Photographer's Note

Charles Sheldon had a dream. Standing on a rise in the Kantishna Hills in January 1908, he pulled out his field glasses and looked around. Everything his eyes feasted on could one day be a premier national park, the Yellowstone of Alaska, preserved and protected for future generations.

A Yale man who preferred to be in the wilderness, Sheldon decided to dedicate himself to the conservation cause of President Theodore Roosevelt. He journeyed to Alaska when the young US territory had no roads and only 30,000 people (fewer than five percent of what it has today), and found his way to the mountains.

Due south of him rose the icy granite massif that gold miners in Kantishna and Firbanks called Mount McKinley but that Sheldon simply called "the mountain," of "Denali," the Athabascan name meaning "the high one." Certainly a mountain like that could take care of itself, being the highest in North America. But what of the magnificent wild animals that embroidered it, grizzlies, caribou, wolves, moose, Dall sheep, and others that moved over the land with ancient grace? Market hunters were coming into the country with an aim to kill wild game to feed gold miners and railroad workers. It had to stop. Sheldon spend 10 months in the Denali region, then headed back east with on purpose: to make a wild dream come true.

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Additional Photos by Zbigniew Kalinowski (fotka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 549 W: 9 N: 1434] (6533)
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