Wednesday, April 9, 2014

California Drought Puts Sled Dogs Out of Work - The New York Times

Last December I was on a climbing trip in Bishop, Calif. when I met a couple locals at the Mammoth Hot Springs. It was a pretty epic place and I was looking for another excuse to come out to Mammoth in the winter. One of the guys, Dan McConnell, told me about a dog-sledder he knew and put me in contact with him. It wasn't until mid-February when I got in contact with Jim Ouimet, owner of Mammoth Dog Teams, and found out the story went way beyond what I originally expected. I was just hoping to get out on a dog sled and snap some fun pictures.

After talking more with Jim, I found out the California drought had him and his dogs out of work for most of the last 3 years. No precipitation, no snow. No snow, no sled tours. Not only that, his well at the kennel dried up in January. I pitched the story to an editor at The Times and he got on board with it right away. The first week of March I made my way out there to spend 5 days with Jim and his dogs, ironically after one of the biggest snow storms in years. Sadly, the snow didn't stick around long. It had pretty much all disappeared by the end of my trip.

The story finally ran last week and a few days later I got an excited phone call from Jim. Apparently people have been calling him from all over the nation offering support. An animal conservation society that only deals with 2 other countries (not the US), offered to directly pay for the next 6 months worth of food for his dogs (about $5,000). A little over a week after the story ran, over $20,000 has been donated to the kennel, and more checks are coming in every day.

Please read the story in The Times and find out more about Jim and his dog's story. If anyone is interested in any prints, please contact me at All proceeds will be donated to Mammoth Dog Teams.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great story Dan. The photos are amazing!