Many visitors journey to Denali for its pristine environment and unencumbered views. To help keep Denali a Wilderness park, here are some helpful tips to reduce your carbon footprint, and save money during your stay!
Before You Leave Home
• Plan your route to minimize carbon emissions, for example, travel by train and public transport where possible. If you take the train from Anchorage or Fairbanks, the railroad depot is conveniently located across the road from the Denali Visitor Center and Morino Grill.
• Minimize flying time and number of stopovers. Carbon emissions are extremely high during takeoff and landing.
• If you are driving to Denali, keep your vehicle's engine tuned and your tires properly inflated to get the best gas mileage and reduce the chances of expensive repairs.
• If you are selecting a tour company, ask how they minimize environmental impacts and contribute to the local economy in order to support the greenest business practices.
• To save money while you are gone, adjust your air conditioner and/or heat to the lowest possible setting to still protect pets, plants, etc.
• To save even more money, turn your hot water heater to "vacation" or the lowest setting, or just turn off the breaker. This may save significant costs, even if only over a 3-day weekend!
• Appliances, such as televisions and computers, can be unplugged because they can draw or "leak" as much as 40 watts per hour even when they are turned off, costing you money even when you are not there.
• Put your newspaper delivery on hold and ask if the company will prorate your bill so that you don't pay for newspapers you don't receive.
• Purchase electronic tickets for airline travel to reduce waste and cost. If paper tickets are lost, they may cost $75-100 to have replaced.
During Your Visit to Denali
• Once you get to Denali, there are plenty of things to do without relying on fossil fuels. There are trails you can explore on your own or with a naturalist on a ranger-led hike. While you are hiking, be on the look-out for tiny lichens; lichens are great indicators for our park scientists to monitor climate change.
• While you are hiking, carry a reusable water bottle to save money, reduce the weight of your pack, and lessen your carbon footprint! If you need to purchase a reusable bottle, they are sold at the Riley Creek Mercantile, Wilderness Access Center, and Alaska Geographic book store. You may refill your bottles at many park facilities, but if you are hiking in Denali's backcountry, be sure to bring a water filter or iodine tablets with you, as giardia is present in the park. Learn more tips about Denali's backcountry hiking.
• Be sure to visit the LEED-certified Eielson Visitor Center, Denali Visitor Center and Murie Science and Learning Center for great learning materials on the park's flora and fauna. You may also take your bicycle on the park road or on the bike path. Bike and foot travel are quieter alternatives that may help you get a better glimpse at wildlife! Be sure to pay attention to safe wildlife viewing distances.
• Use public transportation when available, such as the free Riley Creek and Savage River Shuttle services; or, take one of our hybrid shuttles farther into the park.
• Once you're further into the park, get off the bus and hike! Denali's shuttle buses are designed to be used as a hop on-hop off system, so you can bring your backpack and spend the day outside, just remember to bring your updated shuttle bus schedule with you for your return trip. If you can, take a trip to the updated Eielson Visitor Center (EVC). The EVC, completed in 2008, is recognized as a National Park Service Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building! Learn about Eielson Visitor Center's sustainable features.
• On all shuttle bus trips, you must provide your own food and drink. Take advantage of this opportunity to pack a picnic for the trip. A well packed picnic is not only healthy and more cost effective than fast food, it will reduce waste going into landfills. So pack a lunch and take your picnic out into the tundra! Always remember to keep an eye out for wildlife, maintain safe viewing distances, and practice Leave-No-Trace. If you need to stock up on pantry supplies, the Riley Creek Mercantile has healthy options for any family.
• If you are a coffee drinker, the Morino Grill, WAC, and Riley Creek Mercantile baristas will fill a reusable cup that you bring with you. Some might even give you a small discount! This allows you to get your coffee and head out to enjoy the scenery, while still keeping your drink piping hot. The food and beverage amenities within Denali National Park are provided by Doyon/ Aramark Joint Venture, which honors green initiatives with their "Green Thread" program. If you choose to dine within Denali, know that local foods and recyclables are used when possible.
• Reduce the amount of water you use for bathing or showering. If you are staying at an area hotel, let management know that it's not necessary to change your sheets and towels every day. This reduces water and electricity, and saves everyone money!
• Don't forget the good habits you already have at home. When you leave your hotel room, turn off the air conditioner/heat, lights, television, and radio.
• Participate in recycling programs by placing recyclables in appropriate bins. Denali collects all plastics, cardboard, aluminum, glass and paper for recycling.
• Take only brochures or maps that you need. Keep your Denali National Park Alpenglow and park map with you so that you do not need multiple copies.
Would you like to actually calculate your carbon emissions at home and during your travels? This can give you an idea of just how much money you can save when you travel green!
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Household Emissions Calculator allows you to determine your overall household emissions.
The Do Your Part Calculator allows you to determine carbon emissions for transportation and your household.
Did You Know?
Recent climate warming has affected Denali in ways that are readily apparent, such as reduced spring snowfall, earlier snowmelt, earlier green-up and thawing of permanent snowfields. Subarctic ecosystems, like Denali, are extremely sensitive to climate variability and change.