Professional Photographer Special Road Travel PermitIn 2019, the park management ended the Professional Photographer Special Road Travel Permit program as it has been administered in the past and merged the program with the Artist-in-Residence program.
Other Ways to Access the Interior of the Park
The transportation concessioner provides a scheduled transit bus system with opportunities to get on and off transit buses along the Denali Park Road.
Since 2002, dozens of accomplished artists, writers, and composers have participated in the Artist-in-Residence program at Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Following a 10-day residency, each artist will lead a public outreach activity. Photographers are welcome to apply to this program during the summer application period.
Each September, the park hosts a four-day event called "Road Lottery." During these four days, winners of a lottery drawing are given a chance to purchase a single, day-long permit, allowing them to drive as much of the Denali Park Road as weather allows. In years with early snow, the Park Road might open no farther than Savage River (Mile 15); in milder years, lottery winners are able to enjoy a trip out to the end of the road (Mile 92).
Why is this Change Occurring?Ending the Professional Photography Program will address a consistent area of concern that the park is required to manage the Denali Park Road to meet desired resource and visitor experience conditions as visitation increases. Photographer road use patterns are different from those of other road users and photographers driving the Park Road may have greater effects on natural resource condition indicators such as number of vehicles at wildlife stops and sheep gaps.
The park is finalizing a report that analyzes road use data over the last five years, as required by the 2012 Vehicle Management Plan (VMP). The draft analyses show change is needed to meet some of the annual and five-year standards approved in the VMP.
What is Adaptive Management and What Are the Standards?Adaptive management is a process that relies on scientific data to understand changes in resource conditions and the visitor experience. Indicators of change were selected for the Denali Park Road as part of the Vehicle Management Plan (VMP) process. Researchers focus their road management data collection in key areas. Each of the seven indicators approved in the VMP has a standard (quantifiable measurement) to understand if the desired conditions are being met for resource protection and visitor experience.
The number of vehicles present at a wildlife stop is one indicator that the park has managed through bus driver education and other driver permit terms and conditions. While the park has met the one-year standards identified in the VMP for the number of vehicles at a wildlife stop, the park has not met the five-year standards.
The 2018 analysis of road use data illustrates that the annual and five-year sheep gap standards were not met at a subset of sheep gap locations in those periods. The sheep gap standard is designed to allow traffic-sensitive wildlife opportunities to cross the road by maintaining traffic-free intervals of 10-minutes every hour of the day (95% success rate over five years and no one year will have a 90% or less success rate). The problem with not meeting the sheep gap standard is sheep and other wildlife movement is negatively impacted as they attempt to move across the Park Road.
The park is specifically interested in adaptively managing traffic patterns that negatively affect the sheep gap standard.
Last updated: September 19, 2019