and speeding is a concern for her.

Although she and her team always slow down at intersections and take precautions in busy areas, "they are dogs," Campbell said. "We can't control them like we can control a car."

Qimmiq Kennels owner Jo Kelly called Campbell's incident "unsettling."

She is also a musher and said most Yellowknife sled teams train their dogs on the same streets, leaving from Curry Drive or Kam Lake Drive and heading up Deh Cho Boulevard.

"(Deh Cho Boulevard) is probably the most dangerous crossing for us, just because the traffic there is fast, the visibility there is very bad and people don't expect to see a dog team coming across the street," Kelly said, adding every team has to cross that road at least twice during training.

She takes as many safety precautions as possible while on the roads, like attaching a flag to the back of her sled and having a spotter who hops off the sled to direct the team through intersections.

"But you never know what you're going to meet here in Kam Lake," Kelly said. "It's heavy industry. Lots of kids come out here and hooligans just wanting to drive fast because there's no other place in the city, really."

Since moving to Kam Lake in 2004, she said traffic has increased exponentially.

"There was a time when I would leave here on my quad and do a 15-kilometre run and not see a car. Now I pass five before I get to the end of Curry Drive," Kelly said. "Things have changed."

She said mushers have petitioned the city for signage on roads before, but when they are put in place, they tend to get stolen.

Because dog sled teams don't have the option to train out in the countryside, signs at Deh Cho Boulevard, Taltheilei Drive and near Fiddler's Lagoon - which she described as two other areas of concern - would remind the public to be careful, she said.

Although the weekend accident has been a blow to Campbell's team, she said she expects her dogs to bounce back.

"Our dogs are definitely going to be spooked, but our sled dogs are very tough," she said.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.