News Release

NPS Approves Plan to Restore Critical Access to Denali National Park

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Date: March 17, 2022
Contact: Sharon Stiteler

The National Park Service (NPS) this week approved a plan that will pave the way for a long-term solution to the Pretty Rocks Landslide on the Denali Park Road within Denali National Park and Preserve. With an initial $25 million in critical funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the NPS will begin construction in Summer 2022 and keep the project on an accelerated timeline.

During construction, visitors will continue to have access to unparalleled wildlife viewing, views of Denali, front-country trails and backcountry hiking and camping. Construction will start during the summer of 2022 and is expected to take two years to complete.

“Denali is ready for visitors in 2022 and will continue to work with our neighbors, inholders and partners to ensure an unforgettable Denali experience for visitors throughout the construction phase,” said Acting Denali National Park Superintendent Brooke Merrell.

The Park Road will remain open to mile 43 until completion of the bridge. The first phase of the project will restore road access to areas west of the project area by constructing a steel bridge to span a slow-moving rock glacier that has accelerated in recent years beyond the capacity of the park to maintain a safe road surface, resulting in a road closure in August 2021. The project will also address several other geologic hazards that threaten public safety and infrastructure along the 92-mile road in Denali National Park.

The NPS prepared an Environmental Assessment in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration to examine alternative actions and environmental impacts. Two alternatives were analyzed in the EA: 1) the No Action Alternative; and 2) the Pretty Rocks Bridge and Polychrome Road Improvements alternative (the NPS preferred alternative). The NPS preferred alternative was selected after careful analysis of resource impacts, consultation with Native tribes, ANCSA Corporations and the State Historic Preservation Office, and review of stakeholder and public comments. 

A summary of the decision and responses to public comments can be found in the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), which was approved by the NPS Alaska Regional Director on March 10, 2022. The document is available on the NPS Planning, Environment & Public Comment page. Supporting information on the Polychrome Area Plan is also available.

Last updated: March 17, 2022

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