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Contact: Sharon Stiteler
As part of the celebration of the Denali National Park and Preserve sled dog kennel centennial, park staff and Denali dogs will be at the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Saturday, March 5. Kennel Manager David Tomeo will accompany Jewel, Topo, Party, Cupcake, Venture, Happy, Clove, and Throne as the ceremonial first dog team to run down 4th Avenue, kick off this popular Alaskan event.
One hundred years ago, in 1922, Mount McKinley National Park acquired its first sled dogs in order to patrol the newly created park (in 1917). For decades the dogs were used to monitor for wildlife poaching and establish the park boundary. Today the kennel's thirty-one dogs are used for non-motorized travel within Denali National Park and Preserve’s wilderness area. Their work has them hauling supplies for trail and cabin projects, helping scientists gather data, and greeting park visitors. In the summer months, the Denali kennel hosts over 70,000 visitors. These dogs help visitors learn about the uniqueness of their unique canine ranger role and how they help preserve the cultural heritage of dogsledding.
Join us this season as we celebrate one hundred years of strong bonds between canine rangers and their mushers, forged over countless miles together protecting Denali’s wilderness.
Last updated: March 3, 2022