Denali National Park & Preserve - Alaska
Denali National Park and Preserve encompasses 6 million acres of Alaska’s interior wilderness. Its centerpiece is 20,310-ft.-high Denali (fka Mount McKinley), North America’s tallest peak. With terrain of tundra, spruce forest and glaciers, the park is home to wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou and Dall sheep. Popular activities in summer include biking, backpacking, hiking and mountaineering.
maps Denali - Visitor Map
Official visitor map of Denali National Park and Preserve (NP & PRES) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Denali - Visitor Map Detail
Detail of the official visitor map of Denali National Park and Preserve (NP & PRES) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Denali Highway - Travel Map
Travel Map of the 135 miles long Denali Highway in Alaska which connects Paxson on the Richardson Highway with Cantwell Junction on the Parks Highway. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
GMU 13 - Cantwell Area
Federal Subsistence Hunt Map of Cantwell Area in the Game Management Unit 13E (GMU) in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
brochures Denali - Brochure
Official Brochure of Denali National Park & Preserve (NP&PRES) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Denali - Berann Panorama
Berann Panorama of Denali National Park & Preserve (NP&PRES) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Denali - Guide Summer 2017
Summer Visitor Guide to Denali National Park & Preserve (NP&PRES) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Denali - Guide Summer 2016
Summer Visitor Guide to Denali National Park & Preserve (NP&PRES) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Denali - Geology Road Guide
Geology Road Guide to Denali National Park & Preserve (NP&PRES) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Denali Trails - Roadside Trail
Brochure of Roadside Trail at Denali National Park & Preserve (NP&PRES) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Denali Trails - Rock Creek Trail
Brochure of Rock Creek Trail at Denali National Park & Preserve (NP&PRES) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Denali - Denali for Families
Brochure Denali for Families for Denali National Park & Preserve (NP&PRES) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Denali National Park and Preserve encompasses 6 million acres of Alaska’s interior wilderness. Its centerpiece is 20,310-ft.-high Denali (fka Mount McKinley), North America’s tallest peak. With terrain of tundra, spruce forest and glaciers, the park is home to wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou and Dall sheep. Popular activities in summer include biking, backpacking, hiking and mountaineering.
Denali is six million acres of wild land, bisected by one ribbon of road. Travelers along it see the relatively low-elevation taiga forest give way to high alpine tundra and snowy mountains, culminating in North America's tallest peak, 20,310' Denali. Wild animals large and small roam un-fenced lands, living as they have for ages. Solitude, tranquility and wilderness await.
You can drive to Denali from Anchorage or Fairbanks, along Highway 3, which is known as the "George Parks Highway." Fairbanks is about 2 hours north, while Anchorage is 5 hours south of the Denali entrance. You can also reach Denali from either city via the Alaska Railroad, which is operated by the State of Alaska. A small private airstrip is also available near the park entrance for individuals wishing to fly their own small craft to the park.
Denali Bus Depot
This summer facility is operated by our concessionaire rather than by the National Park Service. It is the primary place to buy bus tickets, arrange for stays in park campgrounds, or to check in for an existing reservation. Coffee and grab-and-go food is also available for purchase. Only credit cards are accepted here.
Denali Visitor Center
Open in summer only, this is the main visitor center near the park entrance. During the summer, you can explore exhibits, watch the park film, pay the park entrance fee, and talk with a ranger. In fall, winter and spring, the Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) acts as the park's Winter Visitor Center.
Upon arriving in Denali, travel 1.5 miles down the road until you see signs for the Denali Visitor Center.
Eielson Visitor Center
The Eielson Visitor Center is located at Mile 66 of the Denali Park Road. Due to the ongoing Pretty Rocks landslide and the closure of the park road at Mile 42, Eielson is currently closed.
Eielson is located at Mile 66 of the Denali Park Road, and as such can only be accessed by visitors on certain buses, or visitors who are hiking / biking the road.
Indoor Picnic Area
A heated building, called the Indoor Picnic Area, is located next door to the Murie Science and Learning Center, which is across the street from the Denali Visitor Center. Restrooms and a water bottle filling station are available. Food service is not provided, so bring your own food to eat.
Turn off Highway 3 onto the Denali Park Road and drive 1.4 miles til you see signs for the Murie Science & Learning Center. Park at the Murie Center, and walk past it to the Indoor Picnic Area.
Murie Science and Learning Center
The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) is located at Mile 1.3 of the Denali Park Road at the entrance of Denali National Park and Preserve. In summer (June 1 – late August), the MSLC hosts educational science activities during daily open hours from 1–3 pm. In winter (mid October – mid May), the MSLC serves as Denali’s Winter Visitor Center.
After entering the park, travel 1.4 miles and look for signs to the Murie Science and Learning Center.
Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station
Located in the town of Talkeetna, about 100 miles south of the entrance to Denali National Park and Preserve, this ranger station serves as the center of mountaineering operations. Climbers wishing to attempt Denali or other peaks in the Alaska Range stop here first, for an orientation to the mountain and to acquire their climbing permit. This ranger station also offers some visitor services, particularly in summer. It is open year-round.
The Talkeetna Spur Road is at Mile 100 on Highway 3. Drive down the Talkeetna Spur Road its full 15 mile length to the town of Talkeetna and look for the visitor center on B street.
Igloo Creek Campground will be closed in 2023. The campground is at mile 35 on the Park Road. It offers 7 sites, making it the smallest in Denali (along with Sanctuary River Campground, which also has 7 sites). Igloo is tent-only—you will not find any RVs or other vehicles in this campground. It is accessible only by camper bus. The bus stop is a short walk from the campsites (less than 50 yards).
This is the cost to stay per night at Igloo Creek Campground. You may stay up to 14 total nights in a given summer. Three tents and up to eight people may use a single site.
Igloo Welcoming Committee
two brown bears scratching at a large wooden sign that reads "Igloo Creek Campground"
While many visitors do not see bears at Igloo Campground, remember that you are camping in bear country.
Camping at Igloo
two people sitting in chairs outside of their tent in a forest
Igloo Campground is in the middle of Igloo Forest, which is mainly made up of spruce trees.
Igloo Creek Campground
person sitting near an orange tent
Campsites in Igloo Creek have some brush screening between sites.
Filling water at Igloo Creek
a woman filtering water into a plastic bottle from a shallow creek
Igloo Creek has no well or water tap. Water must be gathered from the nearby creek, so bring a filter.
Igloo Creek Food Locker
a woman placing food into a large metal locker
Food lockers at Igloo Creek ensure that wildlife cannot steal your food. Keep all scented items (e.g., deodorant, toothpaste) in the locker, not just your food.
Relaxing at Igloo Creek Campground
A grizzly on its hind legs leaning on a large wooden sign that reads "Igloo Creek Campground"
Keep in mind that bears can be found nearly anywhere in Denali. Keep your food and other scented items stored properly in the campground facilities provided!
picnic tables covered by a wall-less, roofed enclosure in a forest
A covered eating area is available at Igloo Creek Campground
Restrooms at Igloo
wooden building with two doors in a forest
Igloo has two pit toilets for campers.
Riley Creek is a fairly wooded campground, with some screening between sites whenever possible. Most of the campground sites are open to either tent campers or vehicles / RVs. The proximity of Highway 3 means there is occasional traffic noise, but also means campers have all the conveniences and amenities of the park entrance area, and businesses outside the park, close at hand. Trails leading from the campground connect to the Denali Visitor Center, which is the central hub of trails in the entrance area.
Winter - Free
Camping is free in winter. The winter season begins fifteen days after Labor Day each September, and lasts through early May each year.
Summer - Large RV Sites
Some sites can accommodate RVs up to 40' in length. These sites cost a bit more per night than the smaller sites, which can accommodate vehicles no larger than 30' long.
Summer - Small RV Sites
These sites can accommodate vehicles up to 30' long. If you have a truck and trailer, the total combined length must be less than 30' to use one of these sites.
Summer - Tent Only
The tent-only sites at Riley are first-come, first-served, meaning they cannot be purchased before you physically arrive in the park. These sites do not have parking at them, you must park elsewhere and walk into these sites.
Group Site (Tent-only)
A group site at Riley Creek Campground has space for up to 12 tents. The group site can only be used by non-commercial groups (including groups like Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America, etc). There are no fire rings at the site, and tents must be set up on the established tent pads.
Riley Creek Campfire
a man lighting a campfire, and a woman pulling gear out of a car
Up to two vehicles may park at a Riley Creek Campsite, as long as the total vehicle length doesn't exceed the campsite's max (either 30' or 40')
Riley Creek Campground
an empty campsite in a spruce forest
A typical site in Riley Creek Campground.
Riley Creek Tent Site
two people spreading a tent out on a gravel pad
Riley Creek Campground has some tent-only sites, though most sites are open to RVs. RV sites are split into <30' and <40'.
Riley Creek Campground
three women at a picnic table near a tent
Riley Creek is open to RVs and tent campers
Open in summer only (May 20 to mid-September). Sanctuary River is a heavily wooded campground, with screening between most sites. The immediate area is brushy, but nearby mountains offer chances to hike directly from the campground and gain elevation, with views of Denali to the south possible on clear days, after some strenuous up-hill hiking. Sanctuary is tent-only—you will not find any RVs or other vehicles in this campground. It is accessible only by camper bus.
This is the cost for one campsite for one night. Three tents and up to eight people may use a single site. You may stay up to 14 total nights in a given summer.
a wide, shallow river flowing through a brushy forest
The area around Sanctuary River turns shades of yellow, orange and red in fall (mid-August)
Open in summer only (May 20 to mid-September). Savage River campground is located at Mile 13 on the Denali Park Road. It sits in a spruce forest, with moderate screening between sites. On clear days, Denali can be seen from a short walk below the campground.
Large RV Sites
Nightly fee for a site that can accommodate an RV between 30' and 40' long.
Small RV / Tent Sites
Nightly cost for a site that can accommodate an RV that is less than 30' long, as well as any other vehicle or even tent campers without vehicles.
Standard sites in Savage can accommodate up to 8 people (in up to 3 tents). Larger groups may rent a group site by calling 866.761.6629.
a braided river flowing through a brushy landscape
A short walk southwest of the campground is Savage River, which flows northward from the Alaska Range.
Savage River Campground
dirt road in a forest with hills in the distance
South of the campground, the spruce forest ends and views of the Alaska Range become possible
South of Savage River
a landscape of spruce trees, rolling hills and distant mountains
The view to the south of Savage River Campground, looking toward the Alaska Range
Savage River Canyon
two marmots sitting on rocks
Savage River Canyon is about a mile away from Savage River Campground, and can be a great spot to look for wildlife.
Evening Ranger Talk at Savage Campground
a crowd of people sitting on wood benches in a forest listen to a park ranger speaking
Evening campground talks happen most nights at Savage River Campground during the summer
Savage River Campground
A wood sign reading Savage River Campground
The entrance to Savage River Campground
Open in summer only (May 20 to mid-September). Though nearly all private vehicles must turn around at mile 15, Savage River, Tek campers are an exception to that rule. If you wish, you may drive your vehicle / RV to Tek. The trade-off is that you must make, at minimum, a three-night stay, and your vehicle must stay in your campsite for the duration of your stay, while you use transit buses to sightsee. Tent campers using the park bus system to reach Tek are not subject to the 3-night minimum stay.
This is the cost, per night, for a campsite at Teklanika Campground. A single site can contain up to eight people and up to three tents. This is the fee for all campers, regardless of whether you have just a tent, or an RV or other vehicle.
Strongly recommended. The Tek Pass is a bus ticket that lets you use transit buses throughout your stay at Tek. The pass acts like a normal transit ticket for your first trip (i.e., on a specific bus you choose); on subsequent trips, you can board any transit bus for a day-trip farther into the park.
