Open Forest back with sled dogs, chili contest | Local/Regional

TOWNSHIP OF LITCHFIELD — A community event dedicated to outdoor recreation will soon return with a variety of activities including sled dog racing and chili cooking.

The 22nd Annual Open Forest will be held March 5 at the Satterlee Creek Environmental Center in Litchfield Township.

“Some kids don’t usually walk on a trail or see a stream, so we like to take them out,” said Debra Agnew, an event organizer.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature activities such as tractor-drawn wagon rides, an airsoft shooting range, and hiking tours. There will also be an open fire for roasting marshmallows and processing and tasting maple syrup with pancakes.

“One of our big attractions is the second annual Smokey Hill Sled Dogs Cardboard Sled Race,” she said. “It went really well the last time we did it, so we’re delighted.”

Organizers were able to hold the race in 2020 before the COVID-19 closures, but were unable last year due to the pandemic. Kids and adults can make their own cardboard sleds and hook them up to the sled dogs that pull them through the snow.

For anyone looking to grab a hot and tasty meal in the winter, the event will feature the Sikora Chili Contest. Entrants will have their cooking skills tested with their finished products judged at 11 a.m. Anyone interested in participating can go to for the contest rules.

The event will also include a quilt raffle, two firewood raffle designs and a Chinese auction, while a blacksmith will demonstrate the craftsmanship. Other demonstrations will be presented by the Bradford County Conservation District, Che Hanna Rock Mineral, the Audubon Society and the SRAC

Donations are strongly encouraged and will be used to maintain the center.

“A lot of people love going here and we continue to donate at this event,” Agnew said. “It’s a lot of fun and we like to see people having fun.”

Bette C. Alvarado