Your Dollars At Work

Denali, like any national park, is funded by a mixture of Congressionally-designated money, campground fees, entrance fees, business partners (both private sector and non-profits) and private donations. Campground and entrance fees are of course paid by immediate park users, while much of the Congressionally-designated money comes from you - the American taxpayer.

Using these funds, managers at Denali National Park and Preserve strive to create a balance between protection of this special place while meeting the needs of the visiting public. Your money can be seen at work in myriad ways, but a few high-profile examples are:

  • Renovation of the Eielson Visitor Center - making it both more sustainable and a more inspirational, educational and comfortable place for park visitors;
  • A portion of mining restoration efforts in the Kantishna area, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA);

  • Projects, funded by ARRA money in 2009 - 2010, for a variety of construction projects, like a building new emergency services building near Park Headquarters; replacing and/or rehabilitating a variety of front country infrastructure (e.g., waste water treatment facility and antiquated fuel, power and water lines); and improving visitor amenities.

Most of these projects put private-sector construction firms to work, though a few - like trail maintenance - are done by government employees.

Yearly reports by the Superintendent's Office detail additional accomplishments by park employees, often thanks to the taxpayer dollars that fund base operations in the park.

Construction Projects

Maintenance and construction projects are often the most-visible evidence of your dollars at work, and are often some of the biggest expenses for a park. Upcoming construction projects for 2013 are:

  • Rock Creek Bridge replacement will begin mid to late April and at some point will go to one lane traffic for most of the summer. Expect up to 5 minute delays, with some night time closures up to several hours. This bridge is around Mile 3 of the Denali Park Road, so the delays will impact most park visitors. It must be replaced because it is not up to current seismic safety standards for bridges in this area.

  • Mile 4 - 5 riprap placement will begin in mid May. A contractor will have the west-bound lane closed at times, and visitors can expect up to 5 minute delays. Riprap (large rock cobble) is a construction material used to keep disturbed soil on steep slopes from slumping. It will be placed to stabilize a sliding hillside and then covered with topsoils.

  • Sanctuary Hill road rehab will begin in late July. There will be road rehab and back slope work, with most work taking place during the day with up to 5 minute delays. Sanctuary Hill is near Sanctuary River Campground, Mile 22 on the park road.

  • Kennel Access Road rehab will occur before the May 15 start date of sled dog demonstrations in the park kennels. This is an NPS road crew project which will see some pavement removal and replacement to eliminate frost heaves and slumps within the complex. This project should create little disturbance for park visitors.

  • Manhole replacement east of McKinley Park Airstrip is likely to start in June/July, to last approximately 1 month. Because of its proximity to the airstrip, there will be very tight controls placed on the contractor doing this work and there will be close cooperation with the park communication center, the Park Ranger staff and, especially, the park pilot.

  • Two historic restoration projects in the Headquarters Area will occur, though they should not inconvenience visitors in any way. One is the rehabilitation of the exterior of a historic house designed by NPS Architect Cecil Doty and the other is the rehabilitation of the Superintendent's Office (oldest extant building in Park Headquarters, built in 1926). Work by these NPS crews will be suspended during the daily ranger programs in the nearby kennels.

  • East Fork Bridge rehab will begin in June. This bridge spans the East Fork River, at approximately Mile 44 on the park road. The project will replace the bearings underneath the bridge, install bearing seat extensions, construct concrete shear blocks, repair spalled concrete on the bridge and place some gabions to control abutment fill erosion. There will be a few night closures.
An explanation of FLREA

The Fiscal Year (FY) 1996 Interior Appropriation Bill established the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program, which allowed parks to keep monies collected through entrance and campground fees to expend toward specific types of projects.

This program was replaced with the Federal Lands Recreation Enhance Act (FLREA) in FY 2005. As with the Fee Demonstration Program, 80% of the money collected from Denali's visitors through entrance and campground fees is allocated directly to the park, and is used on pre-apprroved projects. The other 20% goes to the NPS Washington office, to be allocated to other parks through a competitive process. Both pots of money can only be allocated for projects that address one or more of the following criteria:

- must be a high priority
- improve the visitor experience
- reduce the deferred maintenance on visitor use assets
- maintain previous investments
- restore habitat directly related to wildlife dependent recreation
- provide law enforcement related to public use and recreation

Examples of FLREA-funded projects:

- construction of a new Teklanika River Rest Area
- study of the impacts of human waste on Denali
- rehabilitate and address safety hazards on the Triple Lakes, Horseshoe Lake and other trails
- develop community based education programs with gateway communities
- create an education network through partnerships and long distance learning
- address park film accessibility issues
- protect Artist-in-Residence artwork

Did You Know?