Husky Haven Sled Dogs offers dog sledding and airplane tours

BURT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) — Kim Darst has lived in the Upper Peninsula since 2014, caring for 60 dogs, including 16 race dogs. In 2009, she became the first-ever New Jersey native to compete in the Iditarod.

Currently the owner of Husky Haven Sled Dogs in Burt Township, she also conducts kennel tours and meets and greets her puppies.

“I want [people] to see the specialness of these dogs, that they are so close to the musher, that we are with them 24 hours a day, that we spend our life with them and that they spend their life with us,” Darst said.

Tours take place seven days a week. Visitors learn how to harness dogs and care for them. That’s a lot of work, considering Husky Haven goes through a 40-pound bag of dog food a day.

And during the winter, visitors even get a taste of what it’s like to drive a team of sled dogs.

“[The dogs] pull yourself on a sled on the trail for about five miles. You can drive that sled and see what it looks like,” Darst said. “I’m here with you, so I’m teaching you how to do it.”

These are not the only tours Darst offers. Between April and November, she organizes helicopter and seaplane tours… while giving flying lessons.

“If you take a scenic aerial tour with me, I’ll let you control the helicopter in the air and see what it’s like to take your own scenic tour,” Darst said.

Money from all tours helps fund future sled races, food and veterinary care. However, Darst hopes to use some of that revenue to eventually race again in what she calls “the Super Bowl of dog sledding.”

“I’d like to take some of that money, put it in a special account, leave it alone, and then hopefully go back and race Iditarod again. That’s my ultimate goal,” Darst said.

Dog sledding and aerial tours are by appointment only. To schedule one for either or both, call 516-790-9183 or email For more information, visit

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Bette C. Alvarado