Wrangell St Elias National Park and Preserve Dedicates Kendesnii Campground
Copper Center, Alaska - Under sunny skies, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve dedicated Kendesnii Campground on July 27th with a naming ceremony and picnic at the Nabesna Road site. Park Superintendent Rick Obernesser opened the event, saying "I am excited that so many of us are here today as we dedicate the park's first official campground."
Kendesnii is the Ahtna name of Daisy Nicolai. She and her children had a spring camp in the campground area for many years. In addition to acknowledging the family's connection to this site, using an Ahtna name for the campground recognizes the important association between Alaska Natives and Wrangell-St. Elias. Park staff worked with local tribes in identifying the campground name, and the Cheesh'na Tribal Council, on behalf of Daisy's family, partnered with the park in organizing the dedication.
Many of the more than 100 guests at the event were members of Daisy's family. Also among the guests were Nabesna Road residents and park visitors camping at the site. Daisy's closest surviving relatives - a sister and three daughters - shared memories of Daisy, as did several grandchildren. Speaking on behalf of the Cheesh'na Tribal Council, Tribal Administrator Wilson Justin, who is also one of Daisy's grandchildren, said "The honor of keeping a promise made a generation ago is privilege not always understood but vital to those who stand in shadows of our Traditions. Thank You to the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park for the support in keeping that promise. Cheesh'na extends a welcome to all visitors to the Kendesnii Campground."
The campground is located at Mile 28.2 on the Nabesna Road. It has vault toilets, picnic tables, and ten sites that will accommodate tents and up to medium-sized recreational vehicles. Currently there is no charge for use of the site. A canoe launch and water well are also planned. Funding for campground construction came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Recreational Fee Demo Program. Photo album at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.474663935885079.112573.147587328592743&type=3&l=04bc547e36
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Did You Know?
Danish explorer Vitus Bering, sailing for Russia in 1741, named the majestic St. Elias mountains, including towering Mt. St. Elias (18,008’), for St. Elias, on whose Feast Day (July 20) he made the sighting.