February 14, 2017
Contact: Katherine Belcher
, (907) 683-9583
Today is Valentine’s Day and we invite everyone to share the love we have for Denali National Park and Preserve by joining us for Winterfest and celebrating a century of preservation and protection!
This month, Denali marks an incredible milestone in the park’s history as we highlight our 100th birthday during Winterfest weekend Feb. 25-26, 2017.
Winterfest is a community celebration that includes free indoor and outdoor activities highlighting winter recreation and education. On Saturday, there will be an array of activities - for all ages and interests - scheduled in and around the park, including ranger-led snowshoe walk, guided ski trips, youth ski race, snow sculpting, children’s activities, classroom presentations, and a public story swap.
The Denali Visitor Center will be open for the first time ever in winter, with special historic exhibits, films and guest speakers, and a celebration of the park’s 100th birthday with songs and cake. Complimentary hot drinks and light lunch items will be provided by Doyon/ARAMARK Joint Venture. The full schedule of events is available online.
On Sunday, park leaders will be joined by a host of dignitaries to mark the Feb. 26, 1917, establishment of Mount McKinley National Park (later renamed Denali). Special events include guest speakers, live music by local school children, a living history presentation, a very rare and special historical donation to the park’s museum, and of course, birthday cake!
Special events leading up to Winterfest weekend include “Arts Afire: Denali National Park’s Artists in Residence” on Feb. 18 in Fairbanks; free public showings of An American Ascent – a 2015 film that follows nine African-American climbers on an expedition on Denali; and a Winterfest Kickoff Party at the McKinley Park Community Center
Weather permitting, the Denali Park Road will be open to the public as far as the Mountain Vista Rest Area (Mile 12). The rest area has vault toilets and picnic shelters; it is an ideal location for viewing Denali and exploring the park via snowshoes, skis or sled dogs.
Meals, lodging and other services are available year-round in the communities of Healy and Cantwell. Free camping is available in the Bear Loop of the park’s Riley Creek Campground.
Winterfest is made possible with the assistance from Alaska Geographic, Denali Borough, Denali Borough School District, Denali Education Center, Kids in Motion, Doyon/Aramark Joint Venture, 229 Parks Restaurant, Subaru and the Zero Landfill Initiative, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Holland America-Princess, and the Tri-Valley Community Library.