You cannot drive your vehicle to/from the campground except at the start and end of your stay, so this is the only way to sightsee while camping at Tek. (Note: This pass is free for kids 15 and younger.)
two people outside of an RV, one relaxing in a camp chair by a fire while another prepares a meal
You can camp at Tek River with an RV (less than 40'), a car, or just a tent. Sites have a grate for cooking over a fire, but bring your own firewood and don't forget to burn or scrape off any food residue from the cooking surface.
a wide, braided river flowing past forests and mountains
A short walk west of Teklanika (Tek) Campground is Tek River, which flows northward from the Alaska Range.
several people in camp chairs around a fire, under a tarp hung from trees
Remember to keep a clean camp. Food should only be outside when you're actively preparing and eating a meal. Otherwise, use the food lockers or your hard-sided vehicle to keep your food safe from wildlife.
two women sitting near a campfire with a truck and cab-over-camper behind them
Teklanika River is the second largest campground in Denali, but is one of the most remote. No electrical or water hookups are available, though bathrooms and potable water taps are available in the campground.
numerous wooden benches in a spruce forest
The Teklanika area is wooded, though less-so than Riley Creek and Savage River Campgrounds
Ranger Program at Teklanika Campground
a crowd sitting on benches faces a park ranger giving a talk
Ranger programs occur most evenings of the summer at Teklanika River Campground.
Tent Camping at Teklanika
an SUV parked in a forest with a tent behind it
Campers may use RVs or tents at Teklanika in most years. Occasional bear incidents may cause restrictions on tent-camping, but such events are rare (and unpredictable).
a small wooden building with two doors
Restrooms at Teklanika
people sitting by an outdoor fire near an RV, in a sparse forest
Campers at Teklanika
Wonder Lake Campground is closed through 2024. Wonder Lake Campground is at mile 85 on the Denali Park Road. It offers 28 tent-only sites. It is the closest campground to Denali. Though separated by nearly 26 miles, the sheer size of the mountain makes it loom impressively over Wonder Lake Campground. Cloudy skies can obscure views, and mosquitoes can be fierce, but Wonder Lake on a clear day offers views that will last a lifetime. Bear-proof food lockers are available throughout the campground.
This is a one-time reservation fee. It applies whether you stay one night or fourteen (or a number in between) at this campground. Park passes do not waive this fee, as it is charged by our concessionaire.
This is the cost, per night, to stay at Wonder Lake Campground. Please note that your total cost for the campground is $6 (the one-time reservation fee) + the total nightly cost of your stay. Up to four people may use a single site.
Sitting on a Dock in the Lake
a young woman sitting on a dock sticking out into a lake
Wonder Lake is too chilly for most swimmers, but can make for a very scenic spot.
a tent in a brushy forest with a vast snowy mountain in the distance
The scenery around Wonder Lake Campground features a spectacular view of Denali, when skies are clear
Beware of Mosquitoes
a man sitting on a rock in a lake wearing long pants, a jacket and a head net
Head nets are critical for Wonder Lake from early June through early September.
people sitting at a picnic table in a sheltered area
Wonder Lake Campground has a sheltered area for campers to eat out of the rain.
a white colored sheep standing on a mountainside overlooking a green valley
Congress originally created Denali National Park (called Mount McKinley National Park, at the time) to protect wildlife, particularly Dall sheep
Denali and Reflection Pond
snowy mountains reflected in a pond
Denali is the highest mountain in North America
A huge snowy mountain looming over a landscape of forests and water
The view of Denali from the south, in Talkeetna, Alaska
View from Stony Overlook
a vast white mountain looming over a brown landscape
Many bus trips into Denali pause at Stony Overlook, which features a great view of Denali when skies are clear
a man standing next to a green bus
Transit buses are a primary way for visitors to sightsee in Denali during summer
light turns a snowy mountain shades of pink and purple
Alpenglow on North America's tallest peak, Denali
a park ranger leading hikers up a steep mountainside
Visitors following a ranger on a Discovery Hike, an off-trail adventure
three brown bears walking along a dirt road
Grizzlies walking on the park's sole road
a bus on a gravel road behind a large caribou that is trotting on the road
A tour bus pauses to view a caribou as it walks on the Denali Park Road
Sled Dog Demonstration
a large seated crowd faces a park ranger and a small group of sled dogs
A crowd takes in a sled dog demonstration in the Denali Park Kennels
Paula followed the allure of gold to Alaska, arriving in the Kantishna district to mine in 1918. She and her husband found some success through mining, and chose to settle at the north end of Wonder Lake, in what today is part of Denali National Park.
woman posing with a rifle near animal pelts and caribou antlers
2010 NPS Environmental Achievement Awards
Recipients of the 2010 NPS Environmental Achievement Awards
2009 NPS Environmental Achievement Awards
Recipients of the 2009 Environmental Achievement Awards
Snowshoe hares live in the boreal forests of North America and are active year-round. They gain their curious name from their very large hind feet form a snowshoe, supporting their weight on the surface of the snow. Hares greatly influence the world around them, including the vegetation, predators, and other herbivores and omnivores that live in the same habitats.
a white colored hare under a shrub in snow
Scavenging and Landscape Use of Mesocarnivores in Denali
Phase 2 of a multi-year study looking at the relationships between apex predators (specifically, wolves) and mid-size predators, such as lynx, coyotes, and foxes.
a coyote weaves through brush
Blackpoll Warbler Migration
Read the abstract and link to a recent published paper on Blackpoll Warbler migration: DeLuca, W. V., B. K. Woodworth, S. A. Mackenzie, A. E. M. Newman, H. A. Cooke, L. M. Phillips, N. E. Freeman, A. O. Sutton, L. Tauzer, C. McIntyre, I. J. Stenhouse, S. Weidensaul, P. D. Taylor, and D. R. Norris. 2019. A boreal songbird’s 20,000 km migration across North America and the Atlantic Ocean. Ecology 00(00):e02651. 10.1002/ecy.2651
A Blackpoll Warbler
Summer movements of female Golden Eagle 1502 at the northwestern edge of North America.
Wrangell St. Elias NPP to Bering Land Bridge NP: summer movements of Golden Eagle 1502. Satellite telemetry is expanding our understanding of Golden Ecology and revealing the stories of non-territorial Golden Eagles in Alaska during the breeding season.
USFWS Biologist Stephen Lewis holds Golden Eagle 1502 while extending her right wing.
Denali ignites first burn pile of the season
Things are heating up in Denali National Park and Preserve as last year's fuels treatment burn pile ignites.
A large brush and limb burn pile sits under a blanket of snow.
The American peregrine falcon is one of the best known raptors in North America. For years, American peregrine populations declined due to problems with egg-shell thinning caused by persistent organic pollutants such as DDT. The American peregrine is one of three peregrine species found throughout North America, from northern Mexico all the way to Alaska.
brown and tan bird perched on a rock
World War II Recreation Camps at Denali
Though not yet a state, the Alaska Territory served as both America’s home front and front line during World War II. While the Aleutian Islands became a battleground, war-weary soldiers took refuge in the breathtaking landscape beneath America’s tallest mountain.
a person skiing, large mountain, and words
WWII Cold Weather Training in Denali
Though not yet a state, the Alaska Territory served as both America’s home front and front line during World War II. While the Aleutian Islands became a battleground, war-weary soldiers took refuge in the breathtaking landscape beneath America’s tallest mountain. At Denali National Park, then known as Mt. McKinley National Park, the mountainous terrain also provided the ideal place to test soldiers and equipment against the elements.
Abandoned Mine Lands in Alaska National Parks—An Overview
From the thousands of mining claims that existed at when Congress created most national parks in Alaska, around 750 still remain. These are mainly abandoned sites and features, in various stages of disrepair and failure. Since 1981, the NPS has worked to quantify the number and type of hazards posed by these sites and has pursued a variety of solutions to mitigate the issues, such as visitor safety hazards, presented by relic mining features.
dilapidated wood building in a mountainous setting
The study of subsistence resources in parks has been a mix of long-term work and projects instigated by issues facing the Federal Subsistence Board.
Winter hunting is an important subsistence activity in many Alaska communities and park areas.
Bull River Prehistoric Upland Hunting Site
Science Summary (2011) - Artifacts suggest prehistoric humans hunted throughout upland areas of Denali over 12,000 years ago. Finds like these help researchers test hypotheses about how humans colonized the Americas.
people kneeling on a tree-less ridge top
Despite the name, red foxes come in a variety of colors. They're found throughout the United States and are not uncommon sightings in many national parks.
two red foxes
A Plane Crashes in WWII-era Denali
On September 18, 1944, an Army C-47 left Anchorage for Fairbanks with a civilian pilot from Northwest Airlines, and 18 servicemen on board. The aircraft struck a mountain (now named Mt. Deception) 16 miles east of Mt. McKinley (Denali). Park and concession staff ventured on a dangerous mission to seek reach the wreckage in the hard backcountry of Denali.
crashed silver plane in show with men around it
Historic and Contemporary Ethnographic Landscapes of Denali National Park
The land in and around Denali comprises part of the aboriginal homeland of five Northern Athabascan groups—Dena’ina, Koyukon, Lower Tanana, Upper Kuskokwim, and Western Ahtna. The affiliation of five Alaska Native groups with one national park is unique and illustrates the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the Denali area.
black and white image of ten adults and two kids near wooden buildings
My Wilderness: Gene Harmon
Gene Harmon describes a close-up view of a moose-bear encounter in his essay for "Your Wilderness Stories."
vast snowy mountain dominating a hilly landscape
2015 Recipients: George and Helen Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service
Six people and programs received the 2015 Harzog Award for their exceptional volunteer service. Check out their amazing contributions!
Young volunteer giving a thumbs up sign
Science in Wilderness Marine Reserves
ANILCA establishes the largest scientific laboratory...ever!
A spawning salmon struggles to get back into the water.
Mining in the Parks
Resource protection goals, resource data, the study areas and other decisions made in the environmental impact state-ment process held up under public scrutiny and federal appeals court review, and became an integral part of evaluating new mining plans of operations in parks.
A semi-truck hauling two trailers filled with ore on a gravel road.
Monitoring Denali's Air Quality and other Contaminants
Annual Research Update (2015) - While Denali has some of the cleanest air measured in the United States, small amounts of industrial and agricultural contaminants from other continents make their way into the park each year in a recurring seasonal pattern. Learn more about how Denali monitors air quality and other contaminants.
clouds sweep over mountains
2016 Science Education Grant Recipients
The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) funds numerous outreach projects through the Science Education Grant program. These grants help MSLC partner parks pay for science education outreach projects. Funding for the Science Education grant program is provided by Alaska Geographic. Read about the 2016 Science Education Grant recipients and their outreach projects.
a photographer takes a picture in the grass while the sun sets
When and Where are White Spruce Cloning Themselves?
Read the abstract and link to an article recently published in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research: Wuerth, D. G., P. Eusemann, M. Trouillier, A. Burras, A.s Burger, M. Wilmking, C. A. Roland, G. P. Juday, M. Schnittler. 2018. Environment drives spatio-temporal patterns of clonality in white spruce (Picea glauca) in Alaska. Canadian Journal of Forest Research https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2018-0234
Whate spruce border a stormy sky.
Vegetation Change over the Past Century
Read the abstract and link to the recently published article in Ecology about vegetation changes in Denali National Park and Preserve. Brodie, J. F., C. A. Roland, S. E. Stehn, and E. Smirnova. 2019. Variability in the expansion of trees and shrubs in boreal Alaska. Ecology 00(00):e02660.
a photo pair showing vegetation changes in Denali from 1960-2016
Summer Temperature Patterns
Read the abstract and link to the recent article published in the Journal of Climatology: Sadoti, G., S. A. McAfee, C. A. Roland, E. F. Nicklen, and P. J. Sousanes. 2018. Modelling high-latitude summer temperature patterns using physiographic variables. Journal of Climatology.
