"Reflection Pond" by U.S. National Park Service , public domain
Official Brochure of Denali National Park & Preserve (NP&PRES) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Denali Denali National Park and Preserve Alaska National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Denali means “the High One” for Athabascan Indians north of the Alaska Range To Make a Wild Dream Come True Charles Sheldon had a dream. Standing on a rise in the Kantishna Hills in January 1908, he pulled out his field glasses—more important to him than his hunting rifle—and looked around. Everything his eyes feasted on could one day be a premier national park, the Yellowstone of Alaska, preserved and protected for one reason above all others: to celebrate restraint as an expression of freedom, our rare ability to save a place so it will one day save us. He studied the ocean of land, storm-tossed by mountains and glaciers, waves of rolling tundra, a landscape like no other, vast, intact, winter-white, and holding its breath, so still yet dynamic, epic and epoch in its dimensions, the America that used to be. Such a grand ambition. More than a dream, it was a spark of idealism, a vision. Could Sheldon do it? Could one person with help from a few committed colleagues and friends successfully campaign for the creation of a national park? Thomas Jefferson had said it would take 1,000 years for Americans to civilize their emerging continental nation and build cities on the Pacific coast as they had on the Atlantic. It took 50 years. The so-called “myth of superabundance”—that we would never run out of fish and bison and bears and so much else—was rapidly becoming just that: a myth. A Yale man who preferred to be in the wilderness, Sheldon decided to dedicate himself to the conservation cause of President Theodore Roosevelt. He journeyed to Alaska when the young US territory had no roads and only 30,000 people (fewer than five percent of what it has today), and found his way to the mountains. Due south of him rose the icy granite massif that gold miners in Kantishna and Fairbanks called Mount McKinley but that Sheldon simply called “the mountain,” or “Denali,” the Athabascan name meaning “the high one.” Certainly a mountain like that could take care of itself, being the highest in North America. But what of the magnificent wild animals that embroidered it, the grizzlies, caribou, wolves, moose, Dall sheep, and others that moved over the land with ancient grace? Market hunters were coming into the country with an aim to kill wild game to feed gold miners and railroad workers. It had to stop. Sheldon spent 10 months in the Denali region, then headed back east with one purpose: to make a wild dream come true. Rethinking Wolves, Wilderness, and Wildness “. . . let us be guardians, rather than gardeners.” Adolph Murie had a theory. Wolves were not bad or evil. They were keen predators that helped to maintain healthy populations of prey species by taking out the old, sick, and injured. Wolves, in fact, were beneficial. They made everything around them stronger, healthier, more agile, and alert. This was heresy in the 1930s, when books, films, and legends demonized the wolf, the wild dog that thousands of years ago had refused our obedience training yet remained our four-legged shadow, a ghost of the hunter we used to be. A wildlife biologist who had studied coyotes in Yellowstone, Murie found great inspiration when he came north to Mount McKinley National Park. —Adolph Murie Here was a dream come true, a park signed into law in February 1917 by Woodrow Wilson after nearly 10 years of campaigning by Charles Sheldon and other activists. Here was a once-upon-a-time land, the most accessible wilderness in Alaska, a park to protect wild animals by protecting the place where they lived, the first national park created after the creation of the National Park Service in August 1916. The world was changing and Murie wanted to be part of it. “Ecology” and “wilderness” were beginning to find their way into the