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Contact: Kris Fister, (907) 683-9583
DENALI PARK, Alaska: Extra effort by the spring road opening crew and other maintenance employees to clear the snow from recent storms has made it possible for the National Park Service to provide access farther west into the park. Park visitors can now drive as far as the Teklanika River Rest Area at Mile 30.
Snow conditions are still good for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and other winter recreational activities, but with warming temperatures conditions will change rapidly. The spring road opening crew has reported sightings of moose, caribou, coyote, lynx, golden eagles, ptarmigan, and a single arctic ground squirrel. There have been no sightings of bears yet this season.
Vault toilets are available for visitor use at the Teklanika Rest Area, parking areas on both sides of the Savage River and the Mountain Vista Trailhead (rest area) east of the Savage River Campground. Other park facilities west of headquarters, including the campgrounds, remain closed until later in May.
Visitors should expect to encounter snow, ice, and mud on some portions of the road, particularly in shaded sections. Motorists are also advised to be alert for National Park Service personnel steaming culverts along the side of the road, and for heavy equipment being used in the road opening operations.
Weather conditions can change rapidly at this time of the year, and the road may open and close several times. Visitors are encouraged to contact the park for updated road and weather information. For those interested in following the progress of the Denali road crew as they plow westward along the 92 mile park road to Kantishna, timely updates are posted on the park website at http://www.nps.gov/dena/spring-road-opening.htm. Photos are posted on the park's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DenaliNPS.
The Riley Creek Campground at Mile 0.2 is open, and camping is free until May 15. A vault toilet is provided in the loop that remains open year-round, and campers can obtain water at the Murie Science and Learning Center. Water and sewer services will not be available until mid to late May.
The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) at Mile 1.3 is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm for visitor information and backcountry permits.
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. You can pay the entrance fee at the MSLC. 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.
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.
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.