A weather station in a high-latitude, high-elevation location.
DenaliFlora–An Electronic Field Guide for Your Mobile Device
Annual Research Updates (2016) - While hiking through six million acres of Alaska's pristine wilderness, it is likely that you may come across a plant or two that you don't know. Learn what it is using Denali's new plant identification app.
a man kneels down to examine a small pink flower
National Park Service Visitor and Resource Protection Staff Focuses on Week of Leadership
Staff from all levels of the National Park Service in law enforcement, United States Park Police, as well as fire and aviation spent a week learning leadership lessons from one another as well as from a diverse group of leaders during the last week of September 2019.
A group of women and men on a rocky outcrop in high desert.
June: A Month of Milestones
The times are a changin’, and there’s no better time to honor those moments of change than in June. Over the course of America’s history, the month of June is filled with cultural changes, and some seasonal ones too. So just before the season changes and summer begins, take some time to visit these parks that commemorate extraordinary moments.
Painting of suffragist on a horse
Disaster and Scandal: the 1939 Superintendent’s Residence Fire
On the morning of October 23rd, 1939, the Superintendent’s Residence caught on fire and was destroyed. Not long after the flames expired, criminal accusations of arson, insurance fraud, and narcotics possession were leveled against Lorraine Been by the park clerk’s wife. The Department of the Interior opened an investigation.
a two-story log cabin on fire in a snowy forest
Started from the Bottom: A Mission from Death Valley to Denali on Horseback
In 1958, Stanley Upton of Riverside, California hatched an ambitious plan. He was determined to trek from the lowest point in North America, in Death Valley, to the highest point on Denali’s summit.
Assessing the Risk of Denali's Forests to Spruce Beetle Outbreak
Will spruce beetles, an insect native to Alaska, cause widespread spruce die-back in Denali's boreal forest, or will they remain primarily south of the Alaska Range?
closeup of spruce needles
Monitoring Dall Sheep in Denali
Science Summary (2018) - In Denali National Park and Preserve, both ground and aerial surveys are used to monitor Dall sheep population. The results of these surveys inform wildlife management decisions and ensure future park visitors can enjoy observing these incredible mammals.
A Dall sheep ewe stands on a hillside
In Celebration of ANILCA
Former President, Jimmy Carter, offers a sentimental introduction to the 25th Anniversary Edition of Alaska Park Science and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).
Black and white photo of six white men standing in front of an old National Park Service Building.
2010 Freeman Tilden Award Recipients
Seven rangers were awarded with a national or regional 2010 Freeman Tilden Award for excellence in interpretation. Learn more about their exciting and innovative projects.
Portrait of John Kirkpatrick
Morale, Welfare and Recreation in WWII National Parks
Wartime NPS Director Newton Drury wrote 'In wartime, the best function of these areas is to prove a place to which members of the armed forces and civilians may retire to restore shattered nerves and to recuperate physically and mentally for the war tasks still ahead of them.' During World War II, parks across the United States supported the morale of troops and sought to become places of healing for those returning from war.
B&W; soldiers post in front of large tree
Denali Encourages Young Alaska Artists
Each summer, Denali's Artist-in-Residence program awards scholarships to two talented Alaska artists -- one each from art programs at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks -- to participate in a three-day landscape painting field course in the park hosted by Alaska Geographic. The instructor is David Mollett, an accomplished painter and a 2003 AiR-program alumnus.
Woman standing in front of painting
The Day I Hiked Up Stony
After a 2011 residency in Denali, writer Carolyn Kremers conjures the excitement - and fear - that comes from hiking off-trail up a mountain in grizzly country in "The Day I Hiked Up Stony,"
grizzly bear wandering through a field
A History of Science in Alaska's National Parks
National park units in Alaska precede the establishment of the National Park Service in 1916. The first park unit, Sitka National Monument, was conceived in 1908, and by the mid-1920s four national monuments along with Alaska’s first national park were part of the growing park system. Discover how the early 1900s and observations of a few helped to establish the National Park Service in Alaska.
Black and white photo of Arno Cammerer sitting at his desk looking through papers.
Old is Getting Older
In the last 25 years, persistent archaeological survey and improved scientific techniques have resulted in new data which confirms that Alaska sites are actually much earlier than we once believed.
NPS archaeologist works at Amakomanak site in Noatak National Preserve.
Composting Human Waste from Denali with Worms
Science Summary (2014) - If a bear poops in the woods, then where do mountaineers poop? Not all human waste can be left on Denali. Luckily, some creative thinkers came up with an innovated way to dispose of this waste.
a mountaineer climbs up a snowy hill carrying a clean mountain can
Medical Research Climbs Denali
Four short case studies of medical research at the rooftop of North America -- high on the slopes of Denali.
view of tents and people on a glacier, surrounded by steep mountains
Mining Legacy in National Parks of Alaska
Mining is intrinsically tied to the history of Alaska as a territory and then state of the United States. Thousands of historic and active mining sites exist within national parks across Alaska - some with a rich cultural history and others with disturbed lands and hazardous conditions.
gold dust in a pan
NPS Alaska Planning and Designs for the Future with Climate Change
Alaska’s national parks face new and unexpected planning, design, and maintenance challenges as we enter a new era of climate change. It behooves the NPS to pay attention to these changes and plan and act accordingly
cars driving on a road covered in water
Preservation of Cultural Resources in an "Untouched Wilderness"
Science Summary (2011) - Denali maintains a strong commitment to preserve and interpret not only the expansive natural resources of the park, but also a rich collection of historic and prehistoric sites that provide a record of over 10,000 years of human settlement and activity in an area frequently considered today as an “untouched wilderness."
historic black and white image of a log cabin in a forest
Composing in the Wilderness
In 2012 nine composers from around the globe spent several days at a Denali field camp with Stephen Lias and researcher Davyd Betchykal learning about the soundscapes of Denali. The compositions premiered at the Davis Concert Hall in Fairbanks, Alaska and performed by the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival orchestra.
pink flowers in the foreground of a scenic photo of rivers and mountains
Subsistence in Denali
Science Summary (2010) - For many rural residents including rural non-Natives utilizing natural resources in and near Denali National Park and Preserve, subsistence ensures more than survival. It sustains a way of life.
a man pulls in a fishing net while a boy watches
No Structures Too Far for NPS Wildland Firefighters
The NPS manages approximately 52.5 million acres in Alaska across 24 different NPS units. While much of the NPS land in Alaska is remote and unpopulated, there are nearly 4,000 individual structures spread throughout the parks and preserves in Alaska. Of that total, 2,756 are NPS structures. These structures can range from large groups of road-accessible buildings in headquarters areas to remote backcountry cabins accessible only by aircraft, but that doesn't stop NPS WLF!
Two firefighters in bright yellow shirts and blue hardhats survey a tiny cabin amidst tall trees.
Howard Luke: Cultural Ambassador
A remembrance of Howard Luke, Athabascan elder and an important community member of Interior Alaska. Howard Luke passed away in 2019, in his late 90's.
an alaska native elder
Fannie Quigley—Not Just Blueberries and Bluster
While most who visit and live in Alaska know of Fannie as the legendary pioneer who arrived in the Kantishna Hills during the 1905-06 gold rush, there is another side to Fannie’s extraordinary life that is not as well known—notably, her contributions to science and the local community.
a woman holding rhubarb
NASA astronauts have quite literally an out-of-this-world view of national parks and take some pretty stellar pictures to share. Travel along with the space station on its journey west to east getting the extreme bird’s eye view of national parks across the country. And one more down-to-earth.
View of Denali National Park & Preserve from space
Black-capped chickadees and boreal chickadees are tiny but tough songbirds that are year-round residents in many parts of Alaska.
Ice Patch Archeology
Science Summary (2011) - What can archaeologists discover from patches of perennial snow and ice high in the Alaska Range?
patch of snow on a mountain top
Methods to Estimate Golden Eagle Populations
Read the abstract and link to a recently published article on measuring Golden Eagle populations: Mizel, J. D.,C.L. McIntyre, S.B. Lewis, M.S. Lindberg, and J.H. Schmidt. 2018. A multi‐state, time‐removal model for population dynamics of cliff‐nesting raptors. Journal of Wildlife Management 82:1701-1710.
Statewide Movements of Non-territorial Golden Eagles in Alaska During the Breeding Season: Information for Developing Effective Conservation Plans
Telemetry studies provide new information on the movements of non-territorial (migrating) Golden Eagles in Alaska during the breeding season, expanding our understanding of the ecology of this species. This information should be useful for developing effective management and conservation. Alaska Park Science 17(1), 2018.
A Golden Eagle soaring.
Monitoring Migratory Golden Eagles
Read the abstract and get the link to an article published in the Journal of Raptor Research: McIntyre, C. and S. B. Lewis. 2016. Observations of migrating Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in eastern interior Alaska offer insights on population size and migration monitoring. Journal of Raptor Research 50(3): 254-264.
A Golden Eagle flies along a mountain ridge.
Fire Ecology Annual Report 2016 - Monitoring and Inventory
Monitoring and inventories are utilized by the fire ecology program to provide feedback to the NPS fire management program on activities such as fuels treatments and to continue to gain a better understanding of the effects of wildfire on the landscape.
Trees were thinned and limbed to o provide a fuel break in the event of a wildfire.
Fire Ecology Annual Report 2016 - Research and Technology
The AKR fire ecology program coordinates research and facilitates the use of scientific data, modeling and technology to address the needs of the fire management program. Read on to learn more about the three fire research proposals submitted to NPS in 2016.
Researchers from University of Montana collect tree cores from Wrangell-St. Elias.
Fire Ecology Annual Report 2016 - References
A list of reports, presentations and other forms of communication completed in 2016 for the Fire Ecology Annual Report.
Making of "East Fork Wolf" Painting
Alaska painter Gail Niebrugge takes readers on a step-by-step journey of creating, and revising, a piece she donated to Denali's Artist-in-Residence Program.
Painting of a wolf walking on a gravel along a braided river
Gold mining in the American West at the turn of the 20th century will forever be remembered for its sudden and feverish stampedes. In the 1890s, after thousands rushed to Canada’s Klondike goldfields, many miners headed west to try their luck in Alaska. Stampeding became a way of life for many frontier adventurers, and when Alaska’s boomtowns became too crowded or the pay-dirt too scarce, these wanderers followed rumors of gold into Denali's Kantishna region.
Land Ownership in National Park System Units in Alaska and Possibilities for Mining and Other Developments
There are over 54 million acres of National Park System units in Alaska, which is 65 percent of the entire National Park System. Although most of those lands are in federal ownership and are managed by the NPS, there are over two million acres of non-federally owned lands within those units. These non-federal lands are in private, state, borough, or municipal ownership. The existence of these lands creates the possibility of mining and other developments within the boundaries
rustic buildings near a creek, hills and mountains in the distance
Landsat 8 Helps Map Fires during Long, Busy Alaska Fire Season
The Castle Rocks fire occurred about 100 miles west of Denali park headquarters and 160 miles southwest of Fairbanks. NPS and BLM fire managers conducted visual reconnaissance flights to observe fire behavior and generate maps of the fire’s extent. Fire managers also used the Landsat 8 satellite to safely generate accurate fire perimeter maps for the Castle Rocks fire in a timely and cost-effective manner. Alaska fire managers are glad to have Landsat 8 in their toolkit.