American vocabulary. Nature wasn’t a commodity people owned, it was a community they belonged to. Over-civilized people needed nature—big, mysterious, wild—to find themselves and lose themselves and find themselves again, to rewrite the definitions of progress and wealth, and be reminded what it meant to be truly alive. and then jumped in 1972 after a highway was built between Anchorage and Fairbanks. For three years, 1939–41, Murie lived with his family in a cabin on the East Fork of the Toklat River, in the heart of the park, and studied Dall sheep, caribou, and wolves. His young daughter sometimes joined him on the tundra, field glasses in hand, like Charles Sheldon, to watch wolf pups play near their den. A single 90-mile-long road had been built through the park, and while traffic was light, it increased steadily As big as the park was, it wasn’t big enough. Murie and others wanted to protect its ecological integrity. And so they campaigned, and hoped for a president one day who would be as conservation-minded as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Imagine. Here’s a place we did not harvest or plunder or otherwise conquer but allowed it to enrich and to inspire us over many generations. Not only did we care about the place, we cared for it. We defended it, and still do. Challenges remain. Wolves are routinely shot and trapped in Alaska, some near Denali. The climate shifts, the air grows warmer, permafrost melts, habitats disappear. Every year thousands of people want to climb “the high one” or fly around it. Dedicated people rise to meet the management challenges, to save the wild essence and character of Denali: A Charles Sheldon here, an Adoph Murie there. A few committed citizens can bring about big, thoughtful change for the common good. It always works that way. Now it’s your turn. —Texts by Kim Heacox People were coming to see the once-upon-a-time land, the America that used to be. It took 40 years. Wild Places Don’t Stay Wild by Accident Jimmy Carter had a final act. In December 1980, with only weeks left in his presidency, he signed into law legislation that established over 100 million acres of new national parks, preserves, and wildlife refuges in Alaska. Mount McKinley National Park, enlarged from two million acres to six million, became Denali National Park and Preserve, with new boundaries to encompass entire watersheds and the home ranges of wildlife populations. Today, hundreds of thousands of park visitors travel by bus every summer on the single road through the park. The bus system (versus private vehicles) reduces traffic and roadside disturbances so you can better see what you come to see. A single wolf or a bear, breathtakingly close, is priceless. An entire bus goes quiet, cameras softly clicking, as a mother grizzly and her cubs eat blueberries only 20 meters away. Later, everybody talks with new animation, enchanted like children, alive with stories to last a lifetime. There will always be a good economic argument to overcrowd an experience until we redefine what a good economy is. National parks don’t happen by accident. They are established—and preserved—by great force of character, heroic at times, often tedious and downright hard. This is stewardship. Top photo: Autumn Mount McKinley reflections. © QT LUONG / TERRAGALLERIA.COM Middle: Dog teams haul freight at Wonder Lake. © 2011 JEFF SCHULTZ / ALASKASTOCK.COM Bottom: Dall sheep ram, Polychrome Pass. © 2011 KENNETH R. WHITTEN / ALASKASTOCK.COM Enjoying Denali Please check the park website www.nps.gov/dena or the free visitor guide Alpenglow—also available online—to plan your trip or to learn about park programs, safety guidelines, and regulations. For firearms regulations check the park website. How To Get Here Alaska Public Lands Information Center Two locations: Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center, 101 Dunkel Street, Suite 110, Fairbanks, AK 99701, 907-459-3730; and 605 West 4th Ave., Suite 105, Anchorage, AK 99501, 907-644-3661 More Information Denali