Denali National Park and Preserve “Springs” Back to Life
Contact: Maureen McLaughlin, (907) 733-9103
The lengthening days, milder overnight temperatures, return of migrant birds, and arrival of summer employees are all signs that the seasonal facilities and services that enhance the park experience for Denali National Park and Preserve visitors will open soon.
The cascade of openings kicks off on Friday, May 6 when the Denali Bookstore, operated by park partner Alaska Geographic, opens its doors for the season. The majority of the entrance area facilities will open on Sunday, May 15, including the Denali Visitor Center, Morino Grill, Wilderness Access Center, and the Backcountry Information Center. The Denali Natural History Tour and the shoulder season Tundra Wilderness Tour will also begin operations. Along with its stunning exhibits on Denali’s natural history and cultural heritage, the visitor center, open daily from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., offers regular screenings of the high definition feature film, "Heartbeats of Denali". The season’s first interpretive offering, the 2:00 p.m. sled dog demonstration, will also commence on May 15. Free buses to the park kennels depart from the Denali Visitor Center shuttle stop at 1:20 p.m.
The park road is open for travel by private vehicles to the Teklanika River Rest Area (Mile 30) through Thursday, May 19. Beginning on Friday, May 20 the shuttle bus system will provide access beyond the Savage River (Mile 15) as far west as the Toklat River (Mile 53). Buses will begin running to the Eielson Visitor Center (Mile 66) on Wednesday, June 1, and the entire 92-mile length of the park road will open for buses on Wednesday, June 8, conditions permitting. The first fifteen miles of the park road will be open for travel by private vehicles throughout the summer season.
The Riley Creek Campground is open for free camping until fees begin on May 15. Water and sewer services may be available by that date, depending on weather conditions. The Savage River Campground opens on Thursday, May 19 and the Sanctuary River, Teklanika River, and Igloo Creek Campgrounds all open on Friday, May 20.
Denali National Park and Preserve collects an entrance fee year-round. The entrance fee of $10 per person or $20 per vehicle is good for seven days. The majority of the money collected is used for projects to improve visitor services and facilities in Denali. 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. Visitors can pay the entrance fee at the Murie Science and Learning Center through May 14 and at the Denali Visitor Center beginning May 15.
Additional park information is available on the web at www.nps.gov/dena or by calling (907) 683-2294 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Stay connected with "DenaliNPS" on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and iTunes – links to these social media sites are available at www.nps.gov/dena.
Did You Know?
Warmer temperatures have led to dramatic thawing of permafrost. Thaw releases carbon, as once-frozen materials decompose, but allows increased plant growth. Researchers in Denali are studying whether thawing permafrost will increase or decrease world-wide carbon emissions.