A screenshot of a webpage showing satellite imagery and land detail at top
Teklanika West: A Late Pleistocene Archaeological Site
Learn about a millennia-old archeology site overlooking Denali's Teklanika River.
shallow river flowing across a gravel plain
Monitoring Off-Road Vehicle Use in a Subsistence Hunting Area
Annual Research Updates (2016) - How does off-road vehicle use impact areas that are beyond the extent of already established trails?
a researcher collects data about off-road vehicle trails
Reynold Jackson Awarded Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Aviation Safety
For over 25 years Renny has been involved with the Service’s short-haul program used for search and rescue (SAR). His expertise and leadership has made Renny Jackson synonymous with short-haul both nationally and internationally. For his commitment to aviation safety and his life-time of devoted service, Renny Jackson is presented the Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Aviation Safety.
A smiling group of men and women stand behind a sign and in front of a ranger station.
Wolf Monitoring 1986-2016
Science Summary (2017) - Following collared wolves has provided researchers with the opportunity to discover what the life of a wolf looks like. From eating habits to where they den, the almost 20 years of monitoring the park wolves has provided a practically complete picture of these wild creatures.
a wolf stands shoulder deep in grass
Traleika Glacier is Surging Again After 60 years. Is the Muldrow Glacier Next?
Science Summary (2016) - The Muldrow Glacier cascades down a northern slope of Denali in view of visitors to Wonder Lake. While high in the mountains hides the Traleika Glacier, a tributary of the Muldrow. Discover more about these iconic glaciers and their unique surging behaviors.
the grass-covered muldrow glacier flows in front of Denali
Understanding and Managing Denali's Soundscapes
Science Summary (2012) - Just as the protection of “landscapes” is a key component of the National Park Service (NPS) mission, the protection of “soundscapes” and quiet has become an integral part of protecting park resources and experiences for visitors. Find out how Denali is doing just that!
a researcher holds up a weather device and a microphone
Bear Management and Research
Science Summary (2014) - Park managers rely on information collected in research studies to learn about bear populations and behavior, and to help bears and people co-exist safely without conflict in the park.
a grizzly bear stands in the grass
Carto online map portal
The National Park Service, Harpers Ferry Center, is please to announce a new version of the Carto online map portal offering over 1,000 NPS maps free of charge.
Remembering the Three Cs of C Camp: The Legacy of the CCC in Denali
A short history of Denali's seasonal housing, "C Camp." Built by the CCC during the 1930s, it is emblematic of that program, which brought workers to improve infrastructure in America’s national parks.
aerial view of a tent camp near a creek
Alaska's Golden Spike
Alaska's own "Golden Spike" moment signaled a turning point in the ability of the public to easily visit Mount McKinley National Park (which was the name of Denali National Park and Preserve at the time).
man hammering a ceremonial spike on a railroad, surrounded by people
John Rumohr and His Very Good Boy Tige: Denali Legends
A story of World War I veteran and park ranger John Rumohr being saved by his beloved sled dog Tige during a winter patrol in Mount McKinely National Park (now known as Denali National Park & Preserve).
a man and sled dog sitting on a dog house, in a snowy landscape
Fire Ecology Annual Report 2018 Fire Season
Despite the relatively quiet fire season in Alaska in 2018, the National Park Service saw 24 wildfires spanning over 36,000 acres burning within and adjacent to park boundaries. Six of those fires were in Cape Krusenstern National Monument.
An anvil-shaped smoke plume rises above the tree line on the Yukon River.
Maintaining the Character of the Denali Park Road Beyond Mile 15
Science Summary (2017) - The Denali Park Road facilitates a unique wilderness experience for visitors. But this 92 mile road crosses through difficult terrain and extreme weather, and needs a hardy, remarkable group of individuals to maintain it.
A bus winds around a mountainous dirt road
How Values Shape People's Behavior in Parks
How do people behave in national parks is influenced by their environmental values. Read an abstract and get the link to the recently published article: van Riper, C., S. Winkler-Schor, L. Foelske, R. Keller, M. Braito, C. Raymond, M. Eriksson, E. Golebie, and D. Johnson. 2019. Integrating multi-level values and pro-environmental behavior in a U.S. protected area. Sustainability Science p1-14.
visitors at the visitor center counter
Building PIO capacity in Alaska
National Park Service Public Information Officers were in short supply last fire season. To help bolster the numbers, NPS Alaska recruits 12 new staff members to assist with all hazard and wildfire incidents.
A fire public information officer highlights updates on a fire to members of the public.
The Mystery of Ansel Adams’ Denali Photo
An answer to the mystery of just when Ansel Adams took this iconic photograph of North America's tallest peak! (<b>Denali and Wonder Lake</b>, Denali National Park, Alaska, 1947, 1948. Photograph by Ansel Adams Collection Center for Creative Photography © 2016 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust)
huge snowy mountain overlooking a calm lake
The Original Pipeline Controversy: Morino versus Karstens
If you thought pipeline disputes were just a modern issue affecting land management agencies, you would be mistaken. In 1923, Mount McKinley National Park Superintendent Harry Karstens grappled with a pipeline controversy in just the third year of the park’s administration.
a shallow creek flowing through a forest
Johnnie Busia: “Mayor of Kantishna”
Although many miners came and went, Johnnie and Fannie Quigley became the only two who stayed year-round. He mined, trapped, and hunted to survive but became locally famous because of his hospitality, character, and ability to endure in remote Alaska.
man and sled dogs
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: So Many Sheldons
Perhaps the most famous surname in Denali's modern history!
a man standing by a bus
Moose Rutting in Denali
Visiting the park in late August or September? During autumn, moose become social and their lives change dramatically as the season for mating—also known as rutting—unfolds. Behaviors merge that have been dormant for the past year as moose engage in rituals related solely to reproduction. What kinds of moose rut behaviors have you spotted before?
A bull moose stands in the brush
Park Air Profiles - Denali National Park & Preserve
Air quality profile for Denali National Park & Preserve. Gives park-specific information about air quality and air pollution impacts for Denali NP & Pres as well as the studies and monitoring conducted for Denali NP & Pres.
Grizzly bear among fall colors in Denali NP & Pres
Avian Soundscape Ecology in Denali National Park
It may surprise you to find the National Park Service recognizes and protects these songs as part of the entirety of the natural acoustic environment. An understanding of how the entire acoustic environment affects an observer’s ability to quantify diversity is an important consideration of any auditory-based wildlife survey.
a boreal chickadee
An Integrated Study of Park Road Capacity
In 1986, Denali National Park and Preserve established a limit of 10,512 vehicle trips on the park road during the core summer season. With visitation increasing, the park has been pressured to defend or change this limit. In 2006, Denali managers initiated a scientific study to better understand the impacts of traffic volume and traffic patterns on the park’s physical, biological, and social environment.
a green bus travels down a dirt road leaving clouds of dust in its path
NPS Alaska Region Fire Ecology Annual Report Summary
During the 2016 field season, the Alaska NPS fire ecology program conducted monitoring at the Wrangell-St. Elias McCarthy University Subdivision fuels reduction site, re-measured plots that have burned multiple times in Denali, and assisted with fire research projects at both sites.
Two fire ecologists in bright, lime-yellow rain suits, monitor the impacts of multiple fires.
Moisture Matters: Fuel Moisture Sampling for Fire Danger and Fire Behavior Predictions
Fire managers in Denali sample the moisture of moss and other vegetation ("fuels") to estimate future fire behavior. Data suggest how fast a fire might spread and whether a crown fire might occur. All fuel moisture data are also made available to other fire-fighting agencies throughout Alaska through the National Fuel Moisture Database.
man with a notebook by an open field
2011 Freeman Tilden Award Recipients
Discover the innovative and exciting programs of the recipients of the national and regional 2011 Freeman Tilden Awards for excellence in interpretation.
Denny Capps - Park Geologist
Denny Capps is a park geologist in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
Denny Capps standing on a landslide in Denali National Park.
Aurora Borealis: A Brief Overview
A brief overview of how Northern Lights occur.
two ribbons of greenish light in a dark blue sky, over a very dark forest
Going for the Gold in Kantishna
In 1903, when Judge James Wickersham attempted the first climb of Mount McKinley, the American public knew little about the region. Although unsuccessful in his expedition, he found a little gold along the way and staked four claims. Alaska, having experienced both major and minor gold rushes for the previous twenty years, was primed for another rush. By 1904, prospectors flocked to the region.
black and white image of three men standing near a hydraulic pipe spewing water into a creek
Discovery of Dinosaur Tracks in Denali
Science Summary (2013) - Since the first discovery in 2005, paleontologists continue to find fossilized dinosaur tracks and other evidence of life in Denali 70 million years ago.
three-toed fossilized footprint and tape measure
Paleoecology of Denali's Dinosaurs
Science summary (2011) - What kinds of dinosaurs used to roam the earth in Denali? After the initial discovery of a fossil theropod track in 2005, the field of paleontology in the park was forever changed. Learn about more of the fascinating discoveries scientists have made within the park.
Man searches for dinosaur tracks in a rock outcrop
Visitor Spending and the Local Economy
Are National Parks good or bad for the local economy? Read about how much Denali National Park visitors spend in the local area.
Store fronts near Denali National Park
Where is all that smoke coming from?
Where there is fire, there is smoke—fire is a natural part of Alaska. Learn how smoke travels and why it is so difficult to manage.
the sun seen through a smoky sky
Denali's Museum Collection
Annual Research Update (2016) - Denali's museum collection hold a variety of intriguing items ranging from mountaineering equipment from the first ascent of Denali to the pen that President Woodrow Wilson used to sign the park into existence. Learn more about the items in the collection.
a photographer takes a picture of a dinosaur track in a case
World War II Plane Crashes in National Parks
During WWII, more than 7,100 air crashes involved US Army Air Force (USAAF) aircraft occurred on American soil. Collectively these crashes resulted in the loss of more than 15,599 lives (Mireles 2006). Many of these military aircraft accidents occurred in remote, often mountainous, areas managed by the National Park Service.
plane crash at base of grassy hill
Practice Safe Bear Spray Use
Proper behavior in bear country and understanding bear behavior can help to avoid dangerous situations for people and bears. Bear spray should be used as a last line of defense when dealing with bears- not immediately upon seeing one. This introduction will help cover bear behaviors as well as safe use of bear pepper spray.
A black bear stands on a wooden bench.
Hunting and Subsistence Use of Dall Sheep
Learn about the two ways humans harvest sheep - for subsistence use and in sport hunting.
a male sheep
Small Mammals as Indicators of Climate, Biodiversity, and Ecosystem Change
This is a time of rapid environmental changes in Alaska. Species that have evolved within tundra habitats over multiple glacial cycles are not only best adapted to high-latitude and high-elevation environments, but may also respond more slowly to change. Studies of small mammal communities could provide valuable insights to larger ecosystem changes.
two marmots perched atop a large boulder
2013 Microgrant Recipients
The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) funds numerous outreach projects through the Microgrant program. These grants help MSLC partner parks pay for science education outreach projects. Funding for the Microgrant program is provided by Alaska Geographic. Read about the 2013 Microgrant recipients and their outreach projects.
A Ranger stands with two junior rangers
2014 Microgrant Recipients
The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) funds numerous outreach projects through the Microgrant program. These grants help MSLC partner parks pay for science education outreach projects. Funding for the Microgrant program is provided by Alaska Geographic. Read about the 2014 Microgrant recipients and their outreach projects.
