Touring Alaska - Denali National Park

Healy, Alaska - Part B

July 29 - August 2

The Alaskan Adventure - 68 Days - 6,154 Miles

Denali National Park Kennels

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Denali National Park uses dog sleds to patrol the park all winter long. When the park was first designated as a wilderness area the patrols were mainly used to look for poachers. Now poaching is not a problem and they are used for the safety of the parks patrons.

In the early years, one room cabins were built, on various trails, one days dogsled trip apart. They were furnished with fire wood and emergency food. All of the supplies, including the cabin material, were carried by dogsled to each location. Those cabins are still in use to this day as a refuge for the many cross-country skiers and snowshoe hikers who use the park in the winter.

In the summer the kennels are used to raise, train and develop sled dogs. These dogs are trained for endurance and not speed. Their training is very different then for the dogs used in racing. The kennel has about 80 dogs and every year there is about 10 -15 born and about the same number being retired. They retire after 13 -15 years service. Not all of the dogs born have the temperament and determination to be sled dogs. Some of the retired dogs are used to help train the young, others are given away to good homes.

Another use for the kennels is to give three tours, demonstrations, and talks each day.

His name is "Blue" and looks like another Blue we knew in Liverpool.
We were allowed to tour the kennels and mingle with the dogs.

Waiting for the action.
Most of the dogs were passive due to the 70 degree heat.
That is until the rangers came out to select the dogs for the demo.
Then they all kept jumping around like they were asking "pick me!"

This is the sled used for the demo.
Notice the wheels?

After hooking up the team and making a quick loop in the woods.
They did not want to stop. They really love to run!

This ranger took us through the life of a sled dog.
From the wee young, through training, how they are selected for the various positions, and the reason for the various positions.
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