Rooted In The Eastern Sierra: Let Our Sled Dogs Keep Their Home
By Jim Ouimet
This was a speech given at the Mono County Supervisors meeting on March 16, 2010 in support
of Mammoth Dog Teams continued use and lease renewal of the sub-station building and land where the
current Kennel is located.
I've been a local in Mammoth Lakes since the fall of 2004. I absolutely cherish Mammoth Lakes
and the Eastern Sierra, and all that this magical place has to offer. Among the many things I like about
Mammoth, I appreciate the imagination of how life once was in our small town. Mammoth Dog Teams represents
this image for me. Before the ski lifts, the cars, the planes, and the buses, there were the dogs.
It's appalling that these meetings and issues exist. That this would really be an issue in OUR
town and county, where WE believe in locals supporting locals, and the many community benefits that are
delivered through an array of various recreational activities throughout the Eastern Sierra. Providing our guests
with a world class resort experience is of utmost importance.
I want to tell you a story I heard today, and you may have heard it before, but it is
important to tell it again. To remind everyone of how important it is to have a home for the dogs, and Mammoth
Dog Teams, and how rooted they are in the history of Mammoth Lakes and the Eastern Sierra.
The history of Mammoth Dog Teams dates back to 1927 to Tex Couchane -
The First Mammoth Lakes Musher, but the story I am going to tell today started in the mid 1980's. It
was 1986 when Paul Marveley randomly bumped into the Mandich's in the "Ghetto", walking their Siberian
Huskies. Paul approached the Mandich's, who by the way are 6th generation in the Eastern Sierra, and expressed
how he wanted to start a dog sled team in Mammoth Lakes.
The Mandich's at the time were raising and breeding Siberian Huskies, and gave Paul his first
dogs to start the team, originally named Dog Sled Adventures. In 1990 Jim
Ouimet began working side by side with Paul, eventually taking over responsibility of the business in
1999, and dedicated himself to the dogs and running Mammoth Dog Teams.
Jim has shown an unwavering commitment to the dogs, culture, and heritage of life and
recreation in the Eastern Sierra and Mammoth Lakes. The sub-station, at one time the jail for the Mono County
Sheriff's Department, abandoned by the county many years ago, has proven to be an excellent fit for the dog team.
As well the building was well utilized as a museum for the history of Mammoth Dog Teams and dog sledding in the
Dog sledding and Mammoth Dog Teams has been a part of Mammoth for almost a century. We
must not forget or dismiss its importance, and we must do what is necessary to provide the dogs a long term
home, but more importantly we must continue to provide this historical recreation for the
visitors and guests to the Eastern Sierra.
I've had the privilege and opportunity to tour the museum prior to its closure, and visit with
the dogs many times. Jim and his staff are very knowledgeable, and above all else, Jim loves his
dogs. However, more important, the dogs love their home. They are happy and as the saying goes "A Happy
Dog is a Good Dog", and from my personal experience with the dogs, they love their lives. If the dogs could
speak, they would beg with puppy dog eyes to let them keep their home.
The dogs don't ask for much, but give everything they have to please their handlers and
guests. They go above and beyond to be the best sled dogs and please those fortunate enough to be around them.
I understand Mono County is facing some tough times ahead, and dealing with many
critical issues such as; budgets, developments, property tax decline, and an unsure idea of what the
next few years will have in store for the county and the national economies.
Make sure you remember that locals support locals, and give breaks where breaks are do.
This should not just be another political agenda, there are more than 60 beating hearts and lives that
are counting on you to make the right decision. I urge you to consider just how important this decision
is, and the far reaching consequences your decision could have on the future of the dogs and Mammoth Dog Teams.
Do the right thing, show your county and constituents how much you care. Show us your support
for local business, that you are inspired to help locals businesses provide to the Eastern Sierra. Show
compassion for the dogs, and remember that they too need a home and a job to do. And if you have any doubts, go
down and spend some time with the dogs.
Image for a second what life use to be like when the only transportation and emergency response
was by dog team, and just how important the dogs really were, and still are to the heritage of the Eastern Sierra
and Mammoth Lakes. If that isn't enough, let them gives you kisses, and let them show you the compassion in your
hearts to let them keep their home.
If you would like to show your support for the dogs and Mammoth Dog Teams write to us at
Feeding Time at Mammoth Dog Teams
A Big Thanks to the Wonderful
Kids of Camp Del Corazon!
With Little Snow and Little Work,
a Musher Worries