Who We Are
Ed Stielstra started Nature's Kennel about 25 years ago in Ludington, Michigan. After getting married in 1998, he and Tasha moved to Duluth, Minnesota where they held "real careers". They returned to Michigan in 2002 to operate Nature's Kennel Sled Dog Racing and Adventures on a full-time basis. In addition to operating a world class touring business, both Ed and Tasha have competed in distance races around the world. Ed is a eight-time Iditarod finisher and both Ed and Tasha have won Marquette's UP 200 Sled Dog Race. They now get to share their adventures with their two young children, Nate (born in 2010) and Fern (born in 2012).
Ed and Tasha pride themselves on the fact that all of their 200 sled dogs are part of their family. Both Ed and Tasha have won numerous humanitarian awards in races for their outstanding dog care. Their dogs are well known not only for their excellent race history and pedigrees, but also for their outstanding personalities. All of their dogs are extremely well socialized and get to visit with hundreds of adults and children each year.
Laura Neese joined Nature's Kennel in 2014. Laura grew up on a small family farm in Newark, OH and has always loved dogs. At age 14, she started a small sled dog kennel and began competing in 30 mile races in the Upper Peninsula. In 2015, she graduated from Penn Foster College with an associates degree in Veterinary Technology. Since then she has focused her time and energy on the incredibly talented Nature's Kennel race team.
Laura has completed two 1,000 mile Yukon Quests and one Iditarod, including a 3rd place finish in the 2018 Yukon Quest. She has also competed in numerous mid-distance races across the lower 48 and Canada. Long distance racing is Laura's passion, and she loves experiencing the many challenges and incredible beauty that encompasses these races with her dog team.
Each year, Nature's Kennel employs a fantastic group of guides who help train the dogs, lead sled dog tours, and provide individualized attention to the dogs on their assigned teams. Our guides come from around the world and love to share not only their dog sledding experience with our guests but also their personal interests.