Denali National Park and Preserve Facilities and Services Are Opening For the 2008 Season
Contact: Kris Fister, 907-683-9583
The days are getting longer, overnight temperatures remain above freezing, migrant birds are returning, and seasonal employees have arrived to begin work. These are all signs that the facilities and services that enhance and enrich the park experience for Denali National Park and Preserve visitors open soon for the summer visitor season!
The Denali Visitor Center, located at Mile 1.2 on the Park Road, opens on Thursday, May 15 with daily hours of operation from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Along with its stunning, specially designed exhibits and displays on Denali’s natural history and cultural heritage, the visitor center offers regular screenings of the award-winning, high definition feature film, “Heartbeats of Denali” throughout the day. Rangers are on hand to provide general park information, guided hikes, and other interpretive programs. The 2:00 p.m. sled dog demonstration begins on Thursday, May 15. Free buses to the park kennels leave from the Denali Visitor Center shuttle stop at 1:30 p.m.
The Denali Bookstore, with books, educational materials, and other sales items, opens on Friday, May 9. The neighboring Morino Grill will open with a limited menu of coffee and pastries on Tuesday, May 20. The full menu will be available on Saturday, May 24. These facilities are conveniently located near the Denali Visitor Center and the Alaska Railroad Depot.
The Wilderness Access Center, the park’s transportation and campground reservation center, opens for the season on Tuesday, May 13. The Denali Natural History bus tour and the Tundra Wilderness Tour (TWT) shoulder season tours to Teklanika (Mile 30) begin on Thursday, May 15.The TWT will start its regular schedule to Toklat on Tuesday, May 20.
Backcountry permits are available through Wednesday, May 14 at the Murie Science and Learning Center. The Backcountry Information Center, adjacent to the Wilderness Access Center will open for the season on Thursday, May 15 with daily hours of operation of 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The shuttle bus system will begin its seasonal operations on Tuesday, May 20 to provide access beyond the Savage River as far west as the Toklat River (Mile 53). The first fifteen miles of the park road will continue to be open for travel by park visitors in private vehicles throughout the summer season. Buses will begin running further west to as far as Mile 64 (Fish Creek) on Sunday, June 1. The new Eielson Visitor Center located at Mile 66 is scheduled to open in mid-June. The entire length of the park road will be open for buses beginning on Sunday, June 8, conditions permitting.
The Riley Creek Campground at Mile 0.2 is open for camping year-round, but water and sewer services will not be available until May 15, weather permitting. A vault toilet is provided for campers in the “Bear” loop, and water can be obtained at the Murie Science and Learning Center. Camping fees will be collected when the other two loops open on May 15. The Savage River Campground opens on Monday, May 19 and the Sanctuary River Campground opens on Tuesday, May 20. Evening ranger-led campground programs begin at Riley Creek on Sunday, May 18 and at Savage River on Tuesday, May 20. The Teklanika River Campground will remain closed until at least July due to the overflow ice that inundated the campground during the winter. The ice must melt before the campsites and other facilities can be opened.
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 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. Visitors can pay entrance fees at the Murie Science and Learning Center or the Denali Visitor Center.
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.
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.