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Contact: Paul Ollig, Public Information Officer, 202-603-8974
The Denali Park Road remains closed to all traffic at mile 53, the Toklat River Rest Area, due to unsafe conditions at multiple locations in the areas west of there. Numerous mudslides between mile markers 53 and 69 of the Park Road have created hazardous conditions, and the road remains impassable in those spots. Road crews have been working overnight to monitor conditions and clear debris from the road, but the extent of the damage is considerable.
“West District road crews have been doing everything they can throughout the night and into the morning,” said Norm Sollie, Denali’s West District maintenance supervisor. “The Park Road is a challenge to maintain under normal conditions, and our team is doing a remarkable job right now with the impacts of all this rain. They’re working incredibly hard to get that road opened up to visitors as soon as possible.”
Approximately 300 temporarily stranded day visitors were successfully returned to the park entrance last night. The last bus arrived safely at the Denali Bus Depot at 10:57 pm. While the park’s campgrounds and backcountry areas remain open, campers at Wonder Lake Campground, backcountry users, as well as Kantishna lodge employees and guests are being notified of delays in returning them to the park entrance. The park is actively working on getting the road reopened and resuming normal operations.
Doyon/Aramark Joint Venture, Denali National Park and Preserve’s concessioner, is resuming tour and transit bus shuttles to the Toklat River Rest Area located at mile 53 of the park road. This will allow visitors access to some spectacular areas of Denali’s wilderness, but the road west of this will remain closed to all vehicles until it is deemed safe.
Since August 1st, some areas along the western parts of the Park Road have received close to 20” of rain, totally saturating the road surface, increasing the likelihood of mudslides, and swelling rivers and streams far above normal conditions. The rain has subsided in the park overnight, allowing crews to concentrate on clearing debris and repairing the damaged sections of the road. The regional weather service predicts continued clearing and drier conditions through Wednesday, which should improve things considerably.
Last updated: August 17, 2019