Two students kneel in grassy field taking notes while looking at pink flagged marked locations
A Bear, Bacon, and a Dramatic Rescue 120 Years Ago
The story of an army lieutenant saved by Telida Village over 100 years ago in interior Alaska.
two alaska native men standing side-by-side
Early Communication in Mt. McKinley National Park
A story of Denali's early effort at making communication possible along the park's sole road.
tripod-shaped telephone poles in a tree-less meadow
Wolverine. The name alone stirs up visions of northern wilderness. Wolverines belong to the mustelidae family along with weasels, mink, marten, and otters. The family mustelidae makes up most of the order Carnivora (carnivores).
a wolverine on a snow-covered river digging at something partially buried
2013 Debris Slide Across Denali Park Road
Science Summary (2014) - Many areas in Denali are prone to debris slides because they contain steep slopes and frozen sediment or soil layers that can thaw. Sometimes movements are gradual (months or years) and sometimes massive blocks of material can detach and fall from a hillside quickly (minutes or seconds). Thanks to past and ongoing science and engineering efforts to ensure the safety of visitors and staff, relatively few events like a major 2013 slide have occurred.
aerial view of a snowy hillside partially collapsed across a snowy road
Measuring Earth Movements from the Denali Fault
Science Summary (2012) - On November 3, 2002, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake ruptured the Denali Fault in the rugged Alaska Range...the largest ever recorded in the interior of Alaska. What happened afterwards and what will happen next?
Temporary GPS unit in front of Wonder Lake and Denali.
Paleoseismic Study of the Hines Creek Fault
Science Summary (2014) - Prehistoric earthquakes left a mark on the world. Now geologist can evaluate the probability and severity of future earthquakes by examining those marks.
researcher points to colored flagging on the wall of a trench
Earthquake Monitoring in Denali
Science Summary (2012) - With more than 20,000 earthquakes reported annually, Alaska is by far the most seismically active state. Is Denali National Park and Preserve due for a big earthquake soon?
a map that shows earthquakes in Denali from 2007 to 2011
Nine Point Two: Denali and the 1964 Earthquake
A 2018 earthquake brought back memories of the historically devastating 1964 earthquake that rocked Alaska.
damaged buildings and streets
Sled Dogs and Science
Sled dogs provide a perfect tool for researchers accessing wilderness areas during winter months. This approach helps to minimize use of helicopters and is more aesthetically compatible with the philosophy of wilderness than motorized vehicles.
a team of sled dogs in front of a sled where a person is removing equipment
Science Summary (2013) - Repeat surveys alert us to any changes in the abundance, distribution, or seasonality of songbirds birds that nest in Denali.
small gray bird
The Mystery of Mount Margaret
The origin of the name "Mount Margaret," which is located in Denali National Park, has long been a mystery. Some have long assumed the mountain was named for the most famous Margaret (arguably) in Alaska’s past: Margaret “Mardy” Murie. Research suggests the answer is not so simple.
a woman sitting atop a mountain with a dog
The Green Book and Alaska
Though remote, Alaskan locations merited inclusion in the Green Book, a travel guide published by and for African Americans who wanted to travel in a time of institutionalized racial discrimination (known as the Jim Crow era).
a nondescript two story building
2019 Science Education Grants
The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) funds numerous outreach projects through the Science Education Grant program. These grants help MSLC partner parks pay for science education outreach projects. Funding for the Science Education grant program is provided by Alaska Geographic. Read about the 2019 Science Education Grant recipients and their outreach projects.
a park ranger and kids standing in shallow lake water
The Ultimate Triumph and Tragedy: Remembering Walter Harper 100 Years Later
In October, 1918, in a tragedy sometimes referred to as “The Unknown Titanic of the West Coast,” the <i>Princess Sophia</i> sank en route from Skagway to Vancouver. All 350-plus people on board perished, including one of the most significant figures in Denali history.
Caribou Preferred Habitat
Read the abstract and get the link to an article on caribou winter habitat in Denali, published in Ecological Infomatics: Nelson, P. R., K. Joly, C. A. Roland, and B. McCune. 2018. Evaluating relocation extent versus covariate resolution in habitat selection models across spatiotemporal scales. Ecological Infomatics DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoinf.2018.10.001
Caribou grazing in light snow cover.
Ground Squirrels and the Greening Arctic
Read the abstract and link to this article published in Oecologia: Wheeler, H.C., J. D. Chipperfield, C. Roland, and J. C. Svenning. 2015. How will the greening of the Arctic affect a common ecosystem engineer? Vegetation effects on burrowing networks and activity of arctic ground squirrels. Oecologia 178(3):915-929.
An arctic ground squirrel in the tundra.
NETN Species Spotlight - Sharp-shinned Hawk
About the size of a Blue-Jay, Sharp-shinned Hawks are aerial acrobats and are the smallest of three North American agile hawks known as the accipiters (ah-sip-it-ers). Learn more about this amazing and oft misunderstood hawk.
Sharp-shinned Hawk perched on a branch
Bat Projects in Parks: Alaska Region Parks
Bats in Alaska? Find out!
A scenic view of Alaska, mountains in the distance and a grizzly in front of a lake in the front.
The Art of Watching
During a 2013 residency at Denali, nature writer Kathleen Dean Moore thought and wrote about change, both natural and man-made.
mountains partly shrouded in clouds
Linda Schandelmeier's seven poems collected in "Denali Poems" reflect her experiences during a 2012 residency at Denali.
a white colored ram standing on a rocky mountainside
There are a combination of characteristics to look for that can help you identify between black and brown bears. Knowing the difference between the two can help you make safe choices in bear country.
Brown bear walking down a beach
Protecting Wildlife and Visitor Experience Along the Denali Park Road
Science Summary (2017) - The Denali park road presents park managers with a complicated web of intersecting ambitions. To some they might see a solitary dirt road winding through the wilderness but to park managers they have to consider much more including visitor expectations, protecting wildlife populations in an unaltered natural ecosystem, and how the park road may affect wildlife viewability.
a grizzly bear looks down at a green bus from a rocky hillside
Large Mammals in Denali: How Many Are There?
Science Summary (2014) - Check out a yearly update of population estimates for "the Big Five" species of Denali - wolves, caribou, Dall sheep, moose and bears.
six sheet in front of a large glacier and mountains
2015 Denali Discovery Camp Inspires Local Kids to Experience Their National Park
Denali Discovery Camp is a signature summer education program for the Murie Science and Learning Center. The program started originally as an idea from local parents who had a common goal of wanting their children to be able to go explore and learn about Denali National Park. That idea grew into a partnership program between the park and the Denali Education Center that now caters to campers between 6 and 14 years old.
Campers wave and smile while hiking up a mountain
Snowshoe Hare and Willow Ptarmigan Cycles
Annual Research Update (2016) - What do snowshoe hares and ptarmigan have in common? It may seem like they don't share much, but these two prey species have surprisingly similar population cycles.
a group of hares look up from eating
Adolph Murie: Wildlife Biologist, Conservationist
Science Summary (2014) - Adolph Murie has been called "Denali's Wilderness Conscience." His life's work has profoundly shaped wildlife management policies and wilderness conservation in Denali National Park and Preserve.
adolph murie stands in a snowy valley
Physical Hazards Abatement: "Look but Don’t Touch & Stay Out, Stay Alive"
Given the historical significance of many mining areas, explosives management and mine closure efforts have been coordinated closely with cultural and natural resource managers to identify the best approaches for mitigating often extreme hazards and protecting public and employee safety with cultural sensitivity.
A pile of old, abandoned explosives are left on the ground.
Abandoned Mineral Land Restoration Activities in Alaska
The National Park Service has had an ongoing Abandoned Mineral Land restoration program (AML) since the 1990s. Many mined areas remain to be restored and made safe for public use.
Long-Term Golden Eagle Studies
Alaska Park Science (2006) - Thanks to results of a long-term monitoring program for golden eagles ( Aquila chrysaetos), visitors frequently turn their eyes skyward in hopes of seeing one of North America’s largest aerial predators. With an abundance of cliffs and rock outcroppings for nest sites, as well as a diversity of prey, the northern foothills of the towering Alaska Range are well suited for this large aerial predator.
a golden eagle in flight
Ecology of Golden Eagles in Denali
Science Summary (2010) - Early naturalist-scientists in the park, such as Charles Sheldon, Adolph Murie and Joseph Dixon, recognized that golden eagles were an important component of the region’s fauna. Present day researchers continue to observed the natural history of golden eagles in the park.
a golden eagle spreads its wings to fly away
Logan Hovis was a Mining Historian and Blasting Officer for the National Park Service for 27 years, recently retiring in 2012. His role was part of the NPS effort to identify, prioritize, and mitigate potential physical hazards associated with historic mines on Alaska landscapes.
A man in a red helmet stands with one hand on his hip and one hand against a rock face.
Songbird Exposure to Mercury
Read the abstract and get the link to a paper published in Ecotoxicology on mercury contamination in subarctic migratory songbirds: Stenhouse, I.J., E.M. Adams, L.M. Phillips, S. Weidensaul, and C.L. McIntyre. 2019. A preliminary assessment of mercury in the feathers of migratory songbirds breeding in the North American subarctic. Ecotoxicology, DOI 10.1007/s10646-019-02105-2.
A white-crowned sparrow sings.
Public Views: The Backcountry Experience in Denali
Discover what a survey of backpackers in Denali tells us about what people want from a wilderness adventure.
four people hiking near a mountain top
NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska
Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. Links to products from Baseline Geologic and Soil Resources Inventories provide access to maps and reports. [Site Under Development]
mountains and glacier
2003 NPS Environmental Achievement Awards
Recipients of the 2003 Environmental Achievement Awards
Interpreting Denali's Landcover Types with Fabric
Combining art and science, Denali Quilters created a quilt (approximately 3.3 meters square) to interpret Denali National Park and Preserve’s landcover types. The central map is a satellite image of 23 land-cover types (13,600 colored fabric pixels). Twenty-two blocks surround the map, each depicting a close-up view of selected plants and animals found in a cover type. The machine quilting outlines the park’s boundary, highlights drainages and topographic lines, and depicts a
Fire Ecology 2018 Annual Report Summary, Monitoring & Inventory
During the 2018 field season, the NPS Alaska fire ecology program conducted monitoring in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. This article provides a brief summary about the Yukon-Charley Rivers results, research projects, and fire ecology program activities.
Lichens growing toward the sun years after a wildfire.
Tracking Human Waste on Denali
Science Summary (2011) - Poop happens. Between 1951 and 2012, climbers have deposited at least 152,000 lbs (~70 metric tons) of human waste in the Kahiltna Glacier. Discover how scientists measure the amount of waste -- and its downstream effects, like e coli -- and how Denali strives to mitigate the issue.
three people crouched together on a glacier
Back in Time: A Watch and the Story of an Early McKinley Station Resident
In summer of 2017, Denali archaeologists working on a Section 106 compliance survey close to the historic McKinley Park Station site discovered a piece of history: a two-inch pocket watch with the inscription “WM ALLMAN MCPARK ALASKA.” Who was WM ALLMAN?
man kneeling by a creek
National Park Getaway: Denali National Park & Preserve
Most visitors only experience the park during summer, and they are very curious about Denali in winter. They've heard it's cold and that the days are short. While both are true, either experience in Denali will be unforgettable.
Caribou in a grass field
Origins of Soundscape Monitoring in Denali
Soundscapes, the combined sounds from natural and non-natural sources, are recognized as an important resource in national parks. In the year 2000, park managers recognized that the natural soundscape of Denali was increasingly affected by non-natural sounds. Because preserving the natural soundscape also helps preserve the associated wilderness values and visitor experiences, a soundscape program was initiated.
two microphones in a tree-less meadow near steep, snowy mountains
Bottom-Up Ecosystem Drivers
Read the abstracts and get the links to two published papers that discuss ecosystem drivers and tropic relationships. Schmidt, J. H. C. L. McIntyre, C. A. Roland, M. C. MacCluskie, and M. J. Flamme. 2018. Bottom-up processes drive reproductive success in an apex predator. Ecology and Evolution 2018:1-9 and Weather-driven change in primary productivity explains variation in the amplitude of two herbivore population cycles in a boreal system. Oecologia.
