March 7, 2012
Contact: Kris Fister
, (907) 683-9583
On Monday, March 12 the National Park Service spring road opening crew will begin the annual operations to clear and prepare the Denali Park Road beyond park headquarters (Mile 3) for vehicle access by park visitors. This year they expect to encounter heavy amounts of snow, and deep and consolidated drifts in the higher passes, due to multiple storms in January accompanied by high winds. The crew does not expect to encounter as much overflow ice as in previous years, due to the insulation provided by the snow pack. The remote weather stations at Toklat and Kantishna are currently reporting 13 and 26 inches of snow, respectively.
In addition to removing the winter accumulation of snow and ice, the road crew personnel must steam open ice-clogged culverts to prevent road damage caused by runoff from melting snow and rain. They will also repair any damage that occurred over the winter before opening the road for use by the public. Visitors should expect to encounter snow removal equipment on any portion of the road during working hours. Please stay 50 feet or more from any heavy equipment on the road and make certain the equipment operator is aware of your presence before attempting to pass.
Updates and pictures of the spring road opening operation will be posted regularly.
Depending on weather and road conditions, the park road could open for travel to the Savage River (Mile 15) by early April. The road could be open for travel to the Teklanika River Rest Area (Mile 30) by mid to late April. Visitors are advised to contact the park before their trip for updates on the tentative opening dates.
Access to park areas west of headquarters for snowshoeing, mushing, cross-country skiing, and other seasonal recreational activities is available on the Spring Trail, which runs south of, and parallel to the park road. The trailhead and parking are located at the lower end of the new Headquarters parking lot at the summer bus turnaround site.
The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) at Mile 1.3 is open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm daily as the winter visitor center, providing information and backcountry permits. Ranger-led snowshoe hikes are taking place on Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 pm through Sunday, March 25. The walks will continue on April weekends as long as snow conditions are favorable.
The Riley Creek Campground at Mile 0.2 is open, but water and sewer services will not be available until later in the spring. A vault toilet is provided for campers, and water can be obtained at the MSLC.
Denali National Park and Preserve collects an entrance fee year-round. The entrance fee of $10 per person (for visitors age 16 and older) is good for seven days. The majority of the money collected remains in the park to be used for projects to improve visitor services and facilities. Interagency Federal Recreation Passes such as the Annual, Senior, and Access Pass, and the Denali Annual Pass are also valid for entry into the park.
Additional park information can be obtained by calling 907-683-9532 from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm daily. Stay connected with "DenaliNPS" on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and iTunes.