July 6, 2016
Contact: Lynn McAloon
Denali National Park and Preserve staff reminds visitors to use caution when stopping to view wildlife and that no photo opportunity is worth a human life.
Park staff have observed visitors walking or running in highway travel lanes, crossing the road in front of fast-moving traffic, parking erratically in unsafe locations, and leaving vehicle doors open in order to view or photograph moose calves feeding along the highway near the intersection of Denali National Park entrance. The situation is causing extremely unsafe conditions for drivers, pedestrians, and the calves themselves.
The George Parks Highway is the main travel route between Anchorage and Fairbanks and hosts a large amount of multi-use traffic. Seven miles of the highway runs through Denali National Park and Preserve, the route also known as Highway 3. The posted speed limit on the road varies between 45 mph and 65 mph.
Thru-traffic such as tractor-trailers, which comprise a large amount of the overall traffic on the Parks Highway, have long stopping times and are unable to make quick, evasive maneuvers. These and other thru-drivers may be startled by unexpected pedestrians in the roadway or by vehicles stopping abruptly on road shoulders, narrowing the road and decreasing line of sight for all drivers.
Park staff will be engaging in active traffic control in the area and making visitor contacts to educate the public about the ongoing situation.
To help keep Denali’s animals healthy and wild, do not approach or attempt to feed them. National Park Service regulations require staying at least 25 yards away from moose. Please, do not stop to view them without considering your safety, as well as that of others.