A drawing of ecosystem relationships.
Read abstracts and link to two articles about lichens: Stehn, S. E., J. K. Walton, P. R. Nelson, C. J. Hampton-Miller, and C. A. Roland. 2016. A lichen species list for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, with comments on several new and noteworthy records. Evansia 32(4):195- 215; and Nonparametric methods reveal nonlinear functional trait variation of lichens along environmental and fire age gradients. Journal of Vegetation Science 26(5):848-865.
A diverse community of lichens populate the small space of a hollow tree trunk.
How Poplars are Changing with the Climate
Read the abstract and link to an article published in Ecosphere: Roland, C. A., S. E. Stehn, J. Schmidt, and B. Houseman. 2016. Proliferating poplars: the leading edge of landscape change in an Alaskan subalpine chronosequence. Ecosphere 7(7):e01398.
Poplar trees in different phenological stages--just budding (left) and leafed out (right).
Changing Passerine Distributions
Read the abstract and get the link to an article published in Ecosphere: Mizel, J. D., J. H. Schmidt, C. L. Mcintyre, and C. A. Roland. 2016. Rapidly shifting elevational distributions of passerine species parallel vegetation change in the subarctic. Ecosphere 7(3):1-15.
A Savannah Sparrow perched on a shrub.
2018 Science Education Grants
The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) funds numerous outreach projects through the Science Education Grant program. These grants help MSLC partner parks pay for science education outreach projects. Funding for the Science Education grant program is provided by Alaska Geographic. Read about the 2018 Science Education Grant recipients and their outreach projects.
an instructor and a camper work on a carving
Marking a New Bee-ginning: A New Species of Pollinator found in Denali National Park and Preserve
There's a new-bee on the block! Find out how park science made a discovery by chance.
Fire Ecology Annual Report 2016 - Communicating Results
Communicating results of projects or research is an important aspect the fire ecology program in order to provide information and outreach to fire managers, park staff, and the public.
Students in the North for Science program measuring an unburned plot.
The Fate of Permafrost
At present, permafrost is continuous in Arctic parks and discontinuous in Denali and Wrangell St.-Elias national parks and preserves. We expect the distribution of permafrost will still be continuous in Arctic parks by the 2050s; however, it is very likely that the distribution of permafrost in Denali and Wrangell-St. Elias will become sporadic by then.
a person standing next to an eroded hillside
Economics of Wilderness: Contribution of Alaska Parks and Wilderness to the Alaska Economy
Looking ahead, it is clear that Alaska’s wilderness ecosystems will become increasingly valuable assets in a crowded urban world. If Alaska’s wild lands, wildlife, and ecological integrity are cared for with respect, the contribution of wilderness and conservation lands to the Alaska economy and to people everywhere will be significant, positive, increasing, and enduring.
a large cruise ship on the ocean with snowy mountains in the distance
CRASH! The Alaskan Bush Hits Climate Change... or Does it?
In a personal reflection from over fifty years of living in Bush Alaska, the Collins sisters catalog weather extremes, drying lakes, scanty snowfall, and more. Along the way, they try to reason out if these changes are from natural fluctuations or man-made global changes.
a sled and dog team in a forest with thin snow cover on the ground
Managing Invasive Plants in Denali
Science Summary (2012) - Invasive plants, usually introduced accidentally by people, often crowd out native species and may destroy food sources or habitat for native wildlife. Denali has relatively few non-native plant species (28) compared to parks in the Lower 48 states. By aggressively eradicating invasives now, while their numbers are manageable, we can avoid exotic species compounding the ecological challenges posed by factors like climate change.
people pulling up yellow flowers by a roadside
Wolf Dispersal in Alaskan Parks
Wildlife biologists have long known that wolves occasionally travel enormous distances in search of new mates and ranges. However, the advent of GPS-based wildlife tracking has allowed researchers to follow in the very footsteps of wolves as they travel across vast and wild landscapes. Alaska National Park scientists have witnessed some surprisingly intimate and breathtaking interconnections between wolves, parks and people by using this technology over the last few years.
Close up of a wolf standing and facing the camera
SMART Collars Reveal the Hidden Lives of Wolves
Science Summary (2017) - In recent years, fitness devices and smartphone applications have been sweeping the nation. These gadgets allow users to create their own digital journal of where they go, what they do, and how much energy they use. Now, researchers are using the same technology to discover the hidden lives of wild wolves in Denali.
a wolf wearing a collar walks through the snow
Monitoring Dust Palliative Use Along the Denali Park Road
Annual Research Updates (2016) - To reduce road dust along the Denali park road, maintenance crews apply a solution of calcium chloride to the road surface, and now monitor the possible effects soil, water, and vegetation may experience.
a dump truck kicks up dust along the Denali park road
Native Seed Collection and Invasive Plant Eradication
Annual Research Updates (2016) - Native seed collection is important to help make revegetation projects possible. Learn more about which invasive plants were eradicated and what native seeds were collected over the past few years.
a bunch of dandelions
Conserving Migratory Golden Eagles in a Rapidly Changing World: What Role Will the NPS Play?
Alaska Park Science (2015) - Within just six weeks of fledging, some of Denali’s juvenile eagles fly over 4,000 miles to spend the winter in central Mexico. Here they are in the company of other migratory golden eagles from interior and northern Alaska and northwest Canada, flying back to Alaska in the spring. Changing climate, and changing habitat over those thousands of miles, presents significant challenges to eagles' survivability.
a golden eagle in flight in a blue sky
Major Discovery in Denali's Microwilderness
Science Summary (2016) - Bees and flower flies are two important groups of pollinators in Denali. Without their help in carrying pollen between flowering plants, there would be no wildflowers on the tundra, no blueberries for grizzlies to eat, and no fireweed blazing along the park road. Researchers already knew pollinators are vital to Denali ecosystems, but until recently, the park knew little about the individual species that make up this invaluable group of animals.
Close up of new species, Bombus kluanensis
Patterns of arthropod diversity and activity along elevational gradients in Denali
Annual Research Update (2016) - For the vast majority of Denali’s animals (aka the invertebrates), there is an incomplete picture. Researchers don’t have a good idea about which species live here or how they are distributed across habitats. To be able to track invertebrate responses to effects from climate change, it is necessary to start with a basic understanding of who lives here, now.
a blue vane trap on a hillside with Denali in the background
Hearing the Difference—monitoring sounds in Alaska's National Parks
NPS biologist Davyd Betchkal installs a sound-monitoring station near Triple Lakes in the Denali Park wilderness.
Betchkal installs a sound-monitoring station near Triple Lakes in the Denali Park wilderness.
Born in the late 1800s, Abbie Joseph lived until 1986. Interviews at the end of her life provide a window to the past, putting a personal touch to the traditional subsistence lifestyle Alaska Natives have lived for thousands of years, and which continues today.
black and white image of man, woman and two kids in front of a log cabin
Visiting in the summer of 1922 with a friend as "just tourists," Lena Howard returned a few years later to experience an Alaskan winter. Visiting Mount McKinley National Park, which Congress later renamed to Denali, Lena fell in love with the area. She chose to live year-round in the area, settling in Healy until her husband's death in 1971.
black and white historic image of a woman standing near a bus
Stay Curious: Jessica Rykken
Entomologist, Jessica Rykken, shows us her collection of bees, tells us why the information from these collections is important for researchers in national parks, and how she first got interested in bugs.
boxes of bees and small flies
Identifying Fish Presence by their eDNA
Read the abstract and get the link for an article on the use of eDNA: Menning, D., T. Simmons, and S. Talbot. 2018. Using redundant primer sets to detect multiple native Alaskan fish species from environmental DNA. Conservation Genetics Resources https://doi.org/10.1007/s12686-018-1071-7.
scientist collects data near a stream
Fire, Topography, and Climate Drive Variation in Alaska's Boreal Forests
Read the abstract and link to the peer-reviewed article about drivers of change in high-latitude boreal forests in Alaska. Roland, Carl A., Joshua H. Schmidt, Samantha G. WInder, Sarah E. Stehn, and E. Fleur Nicklen. 2019. Regional variation in interior Alaskan boreal forests is driven by fire disturbance, topography, and climate. Ecological Monographs.
Boreal forest in Alaska; a monitoring plot.
Species Variation along a Landscape Gradient
Read the abstract and get the link to an article published in Ecosphere: Stehen, S. E. and C. A. Roland. 2018. Concordant community similarity patterns across functional groups in the subarctic plant assemblages. Ecoshere 9(4): e02181.
Mosses and lichens growing together.
Fannie Quigley Turns 150
2020 marks the 150th year since Fannie Quigley's birth. Fannie is one of Denali's most celebrated historic figures, having arrived in the early 1900's gold rush to Kantishna, and making it her home til her death in 1944.
woman sitting on a porch holding a rifle
Ron Senungetuk: Alaskan Artist Remembered
Ron Senungetuk passed away on January 21, 2020, at the age of 87. His life and extraordinary contributions to Alaska's art scene are worth celebrating.
alaska native man in a workshop painting a large wooden piece of art
Results of Denali Park Road Vehicle Management Plan (VMP) Monitoring
How do hundreds of thousands of people visit a park with just one road and still have a wilderness experience, full of solitude and, hopefully, wildlife? Denali's Vehicle Management Plan (VMP) aims to provide that experience, and park scientists monitor the interactions of buses, visitors, and wildlife to assess how well the plan is being implemented. Read the most recent year's monitoring results.
a bus weaves along a mountain road
Connecting Taiga to Tropics: Swainson's Thrush as a Model for Nearctic-Neotropical Migration in Alaska
Twice a year, the Swainson’s Thrush connects the boreal forests of North America to the tropical forests of Central and South America through its flight across the Western Hemisphere. About 200 bird species, primarily songbirds such as thrushes and warblers, are considered Nearctic-Neotropical migrants that fly thousands of miles annually between breeding and wintering areas. Alaska Park Science 17(1), 2018.
A thrush fitted with a geolocator
Alpine Tundra Species Richness
Read the abstract and link to this article published in Ecosphere: Roland, C. A., S. E. Stehn, and J. H. Schmidt. 2017. Species richness of multiple functional groups peaks in alpine tundra in subarctic Alaska. Ecosphere 8(6):e01848.
High-latitude, alpine tundra in Denali.
Barbara Washburn's Historic Ascent
The Operation White Tower expedition commenced in the spring of 1947 with the goal of mapping and filming the highest mountain in North America. Barbara Polk Washburn was the only female on the team of mountaineers, photographers, scientists, and military men.
woman and two men standing in front of a log cabin
World War II in Alaska
This resource guide is designed to aid students and teachers in researching Alaska’s World War II history. Alaska’s role as battlefield, lend-lease transfer station, and North Pacific stronghold was often overlooked by historians in the post-war decades. Few people know that the only World War II battle fought on U.S. soil took place in Alaska or that Japanese forces occupied two Aleutian Islands for more than a year.
Soldiers walk down ramp by ship in full gear.
Collared pikas are small mammals within the same order as rabbits and hares, and they resemble small rabbits with very short ears and small limbs. Adapted to thrive at high elevations in Alaska, their habitat is at risk -- climate change may drastically change the fragile environment in which they live.
tiny gray rabbit-like creature sitting on a rock
Arctic Ground Squirrel
The largest of the North American ground squirrels, arctic ground squirrels are burrowing rodents that resemble prairie dogs, with small ears, a flat tail, and a white-spotted back. They are very common throughout much of Denali and live mainly in the alpine tundra.
two ground squirrels
Dall sheep are unmistakable, looking like pure-white bighorn sheep. Like bighorn sheep, they have large, curled horns, but Dall sheep horns are longer and skinnier than their southern counterparts. They inhabit mountain ranges in Alaska and Canada and are often visible from quite far away.