National Park and Preserve PO Box 9, Denali Park, AK 99755 907-683-2294 www.nps.gov/dena email@example.com What To Do in the Park and Preserve Center to the Toklat River (six hours roundtrip), Eielson Visitor Center (eight hours), and Wonder Lake (11 By Road The main park entrance is 237 miles north of Anchorage and 120 miles south of Fairbanks via George Parks Highway, Alaska 3, which is open year-round. Bus companies provide service to the park in summer. Be Prepared Most people visit between late May and mid-September. Summer is cool, wet, and windy, and it can snow. Bring clothing for temperatures from 35 to 75°F: hat, mittens or gloves, and raingear are essential. Sturdy footgear, insect repellent, binoculars, and a camera are desirable. Denali By Train The Alaska Railroad offers daily summer passenger service to the park from Anchorage and Fairbanks. Service is limited in winter. Contact 800-544-0552, or www.alaskarailroad. com. Interpretive bus tours include: Tundra Wil derness Tour, Denali Natural History Tour, and Kantishna Experience. Make reservations with the park concessioner (see top right of this side). Park Transportation Private vehicles are restricted beyond Savage River (Mile 15). To protect wildlife viewing, limits are set on park road traffic, including the buses. Shuttle bus service begins May 20 and ends in mid-September. Waits are possible for walk-in reservations; have flexible departure plans. Buses travel regularly from the Wilderness Access Emergencies Fire, medical, and law enforcement, call 911. Overnight backpacking trips require careful planning and a backcountry permit, available only after an inperson orientation with a ranger at the Backcountry Information Center. There is a quota Wildlife activity may require areas to be closed The National Park Service gratefully acknowledges Alaska Geographic for financial support of this brochure. Follow DenaliNPS on Facebook and Twitter. Detail Map: Entrance and Visitor Center Area visitor center, or the park website. Mountaineering Mount McKinley and Mount Foraker climbers must register 60 Camping The park has days before starting six designated camptheir ascent and pay grounds. Stays are limit- a special use fee. Call ed to 14 nights total. the Talkeetna Ranger Group sites are availStation, Box 588, Tal able by reservation for keetna, AK 99676, nine to 20 people. 907-733-2231. Camping is prohibited in parking areas and on Winter Activities The roadsides. Campfires are Park Road stays open permitted only in certo headquarters at Mile tain campgrounds. 3.4, and could be open farther into the park, Food Storage Campers based on weather conmust store all food and ditions. The backcounscented items, including try is reached by snowsealed cans and bottles, shoes, skis, or dog sled. in bear-resistant food Riley Creek Camplockers found in campground near the park grounds, or in closed, entrance is open all hard-sided vehicles. year. Check at the winter visitor center for Sport Fishing/Hunting road status, weather Hunting and fishing are conditions, and backallowed in some park country permits. and preserve locations, regulated by federal Accessibility We strive and state law. Discharg- to make our facilities, ing weapons is strictly services, and programs prohibited in many accessible to all. For inareas. It is your respon- formation go to a visisibility to know and to tor center, ask a ranger, comply with all laws call, or check the park and regulations. For website. more information consult a park ranger, Hiking Denali has trails for both novice and experienced hikers. Trails are maintained in the park entrance area. Join ranger-led walks or take longer cross-country hikes on your own. Some of the best routes are on durable surfaces along ridgetops or gravel riverbars. Streams can be cold, swift, and dangerous to cross. Sturdy footgear is essential. Pets are allowed only on roadways and in some campgrounds. They must be leashed or physically restrained at all times and should not be left unattended. Pets are