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Contact: Kris Fister, (907) 683-9583
DENALI PARK, Alaska: Lengthening days, milder overnight temperatures, sightings of migrant bird species, and the arrival of summer employees are all signs that the seasonal facilities and services that enhance the park experience for Denali National Park and Preserve visitors will open soon.
The Denali Bookstore, operated by park partner Alaska Geographic, has kicked off the season, as it opened on Monday, May 6. Most facilities will open the following week on Wednesday, May 15, including the Wilderness Access Center, Morino Grill, Backcountry Information Center, and the Denali Visitor Center, the park's main visitor center. This environmentally sustainable facility features stunning exhibits on Denali's natural history and cultural heritage, screenings of the award winning, high definition feature film, "Heartbeats of Denali", and friendly rangers who answer questions and help visitors plan how to spend their time in the park. It is open daily from 8:00 am - 6:00 pm.
The season's first interpretive offering, the daily 2:00 pm sled dog demonstration, commences on May 15. Free buses to the park kennels depart from the Denali Visitor Center shuttle stop at 1:20 p.m. Campground programs will be offered on a limited basis beginning Saturday, May 18, and the 10:00 am sled dog demonstration begins on Monday, May 20. The full range of interpretive programs will be available in June.
Denali Natural History Tours start on Tuesday, May 14, and the shoulder season Tundra Wilderness Tour (TWT) to the Teklanika Rest Area will be available May 14 - 19. The regular TWT begins on May 20.
The park road is open for travel by private vehicles to the Teklanika River Rest Area (Mile 30) through Sunday, May 19. Weather and road conditions permitting, on Monday, May 20 the park's shuttle bus system starts providing visitor access beyond the Savage River (Mile 15) as far west as the Toklat River (Mile 53). Buses will begin running to the Eielson Visitor Center (Mile 66) on Saturday, June 1. The entire 92-mile length of the park road will open for buses on Saturday, June 8.
The first fifteen miles of the park road will remain open for travel by private vehicles throughout the summer season. This year's road-related construction projects, which include the replacement of the Rock Creek Bridge near park headquarters, are expected to cause only minor (up to five minutes) traffic delays and lane closures.
Camping is free at the Riley Creek Campground until fee collection begins on May 15. Water and sewer services may be available by that date, depending on weather conditions. The Savage River Campground will open on Sunday, May 19 and the Sanctuary River, Teklanika River, and Igloo Creek Campgrounds all open on Monday, May 20. The Wonder Lake Campground opens on Saturday, June 8.
Denali National Park and Preserve collects an entrance fee year-round. The entrance fee of $10 per person (for visitors age 16 and older) is good for seven days. Visitors can pay the entrance fee at the Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) through May 14, and at the Denali Visitor Center (DVC) beginning May 15. The majority of the money collected remains in the park to be used for projects to improve visitor services and facilities. Interagency Federal Recreation Passes such as the Annual, Senior, and Access Pass, and the Denali Annual Pass are also valid for entry into the park and can be purchased at the MSLC or DVC.
Additional park information is available on the web at www.nps.gov/dena or by calling 907-683-9532 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm daily. Stay connected with "DenaliNPS" on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and iTunes - links to these social media sites are available at www.nps.gov/dena/connect.htm.
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.