Close up of sheep face and horns
Celebrating Katie John Day
Denali National Park and Preserve recognizes and celebrates the important legacy of Katie John, an Ahtna Athabaskan leader who spent her life fighting for subsistence rights and the preservation of her culture.
historic photo of an alaska native woman standing in a meadow surrounded by children
Eldorado: Treasure, Tragedy, and Triumph in the Kantishna Hills
Where legacy mining effects have impaired stream water quality in Alaska parks, the NPS is developing restoration techniques. Understanding the potential for recovery in these streams will help the NPS to prioritize those areas where intervention is needed over those areas that are recovering naturally, where disturbance might do more harm than good. Alaska Park Science 19(1):2020.
Researchers discuss a project on the banks of an incised stream.
Neversweat Prospect Cultural Landscape
The Neversweat Prospect is a 4.3 acre historic site and contains a small collection of historic buildings and structures, small scale features, and landscape features associated with lode mining. It is representative of one of the few active lode mine operations in the Kantishna district whose operation spanned both the pre-WWII era and the post-WWII era.
Historic cabin on Neversweat Prospect
The Alaska Road Builder
Richardson. Steese. Elliott. Taylor. If you travel around the Alaska road system, these names might look familiar. They were former presidents of the Alaska Road Commission (ARC) with highways now named in their honor. ARC was an agency established in 1905, under the War Department, with a mission to build roads in the vast—almost completely road-less—Alaska territory.The final president of the ARC did not get a highway, but he did get a landmark along the Denali Park Road.
a dirt road with a bridge spanning a narrow creek
Hoary marmots are large rodents that live mainly in alpine areas. Their loud, clear warning calls are a common sound in mountainous regions.
closeup of a marmot baby
Understanding what Drives Plant Diversity in Alaska
Read the abstract and get the link to a peer-reviewed article on the environmental conditions that impact plant diversity in Alaska: Roland, Carl A., Giancarlo Sadoti, E. Fleur Nicklen, Stephanie A. McAfee, and Sarah E. Stehn. 2019. A structural equation model linking past and present plant diversity in Alaska: A framework for evaluating future change. Ecosphere 10(8): e02832.
An infographic showing the relationships between plant diversity, climate, and physical factors.
Estimating Migratory Bird Arrivals and Departures
Read the abstract and get the link to an article on phenology and population dynamics of passerines in Denali National Park: Mizel, J. D., Schmidt, J. H., Phillips, L. M. and Mcintyre, C.L., 2019. A binomial N‐mixture model for estimating arrival and departure timing. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 10(7): 1062-1071.
A white-crowned sparrow sits on a lichen-covered rock with a worm in its beak.
The Flu Pandemic hit Nenana 100 Years Ago
One of the great tragedies to strike a Denali gateway community occurred in May, 1920. If you stroll through the Nenana cemetery on the southwest side of town and read the dates on the graves or visit the Mitch Dementieff Tribal Hall on the west side and observe the photographs on the wall, evidence of its magnitude is tangible.
a wooden grave marker showing the date may 7, 1920
Counting Alaska's Residents: Good Luck!
Imagine it’s 1869. The United States recently acquired a vast territory in the far northwest part of the continent, and must count all the residents for the 1870 census. You are in charge. How will you coordinate this effort and access remote communities scattered around 663,000 square miles using limited technology and infrastructure? Most people you encounter will not speak English. Don't forget, there is very limited time to make the count!
hand-written notebook containing a long list of names and demographic data
Donald Orth: King of Alaska Place Names
“Language, history, geography, all of those things come together” in place names, and "they are "part of the language, part of our psyche.” — Donald Orth Orth’s legacy lives on in the phenomenal dictionary which contributes to our understanding of the great State of Alaska.
newspaper with headline reading rename peak? mckinley versus denali
Geohazard Risk Reduction along the Denali National Park Road
The dramatic landscapes of Denali National Park are largely a result of geologic forces. The park road, the main access to the park for visitors and staff, is especially susceptible to landslides that have blocked access for days. We monitor geohazards in the park and actively reduce risk. Alaska Park Science 18(1), 2019.
A researcher measures the amount the park road slipped.
Florence Collins found adventure and fulfillment in Alaska. An aviator, geologist and mother, she lived much of her life in the remote Lake Minchumina community, near what eventually became the far northwestern corner of Denali National Park and Preserve.
historic image of a young woman standing by a world war two era plane
Geoscientists-in-the-Parks: Science Communicator
Read about the work Lindsey Taylor did as a Science Communicator in Denali National Park and Preserve as a GIP in 2016.
Making the "Toklat Wolf" Sculpture
Gina Hollomon, of Anchorage, describes the process she used to create "Toklat Wolf" for Denali's Artist-in-Residence Program.
Sculpture of wolf glows in firing kiln
Check out fabric artist Ree Nancarrow's work!
a woman standing in front of a large quilt depicting a mountainous landscape
Weather Impacts on Dall's Sheep
Read the abstract and link to a recent paper in Ecosphere on Dall's sheep population impacts from weather events: Rattenbury, K. L., J. H. Schmidt, D. K. Swanson, B. L. Borg, B. A. Mangipane, and P. J. Sousanes. 2018. Delayed spring onset drives declines in abundance and recruitment in a mountain ungulate. Ecosphere 9(11):e02513. 10.1002/ecs2.2513
Dalls sheep lambs and ewes on a rock cliff.
Undergraduates Measure Methane Released by Thawing Permafrost
Science Summary (2014) - Permafrost soils are one of the great carbon storage zones on Earth, where, over millennia, the organic remains of plants and animals were frozen before they could be decomposed by microorganisms. Now that permafrost is thawing, these frozen remains will begin to decompose, returning long-stored carbon (C) to the atmosphere in the form of greenhouses gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4).
researchers lean over boxes while sitting in the tundra
Abundance and Distribution of Passerines
Annual Research Updates (2016) - Passerine birds are a vital sign of the NPS Central Alaska Monitoring Network (CAKN). Since the early 1990s, the National Park Service (NPS) has been collecting data to document changes in abundance and distribution of passerine birds in Denali, resulting in one of the longest running monitoring programs for these species in interior Alaska.
a yellow and grey birds sits on a branch
Surveying Denali's Pollinators: Bees & Flower Flies
Science Summary (2013) - Because they are diverse, abundant, easy to sample, and tightly linked to their host plants, bees may serve as ideal indicators to measure the effects of a changing climate on critical ecosystem services such as pollination.
a bee on a tall pink flower
Estimating Denali's Visitation
Science Summary (2013) - Visitors to Denali National Park enter the park by a variety of means. Many arrive at the front entrance by car, train, or bus while others may travel into the park by plane or dogteam. Since there is no entrance station into the park it is difficult to estimate the number of visitors coming to the park each year.
a woman takes a picture of her husband standing by the Denali park entrance sign
Permafrost Thaw and the Nitrogen Cycle
Science Summary (2012) - Climate warming is causing permafrost to thaw. In and near Denali National Park and Preserve, the temperature of permafrost is just below freezing, so a small amount of warming can have a large impact. Are the stored nutrients in thawing permafrost going to cause changes in Denali?
two researchers work in the tundra
Permafrost Thaw and Carbon Balance
Science Summary (2015) - Subarctic environments such as Denali National Park and Preserve’s tundra and boreal forest, have undergone drastic changes over the past few decades, likely as a result of a changing climate–increasing temperatures.
a researcher crouches down to examine a tundra plot
Understanding Park Visitor Characteristics
Science Summary (2013) - Social science research helps identify how visitors spend their time and rate their experiences, so park managers can ensure high-quality experiences for future park visitors, while protecting park resources.
visitors use binoculars to watch for wildlife out of a bus window
Rivers and Streams of Denali
Science Summary (2012) - Because Denali’s landscapes are rich in rivers and streams, the chances are good you’ll encounter wild flowing waters while visiting Denali National Park and Preserve. Find out more about where the waters come from and what's in them.
Braided, glacial river in Denali National Park
Caribou in Denali
Annual Research Updates (2015, 2016) - The Denali Caribou Herd has been studied consistently since 1984. This long-term study gives insight into the population dynamics and helps determine the status of this herd.
a caribou walks across a dirt road
Denali's Wolf Viewing Project
From 2000 until 2010, the State of Alaska prohibited wolf hunting and trapping in two areas bordering the park. However in 2010, the Board of Game decided to eliminate both closed areas and allow hunting and trapping of wolves in all areas bordering the park. This change coincided with the start of a study to learn more about wolf viewing opportunities along the park road. Has this change impacted viewability of wolves in Denali?
a close up of a wolf's face
Jeffrey Alan Lockwood
Jeffrey Alan Lockwood is a Professor of Natural Sciences & Humanities, and Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Wyoming. His work has been honored with a Pushcart Prize, the John Burroughs award and inclusion in the Best American Science and Nature Writing. His current projects are a book on the ways in which the energy industry has censored science, art and education.
In front of a chalkboard, a man makes notes while holding a scale model of a grasshopper.
Soundscape Inventory and Monitoring Program
If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around does it make a sound? Discover what hidden sounds can be heard throughout Denali when no one else is around.
two tripods holding sound recording equipment sit on a hillside amidst rocks
Are Wolf Viewing Opportunities in Denali at Risk?
Each year, 20,000 to 30,000 visitors to Denali National Park and Preserve view wolves along the park road. Denali is recognized as one of the best places in the world for people to see wolves in the wild. However, could this viewing opportunity be at risk?
wolf walks down a dirt road
Wildlife Observations Along the Denali Park Road
Being able to view wildlife is a main draw for visitors to venture to Denali. But how may growing number of visitors influence wildlife viewing along the park road?
a bus on a dirt road waits while passengers watch a caribou grazing
Glacier-fed Rivers and Climate Change in Alaska Parks
Not only are most glaciers shrinking, the rate at which they are changing has accelerated over the last 2-3 decades. Over the last century, mid-latitude and arctic glaciers have generally been shrinking, while some in marginal environments have disappeared. This can have a significant impact on the species that live in glacier-fed rivers.
a large glacier feeding a braided river
Understanding Visitors’ Commitment to Grizzly Bear Conservation at Denali
Denali National Park and Preserve, with more than 400,000 visitors annually, has a unique opportunity to proactively link interpretation and park management to on-site grizzly bear conservation.
truck on a dirt road near a grizzly bear
Denali's Muldrow Glacier
The Muldrow Glacier (Henteel No' Loo') is a long glacier on the north side of the Alaska Range. Long monitored by scientists in Denali, a major surge in the glacier in 2021 prompted significant excitement and research opportunities!
a huge snowy mountain with a vast glacier flowing off it
Research Fellowship Recipients (2015)
Learn about 2015 Research Fellowship recipients
a man sitting in a forest
Research Fellowship Recipients: 2011
Learn about 2011 research fellowship recipients.
