The Sled Dog Sanctuary began modestly in 2002 on two acres of spruce forest just outside the city limits of North Pole, Alaska. North Pole is a quiet little town located in the middle of the state in what is considered a desert region, not because of its high heat, but its limited precipitation.
The town also resides in a geographic bowl so when the winter cold settles in it often stays for days or weeks at a time unable to pass out of the valley. This can prove to be a problem for dogs living outside. While sled dogs are used to living in the extreme cold, warm in their thick coats and insulated houses, days of 40 or even 50 below zero can wear out even the toughest of sled dogs.
In 2011 the Sanctuary was approved for its 501(c)(3) non-profit status and as we continued to grow we were took a hard look at where we were, where we wanted to go and the limitations we had at hand to help those in need. We soon realized that in order to do the best job we could we would have to move outside what we were used to, make a drastic change and find a place where we could truly grow and expand.
And so, after over a decade of toughing it out in the interior, in 2012 we made our big break and moved nearly 300 miles south just outside the town of Talkeetna, to warmer weather, snowier winters and 40 acres of land that could easily accommodate sled dogs in need.
Surrounded by a dense birch forest, this raw land provides ample shade for the dogs as well as quiet, peaceful surroundings that can only be found in the remote areas of Alaska.
Our trails are accessible right off the main dog yard with endless acres of state land right at our door. No matter where the land takes us, the Talkeetna mountains and the Denali range watches over us in the distance.
This land is still very new to us and there is so much work yet to be done in order to shape it to the vision of what we want the Sanctuary to be. The changing seasons brings us the opportunity to work the land whether it be in fall at tree cutting time, summer's building opportunities or winter's solitude on the trail, every year we grow and expand in our little corner of heaven.
Visit our photo album to learn more of what it takes to build a Sanctuary and be sure to check us out on Facebook for updates as we continue to make changes to this beautiful place shaping the area and helping sled dogs in need all over the state of Alaska.