Happy 50th Anniversary Wilderness

December 22, 2013 Posted by: Jayme Dittmar

"If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it."
~President Lyndon B. Johnson
September 3, 1964, after signing the Wilderness Act to into law


(NPS Photo/Jayme Dittmar)

 The year 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. All across the country, government entities, non-profits, activists and outdoors enthusiasts are celebrating the passage of an official document that established a “National Wilderness Preservation System, for the permanent good of the whole people....” The Wilderness Act of 1964 defines our purpose at the Kennels and justifies our work in Denali everyday.

We are the only working sled dog kennel in the National Park Service, out of about 401 units. The need for backcountry travel through this remote land of extremes manifested the Kennels existence. While harnessing the power of sled dogs we have been delivering supplies, preforming Park science and opening the Park for use to the public for approximately 90 years. It's rarely easy. In fact our work is physically demanding for canine and human rangers alike. Long taxing days are required to accomplish our tasks successfully. So now in the convenient age of snowmachines and other forms of petroleum-powered transportation. Why are we still here?


(NPS Photo/Jayme Dittmar)

Hopefully by the end of winter you will be able to answer that question. In the spirit of wilderness preservation we will be dedicating all of our blogs to the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act this season and joining the celebration. We will be discussing our projects, hardships, and adventures and just how our work is protecting the wild lands and wildlife that is Denali. Stay tuned.


4 Comments Comments icon

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  2. March 22, 2016 at 04:39

    I visited the kennels in early July of 1981 and met a dedicated kennel employee named "Sandy". The experience really got me interesting in mushing. Almost bought one of the older dogs named "Kayak", a fine big malamute. Unfortunately he had never ridden in a vehicle and I was 3,000 miles from home in a VW camper. He eventually went to the native village of Shishmaref on the coast of the Chukchi Sea. The story continues in that upon arriving home in Wisconsin I found a big black and white malamute and named him "Yukon". My wife Judith and I bought a sled and harness and he pulled naturally from day one. Today we volunteer where we can at nearby sled dog races like the UP 200. Thanks Denali!

  3. February 11, 2014 at 12:16

    The big guy in front with the blue eyes is Lava, and the girl behind him is Polly

  4. January 18, 2014 at 09:00

    Please tell me the names of the dogs pictured. Thank you.

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Last updated: April 14, 2015

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