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Alaska’s beautiful Denali National Park has a long and important history in America’s national park system. A big part of that history is the park’s working sled dogs. The teams of sled dogs that live and work at Denali are not just there to entertain visitors. They have long been a vital aspect of Denali’s day to day operations, especially in winter. Today they are the only working sled dogs in the whole U.S. national park system.
In the early 1900s, native sled dogs accompanied naturalists on their early explorations of the Denali wilderness. Denali became a national park in 1917 and sled dog teams have assisted the park rangers in their important work ever since. The park has its own kennels and they breed their own dogs. The park rangers regularly take the sled dog teams out to patrol Denali in the winter months. In the summer, the kennels and sled dog demonstrations are a very popular tourist attraction.
The Denali National Park website has a whole sled dog section with tons of beautiful pictures and a wealth of fascinating information about the park’s sled dogs. There’s an addictive sled dog puppy cam and a blog, and even information about how you can apply to adopt a retired Denali sled dog of your very own!
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Images via the Denali National Park Twitter page.