prohibited on buses, trails, and in the backcountry. No food service is offered beyond the park entrance area. Bring food, drink, warm clothes, and raingear. system for backcountry units. Many units require hikers to use bearresistant food containers (provided). Pack out all garbage. Bicycles are prohibited on hiking trails. Cycling is allowed in the campgrounds and on park roads and the designated bike path. Some shuttle buses have bicycle racks. Ask at a visitor center or check the park website for information to plan a cycling trip. Entrance Fee The park entrance fee, $10 per person, is collected year-round and is valid for seven days. Most of the money stays in the park to improve visitor services and facilities. Interagency Federal Recreation Passes, like the Annual, Senior, and Access Passes, and the Denali Annual Pass, are also valid for entry. hours). Except in wildlife closures, you can get on or off the shuttle buses along the Park Road to hike. You then reboard on a space-available basis. Visitor Centers To Serve You to all entry for a few days to several months. Hikers are responsible for knowing current closures. All Reservations for Campsites, Tours, and Shuttle Bus Tickets Contact the park concessioner, Doyon/ARAMARK Joint Venture 800-622-7275 (nationwide), 907-272-7275 (international), or www.reservedenali.com Park Bookstore Alaska Geographic Association PO Box 230 Denali Park, AK 99755 907-683-1272 www.alaskageographic.org The Denali Visitor Center Campus is 1.5 miles from the park entrance. At the visitor center explore the exhibits, talk to park rangers, and see the award-winning park film, Heartbeats of Denali. A bookstore, Morino Grill, and the Murie Science and Learning Center are nearby. Campground Campsite Spaces *Miles Riley Creek CG Savage River CG Sanctuary River CG Teklanika River CG Igloo Creek CG Wonder Lake CG Eielson Visitor Center, 66 miles inside the park, can be reached by shuttle bus. It exemplifies the park’s commitment to sustainable practices. 0.4 12.8 22.6 29.1 34.0 85.9 Kilometers 0.7 20.5 36.4 46.8 54.8 138.2 Tent 146 33 7 53 7 28 Vault Wilderness Safety Denali is true wilderness. Before you venture into the park, read the safety messages in the free visitor guide Alpenglow. Grizzly bears and moose are dangerous. Crossing glacial rivers can be treacherous. Water Flush Tap • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • *Distances from Entrance NPS PHOTOS Toilet RV** • • • • **Limited number of sites can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet maximum ✩GPO:20xx—xxx-xxx/xxxxx Reprint 20xx To Fairbanks 90mi 145km Printed on recycled paper Al a s ka Rai ad lro Ri ve r Tok lat ea Cl ek Fo rw ate r k C re rk NT A K Cr ee k h ee SN B i rc Cr S LL ISH NA O Mo H O o se M O w ay gh Hi Par ks ge or r Ge Riv e a it n ul Ch G ul ch Chulitna Pass Little Coal Creek Trailhead E DG RI DEV I ILS C AN YO N ad na Upper Troublesome Creek Trailhead Denali Viewpoint South er iv ka Ra Lower Troublesome Creek S Talkeet na 3 S rs ve r r ve k Ri R E T E ee P Chu l i tn a Cr e R iv Ka hi l Pe tn a te r sville er Road not plowed beyond this point in winter ve Ri Petersville R o ad Trapper Creek r 346ft 105m Talkeetna Ranger Station Talkeetna To Anchorage 112mi 180km na Chulitna Rest Area Mount Kliskon 3943ft 1202m River Stephan Lake H L G SU DENALI er Riv S TAT E PARK si t o Su ilr I ER R T U D ne S usitna Al as G NA A CU AC te Yen tna Hurr ica Byers Lake Pe River CIE R IL La k Fo r k k Visitor Information a itn H a E a st BR ER OO BR T RALE SS RE TT NA I LT KAH ER CI LA R ACIE GL K S GLAC IER IER I KA GL AC R GL RS BU GLAC IER CIER LA G H T O ED CH R r CIE To nz on a F or 2200ft 671m H AC I E R S la t n r D 95mi 153km Ta l k e et Talkeetna Historical Museum Railroad Depot na R ive er LA R Denali Viewpoint North RUT GL L A East e Cr GE E RG A GLA C Ri ha t IL Cantwell to Paxson 131mi 211km O N H Fairview Mountain 3266ft 995m K ic CIE 8 Denali View North Tok os Ch e S IT NA ER IN Rive r ID a sh ko ins To nta u o M LT CI TA tna GLA HI LA N