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Contact: Kris Fister, (907) 683-9583
Favorable weather and some extra effort by road crews to clear drifts from last weekend's snowstorm are making it possible for the National Park Service to open the park road further west. Park visitors will be able to drive as far as the Teklanika River Rest Area at Mile 30 beginning at 8:00 am on Saturday, April 14, weather permitting.
Snow conditions are deteriorating, but there is still good snow for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, particularly in shaded areas and on north-facing slopes. As the season progresses, visitors and road crew staff are seeing increasing amounts of wildlife. Recent sightings have included lynx, moose, spruce grouse, and golden eagles. There have been no sightings of bears or ground squirrels 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 call ahead 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. The weekend ranger-led snowshoe walks have been discontinued for the season.
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 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.