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Contact: Kris Fister, (907) 683-9583
On Wednesday, March 17 the National Park Service road crew will begin the annual operations to clear and prepare the Denali Park Road beyond park headquarters (Mile 3) for vehicle access by park visitors. They expect to encounter less snow than average and some ice overflow on sections of the road, according to reports received from overflights of the park road and information downloaded from remote weather stations. As of today, the Toklat station at Mile 53 is reporting 7 inches of snow, and there are 31 inches at Kantishna. In March 2009 the stations recorded 19 inches at Toklat and 27 inches at Kantishna.
In addition to removing the winter accumulation of snow and ice, road crew personnel must steam open culverts clogged with ice to prevent road damage caused by runoff from melting snow and rain. They will also repair any damage that occurred over the winter before opening the road for use by the public.
Updates and pictures of the spring road opening operation will be posted regularly on the park website at www.nps.gov/dena.
Depending on weather and road conditions, the park road could open for travel to the Savage River
(Mile 15) by early April. The new rest area east of the Savage River Campground will also be available at that time. The road could be open for travel to the Teklanika River Rest Area (Mile 30) by mid to late April. Visitors are advised to contact the park to confirm the opening dates before their trip.
Access to park areas west of headquarters for snowshoeing, mushing, cross-country skiing and other seasonal recreational activities is available on the Spring Trail, which runs south and parallel to the park road. The trailhead is located near the entrance to the park’s sled dog kennels. Visitors using the road should expect to encounter snow removal equipment. Please make certain the equipment operator is aware of your presence before attempting to go by.
The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) at Mile 1.3 is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily as the winter visitor center, providing information and backcountry permits. Ranger-led snowshoe hikes are taking place on Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. through Sunday, March 28, conditions permitting.
The Riley Creek Campground at Mile 0.2 is open year-round, but water and sewer services will not be available until later in the spring. A vault toilet is provided for campers in the loop that is currently open, and water can be obtained at the MSLC.
Denali National Park and Preserve collects an entrance fee year-round. The entrance fee of $10 per person or $20 per vehicle is good for seven days. 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.
Additional park information can be obtained by calling (907) 683-2294 from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily or on the web at www.nps.gov/dena.