December 30, 2013
Contact: Kris Fister
Recent storms have brought additional snow to the park, and the Superintendent has determined that there is now adequate snow cover for the use of snowmobiles for traditional activities in the areas of the 1980 park and preserve additions to Denali National Park and Preserve north and south of the crest of the Alaska Range.
Riders are reminded that all lands within the former Mount McKinley National Park on both the north and the south sides of the crest of the Alaska Range are closed to all snowmobile use by federal regulation. Check out maps with GPS coordinates for the park and preserve boundary.
Snow coverage is variable. It is the rider’s responsibility to avoid locations where wind or topographic conditions may have reduced snow depth and created situations where damage to vegetation or soils could occur, or where vegetation is taller than the protective snow cover.
There are still areas of thin ice or open water on rivers, and hazardous avalanche conditions may exist due to loose snow and varying layers within the snowpack. Avalanches most often occur on slopes greater than 25 degrees, although they can be remotely triggered on flatter terrain. Riders should utilize travel routes that minimize avalanche risk and avoid narrow valleys, ravines, and other terrain traps. When traveling in avalanche-prone areas riders are encouraged to carry an avalanche beacon, probe, and snow shovel on their person, and to be prepared for self rescue.
Winter weather in the Alaska Range can change very quickly and become severe, with high winds and temperatures well below zero. Park rangers stress the importance of bringing survival gear on all trips into the backcountry and informing friends or relatives of your travel plans. Remember to assess local conditions before venturing into the backcountry.
Read up on regulations and information regarding snowmobiling in Denali.
The Murie Science and Learning Center is open daily from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm as the winter visitor center, providing visitor information and backcountry permits. Additional information is also available by calling 907- 683-9532 between 9:00 am – 4:00 pm daily.
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