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Betty Faith, the Basset Hound, inducted as 2023 B.A.R.K. Superintendent

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Betty Faith Arch

On Sunday, April 30, Gateway Arch Park Foundation hosted the induction ceremony for 2023’s B.A.R.K. Superintendent, Betty Faith.

Betty Faith, a 12-year-old rescued basset hound who lives in Oakville, was the winner of the Foundation’s annual B.A.R.K. Ranger Photo Contest, sponsored by Purina. The contest, which was featured on five local news shows, had 41 entrants and nearly 1,800 voters after a competitive race to the finish.

Dogs and humans alike were invited to attend the ceremony welcoming Betty Faith and her human parents, Alex and Shana. More than 30 guests, including Gateway Arch National Park rangers, Foundation staff, basset hound enthusiasts, and other photo contest entrants gathered outside the Visitor Center to welcome Betty Faith to her new role.

Ryan McClure, executive director of Gateway Arch Park Foundation, spoke to the crowd about the purpose of the photo contest and why the park is a great place for dogs.

“We're proud to host the B.A.R.K. Ranger Photo Contest every year as a way to engage our community, encourage folks to visit the Arch grounds in the spring, and spread the word that dogs are welcome at our hometown park!” said McClure, adding “We have more than five miles of paved trails for dog walks, and of course the best backdrop in the world for dog photoshoots.”

Superintendent of Gateway Arch National Park, Jeremy Sweat also shared his thoughts on the uniqueness of the B.A.R.K. Ranger program at the Arch grounds, saying that while the program has existed within the National Park Service for years, it’s arguably most important in an urban national park setting, and that we tend to see more dogs here in St. Louis than in many other national parks.

Betty Faith Induction

Following the official paw-print signature on her B.A.R.K. Superintendent certificate, Betty Faith led her first B.A.R.K. Ranger walking tour of the Arch grounds with the help of Park Ranger Barbara Michel. She was joined by a group of 10 other B.A.R.K. Rangers, which happened to include a photo-contest first: a feline B.A.R.K. Ranger! 

Betty Faith, occasionally carried in her signature red wagon, guided the group of B.A.R.K. Rangers from the Visitor Center to the North Gateway and back to the North leg of the Arch. Park Ranger Barb shared fun facts about the park along the way, including tidbits on the sprouting spring foliage and picture-perfect spots for puppy photography.

As part of the B.A.R.K. Superintendent prize this year, she also got to throw the "first fetch" at Purina's "Pooches in the Park" event at the St. Louis Cardinals game on May 6.

The Foundation looks forward to a great year seeing Betty Faith serve as an ambassador for Gateway Arch National Park and as a role model for how dogs and parks can coexist.

Betty Faith Walk 1
Feline BARK Ranger
Betty Faith Walk 2

More photos from the induction ceremony and B.A.R.K. Ranger walk are available on our Facebook page.

Learn more about the National Park Service's B.A.R.K. Ranger program and other B.A.R.K. Ranger events happening throughout the year at Gateway Arch National Park.