Texas Dog May Be the First to Visit All 63 National Parks

by Amy Myers
Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Meet service dog Ranger. Towing along his two proud companions, Bradley Sailer and Halie Noble, the Central Texas pup is on his way to becoming the first-ever dog to see all 63 of our national parks. As of this month, the trio is a third of the way through their journey.

Sailer, Noble and their “Bark Ranger” began the journey towards a world record four months ago. At the time, both two-legged travelers were facing major obstacles in their lives. Noble was living at a women’s shelter, and Sailer had just found out that his apartment flooded and lost almost all of his belongings. Just four days after meeting, they decided to uproot and take their lives on the road.

“There was basically only up to go,” Noble told KXAN. “And we said instead of just up, how about 63 national parks?”

So far, the trio has visited 23 national parks, and naturally, they have their favorites. For Noble, that was Zion National Park, which has been on her bucket list for years. Sailer and Noble both recalled the “astonishing” beauty of the Redwoods National and State Parks and Sequoia National Park.

As for Ranger, well, it’s safe to say they all tie for first.

“Going to the parks where you have this preconceived notion about what it’s going to be like in your mind, and then you get there and it’s just, it’s shocking,” Sailer said. “There are things that you’ve never seen in your life, and it’s just absolutely beautiful.”

Ranger and Company Are Half-Way Through Lower 48 National Parks

The crew’s travels also have a secondary – but equally meaningful – purpose. As a service dog, Ranger is helping raise awareness for adventurers with disabilities and how important accessibility is in our public lands.

“He has special access to the parks, so it’s also allowing us to bring awareness to disabilities and service animals, and to kind of let people in the same situation know that they’re free to go travel and explore, and they don’t have to let that kind of thing control their lives,” Sailer explained.

Thanks to the pup’s friendly face and positive energy, he’s helped Sailer and Noble meet lots of new friends and fellow hikers along the way.

“The people we’ve met along the way, the people we’ve sat next to who want to talk about Ranger, those are those unique memories we’re making,” Noble said.

Currently, the three are taking a rest from their journey, returning to central Texas for the holidays. They’ll be visiting a couple of local parks during their hiatus, but for the most part, they’ll be building their energy back up for the next leg of the trip.

“We are 1/3 of the way through the all of the 63 National Parks, 1/2 way through the National Parks in the lower 48, have traveled roughly 11,000 miles in 93 days across 9 states and visited 23 National Parks,” the pair wrote in an update on Facebook.

“This is not the end of the adventure… it’s the beginning. So stay tuned.”