Mooses Tooth 10335ft 3150m GL L G U DR KE Mount Goldie 6315ft 1925m L Ye n k O EL BUCKSKIN y wa Summit Lake 3 PA R K OS TN Lookout Mountain 2965ft 904m KA Y EN A ry G DENALI Avalanche Spire 10105ft 3080m k G Mount Stevens 13895ft 4235m For West Mount Eldridge 10433ft 3180m Explorers Peak 8540ft 2603m R U T H AT E R E AMPHITH Mount Barrille 7650ft 2332m Mount Dickey 9545ft 2909m TOK Mount Russell 11670ft 3557m DAL or M H R ek Mount Dan Beard 10260ft 3127m N AT I O N A L ISE GLAC I ER Mount Silverthrone 13220ft 4029m da P a li High Road not plowed beyond this point in winter S AS East Fork Rest Area E A S T BU T T R E S S Mount Huntington 12240ft 3731m Mount Hunter 14573ft 4427m Mount Deception 11768ft 3587m ern un De n Summit 2345ft 715m T EA THE GR Mount Foraker 17400ft 5303m S T OU ld Wi bo ess L AC I E Cantwell Foggy Pass Ri ve r o ER Mount Crosson 12800ft 3901m Mount Mather 12123ft 3695m B ul l Ohi R GL A L A K S A A Mount Brooks 11940ft 3639m MOUNT McKINLEY TTRESS ST BU WE South Peak 20320ft 6193m LD GL Easy Pass N enana ek Riv I R GL A C I E R N North Peak 19470ft 5934m Kahiltna Dome 12525ft 3818m ON T E P E T E Mount Koven 12210ft 3722m GL AC IE CI I AC MU W RO I AC C RA RR LO ve West F s e Peters Dome 10600ft 3231m ST HE A rk Heart Mountain 6500ft 1981m D EN A LI N ATION A L P R ES E RV E Cathedral Sp i re ey Panorama Mountain 5778ft 1761m re k v Fo Mount Dall 8756ft 2669m KI CH AT NA S a v ag Ri Swift PR Fo r k 27mi 43km Windy C r ee McGonagall Pass GLAC Mount Pendleton 7840ft 2389m I ER Anderson Pass WEST FORK G E G N A R Scott Peak 8828ft 2691m T er RA KE SE Red Mountain 7165ft 2184m Cr rak FO mile 66 3733ft 1138m SU N y Fo HT AW AY Eielson Visitor Center Cr e e k River er Creek er R iv HILLS R SU Yanert Fang Mountain 6736ft 2053m ntwell Ca Creek r Cle a r w a t e DENALI WILDERN ESS within DENALI NATIONAL PA R K G Ri R il er Riv ection ) Turtle Hill ch SLOW FORK r y McKinley Bar Trail r ry nda Bir (restricted s cier ss R i ve Creek Park Road Divide Mtn 5195ft 1583m Highway Pass Stony Hill Stony Dome Eielson 4700ft 1432m Alpine Trail Thorofare Pass G la rne ley dy ud M n lde se Wonder Lake mile 85 p Slip r ro Wi bou er R i ve tuar M cKi n HILLS zo n a S anc Castle Rocks 1900ft 579m COTTONWOOD Ton Cathedral Mountain 4905ft 1495m mile 1.5 1677ft 511m r Mo o Busia Mountain Wonder Lake Castle Rocks Lake Fork ve Brooker Mountain He if t Double Mountain 5899ft 1798m Sable Pass Ri mile 53 mile 92 D EN A LI N ATION A L P R ES E RV E Polychrome Mountain 5790ft Polychrome 1765m Overlook Toklat River Kantishna la t Denali Visitor Center Triple Lakes Trail Triple Lakes Rive r Igloo Creek Igloo Mountain 4800ft 1463m Sable Mountain 6002ft 1830m ME CHRO POLY ACIER GL k Sw er Big Lake Cre e Cr e ek Wickersham Dome To k Spruce Peak eek mile 29 HILLS Ri v ier ac Highpower F ork Gl C ree k eek Cr Cr Teklanika River WYOMING Kankone Peak 4987ft 1520m Otter Lake E ast r y er Spectacle Lake ny ve ar Be Ri Slip p r Rive Sprucefish Lake PA R K Sugar Loaf Mountain 4784ft 1459m Riley Creek y Cr ee k HI 11mi Mount Healy 18km 5700ft Private vehicles 1737m restricted beyond mile 15 (Parking) Park Headquarters Detail Savage Road closed in winter beyond Alpine mile 3.4 Trail Sanctuary Mountain River Savage Vista River l at ey r Old Cache Lake aw arp Sto nl Forake N AT I O N A L Be pe Cr k To Ki Mc DENALI Sta m ek 3 Savage River Loop Trail P rim r o se Ri d g e River R iv er de C re He al y IS H Healy Medical Clinic R i v er r H de pe am Ri ve IL LS Be ar St nn Be Lake Minchumina th or Je paw ar ek Cr e T N U O M U H C Chitsia Mountain 3862ft 1117m r IS a age Sav S hn il Tra Minchumina rk Chilchukabena Lake ti s e Riv Starr Lake n Ka Teklanika N o u a Fo sk im kw M r y dd h an Ku er Riv ve Su s A Ri S IN a nan Ne Ri ve r River Talkeetna to 3 14mi 22km North 0 20 Kilometers 10 0 10 Generalized land cover within Park and Preserve Ice and snow Sparse vegetation Tundra Forest and muskeg 10mi 16km 20 Miles Unpaved road Ranger station Primitive road Campground Trail Airstrip Distance indicator Picnic area