Land Managers Volunteer On The CB300

Published April 2017

Sourdough checkpoint volunteers include, from left, Nick Weber and Denton Hamby, outdoor recreation planners with the BLM Glennallen Field Office, and Darren Billum, Ahtna maintenance technician. Photo by Bruce Cain

For the past two years, Team Ahtna has volunteered to help with the Sourdough checkpoint for the Copper Basin 300.

Known as the toughest 300 miles in Alaska, 38 mushers start and end in Glennallen after five legs that stretch from Meiers Lake Lodge to Mendeltna Lodge. Sourdough is the first checkpoint and, at 70 miles from the starting line, it’s one of the longest legs of the race.

With temperatures well below zero throughout the race, Ahtna and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) volunteers play a vital role in the race by setting up the checkpoint with warming tents, burn barrels, wood and warm stew for the mushers. They also helped set up staging areas for dog teams and organized the food drop station. Volunteer checkers were available around the clock and provided satellite phones for communication with race central, which helped provide important updates to anyone watching the race online or from afar.

Ahtna volunteers included Bruce and Shirley Cain, Isaac Cain, Darren Billum and Albert Craig.

Ryne Olson powered past three-time champion Allen Moore to capture the race. Olson, 28, came from behind in the final 60-mile stretch from Tolsona Lake Resort checkpoint to the finish. The transplanted Colorado resident now calls Two Rivers home.