Research Fellowship Recipients: 2008
Learn about 2008 fellowship recipients
Research Fellowship Recipients: 2009
Learn about 2009 research fellowship recipients
Research Fellowships | Discovery Denali (2007)
Soundscape Data Browser
listing description to be added here
A map of denali with markers
Monitoring Seasonal and Long-term Climate Changes and Extremes in the Central Alaska Network
Climate is a primary driver of ecological change and an important component of the Central Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Network (CAKN). By monitoring seasonal and long-term climate patterns in the region, we can correlate climate changes and extremes to other variations in the ecosystem, such as changes in permafrost extent or vegetation composition.
rain squall over a mountain landscape
Dynamics of Small Mammal Populations in the Rock Creek Watershed of Denali
Through a 14 year mark-recapture study, scientists tracked the population dynamics of voles in a watershed near Denali's entrance. In the process, they discovered the date of spring onset most-notably influences their populations. Among other reasons, voles are an important species because their abundance influences carnivore populations higher up the food chain.
closeup of a hand, holding a vole
Long-Term Air Quality Monitoring in Denali National Park
Air quality monitoring in Denali has been ongoing for over three decades. With global pollution projected to increase over time, Denali’s clean air is dependent upon international as well as national efforts to limit emission increases. As a prominent wilderness tourist destination, the park may help inspire global citizens to protect clean air partly because it is an integral part of Denali’s intact ecosystem.
clouds brewing over a snowy mountainside
My Wilderness Essay: Bette Burt
Denali - where in a matter of hours, the terrain changes as you drive inward: from tall woodland forests, to scrub land with trees no taller than 4½ - 6 feet, to tundra with nothing growing over 4½ - 6 inches!
vast snow covered mountain dominating a hilly landscape
My Wilderness: Joe Horiskey
Mountaineer Joe Horiskey recounts one particularly memorable trip, out of over twenty expeditions on Denali, in his essay for "Your Wilderness Stories."
vast snowy mountain dominating a hilly landscape
My Wilderness: Donna Morefield Campbell
Denali...the name stirs up a yearning. From 4,300 miles away, the wilderness calls "come!"
vast snowy mountain dominating a hilly landscape
My Wilderness: Roxanne Van Gundy
For her essay in the "Your Wilderness Stories" series, Roxanne Van Gundy describes her feeling of being at home in the wilderness.
vast snowy mountain dominating a hilly landscape
My Wilderness: Katherine Koenig
Katherine Koenig's essay in the "Your Wilderness Series" shares lessons she has learned from nature and wilderness.
vast snowy mountain dominating a hilly landscape
Stampede Creek and the Legacy of Mining: Antimony in Stream Water and Sediment
Gold may have drawn miners to “them, thar” Kantishna Hills in the early 1900s, but the notoriety of the Kantishna Hills Mining District also extended to antimony lode deposits. Over half of Alaska’s antimony production from the 1940s and 1950s came from this region, and the Stampede Mine (now within Denali National Park and Preserve) is Alaska’s historically largest antimony producer.
Man collects sediment from a small creek
Melting Glaciers in the Kichatna Mountains
Science summary (2011) - Sheer limestone cliffs and granite spires surrounding more than a dozen small mountain glaciers comprise the Kichatna Mountains tucked away in the remote southwestern corner of Denali National Park and Preserve. Most park visitors do not travel to the Kichatna Mountains, yet the results of climate change are visible there as glaciers melt and recede. The Kichatna glaciers, being relatively small, are particularly vulnerable to faster rates of melting.
man standing on a glacier in the Kichatna Mountains
Restoration of Mined Lands in Kantishna
The early stampede of fortune seekers to the Kantishna Mining District in 1905 subsided quickly, yet mining continued intermittently there through 1985. Part of the legacy of Kantishna mining was holes in the hillsides, non-functional ﬂoodplains, and streams downcutting and eroding banks and tailing piles. Here's how the park hopes to restore the streams in Kantishna today.
an excavator sits in a rocky gravel pit
Soil Survey and Ecological Classification in Denali
Did you know that soil will have different characteristics depending on where you are in Denali? For six summers, scientists completed a soil survey that mapped soils across the park. They also recorded plant species and photographed the landscape, the plant community, and the soil horizons as revealed in a soil pit. Learn more about what they found.
man sits in a green clearing writing in a notebook
Implementing Denali's Resource Stewardship Strategy: Achieving desired conditions for park resources
Science summary (2009) - The Resource Stewardship Strategy serves as a guide for research, resource management, and resource education programs of the National Park Service (NPS) at Denali over the next 20 years.
a Dall's sheep stands in the snow with mountains in the background
Soundscapes in Denali
What do you hear when you visit Denali National Park and Preserve? Maybe the howls of wolves, thunder of avalanches, roar of rivers, or buzzing mosquitoes? Scientists are studying the soundscape of Denali in order to learn how to best preserve it.
a microphone and solar panel sit on a hill with mountains in the background
Natural Resource Condition Assessment in Denali
Science summary (2010) - The Natural Resource Condition Assessment (NRCA) program is one of the strategies that the Natural Resource Challenge started in 1999. These strategies help national parks use science-based management practices in order to assess the status of natural resources in the parks.
aerial view of brown mountains
Long-term Monitoring after Restoration of Kantishna's Placer-Mined Streams
In the Kantishna Mining District, beyond the end of the park road in Denali National Park and Preserve, placer mining of yesteryear severely disturbed many streams and watersheds—removing vegetation and topsoil, excavating gravel down to bedrock in the stream channels and floodplains, and leaving tailing piles that lack fine sediments and nutrients.
Climate-related Vegetation Changes in the Subarctic
The vast landscapes of interior Alaska are changing: Large glaciers are melting and rapidly receding up valleys, ancient permafrost is degrading and turning frozen soils into soupy gelatin, woody vegetation is spreading dramatically into open areas, and boreal ponds and wetlands are shrinking.
composite of two aerial images of a river, with one containing substantially more trees in the image
Air Quality in Denali
Science Summary (2011) - Denali’s air quality is usually among the best in the country, as measured by an air quality monitoring program dating back to 1980. This exceptional record shouldn’t be too surprising, considering the park’s remote location in interior Alaska, far from large-scale industrial activities and densely populated urban areas.
Alaska Range hidden behind clouds
Beringia from a Cretaceous Perspective
This article explores fossils and rocks found in the Beringia region and what can be learned from these discoveries. The content and makeup of these rocks and fossils are discussed, which leads to drawing conclusions on the ecosystem in Beringia.
Map of Beringia with NPS units highlighted in green.
Science Summary (2010) - Permafrost is soil or rock that remains below 32º F (0º C) for at least two consecutive years. North of the Alaska Range, landscapes are dominated by permafrost, but to the south, very little permafrost occurs. The active layer above permafrost experiences annual freezing in winter and thawing in summer. Permafrost is considered fragile if it is within a couple degrees of thawing.
aerial view of a tree and lake filled landscape in front of a vast white mountain
Population Biology of the Wood Frog
Science Summary (2008) - During the summer of 2007, Dr. Robert Newman of the Department of Biology, University of North Dakota set out to get this large geographic-scale picture of how wood frogs may respond to climate change by initiating field studies of wood frogs in wilderness areas of Alaska, including Denali.
person standing in a knee deep pond
Ecology of Upwelling Areas in the Toklat River
Science Summary (2008) - In what seems like a a gravel, sterile environment, high-diversity micro habitats exist around areas of upwelling water. By quantifying and comparing the upwelling channels and the main glacial channel, researchers can determine how the flowpaths influence the biological diversity of the upwelling channels.
gravel valley with a shallow river leading up to steep mountains
Surveying Dall Sheep in Denali
Science Summary (2012) - Whether visitors on a bus into Denali National Park and Preserve spot “white dots with legs” high on the craggy slopes of Igloo or Cathedral Mountain, or experience full-curl rams smacking horns on the rocks of Polychrome, there is no better iconic image for wildlife protection in the park than the Dall sheep.
three sheep on a dirt road
Mountain Building in the Alaska Range
Science Summary (2011) - Alaska is—and has been for millions of years—one of the most geologically active regions of North America.
river and forest landscape with mountains in the distance
Plants in the Age of Dinosaurs
Science Summary (2011) - What did Denali look like during the age of dinosaurs? Through the study of fossils researchers can start to piece together what Denali's past looked like.
scenic view of a mountain with layers visible
The Social Structure of Dall Sheep
Dall sheep employ a sophisticated social structure.
A ewe and two lambs stand on a rocky cliff
Central Alaska Network Examines Surface Temperature Along an Elevation Gradient
Annual Research Update (2016) - It has been observed that treeline, shrubline, and tundraline are higher in Wrangell-St. Elias and Yukon-Charley Rivers than Denali. This difference in vegetation line may be due to warmer temperatures in the eastern, more interior part of the state, but we need more detailed climate data then is currently available to answer this question.
rocky mountains that are partially covered by spruce trees
Central Alaska Network Aspen Phenology Monitoring
Annual Research Update (2016) - The Central Alaska Network monitors phenology because there is considerable evidence from studies around the world that climate change is advancing the timing of flowering and leaf-out and extending the growing season of plants in northern latitudes and high elevations.
a forest of spruce and aspen trees
Denali Tree Ring Analysis
Annual Research Update (2016) - Changing climate is anticipated to alter the boreal forest, and a first step in understanding how tree species distribution may look in the future is to quantify tree growth response to climatic variability.
a group of snow-covered spruce trees
Park Visitation in Denali
Annual Research Update (2016) - Ever wonder how many visitors actually make it to Denali? Discover how visitation is estimated and how the park counts visitors at the Denali Visitor Center.
a group of visitors on a bus look out a window with binoculars
Grizzly Bear Population Ecology in Denali
What have 25+ years of studying grizzly bears in Denali taught us?
brown bear sitting on a hillside
Archaeology Surveys in Denali
The park conducts regular archaeological surveys. This past year two surveys were carried out. One survey was to expand upon current knowledge of traditional human use of the Teklanika valley while the other investigated the archaeology of the Toklat River.
a person sketches an archaeological artifact
Willow and Rock Ptarmigan Surveys
As part of their statewide monitoring program for Rock and Willow Ptarmigan, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) conducts standardized surveys along and near many roadways in interior and southcentral Alaska. Learn more about the status of ptarmigan populations in Alaska.
an all-white ptarmigan sits on a branch of a tree
Looking Back—A Heady Time for National Park Service Science in Alaska
Spurred by Alaska gaining statehood and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), the 1970s saw a spurt of scientific activity that gave experienced Alaska investigators additional access to remote field study sites and introduced investigators new to Alaska to exciting and challenging opportunities for conducting field study in remote places.
mist on forested mountains
Alaskan Students Spend a Week Job-Shadowing in Denali
In September 2015, Denali National Park and Preserve offered Denali’s neighboring teens a behind-the-scenes tour of their own backyard. During the Intensives program, 50 8th and 9th grade students from Susitna Valley High School spent three days exploring why Denali is so special. The students shadowed many types of rangers, and in doing so, experienced first-hand the challenges of managing this spectacular and complex place. The Intensives program was developed to celebrate
Students use radio telemetry to try to find a wolf collar
From the Top of North America to Your Classroom
Denali National Park and Preserve is an environment of extreme temperatures, tall mountains, glacial landscapes, and more. As it is difficult, if not impossible, for many teachers and students to come to the park, Denali offers free, interactive, distance learning programs to help classes learn about this special place and enhance existing curricula.
students watch a distance learning program and are excited to learn
Denali's Bug Bioblitz
In July, 2014, seven arthropod researchers from across the United States journeyed to Denali National Park and Preserve to take part in the Park's first ever "Bug Bioblitz". The goals of this citizen science event were to increase our knowledge about insect diversity in Denali and to engage the public in research side-by-side with scientists.
a ranger watches on as a student uses a magnifying box
Interrelationships of Denali's Large Mammal Community
Denali is home to a daily life and death drama for many animals, though the 'big five' mammal species stand out in the minds of many visitors. In addition to the opportunities for viewing or photographing Interior Alaska’s large mammals, Denali is a great natural laboratory to study the species and their interrelationships. Unlike the rest of Interior Alaska, the Denali carnivore/ungulate community has been little affected by human harvests for several decades.
a bear looking at a moose and her calf
Lake and Snow Ice Study Promotes Elementary School Science Education
Alaska Lake Ice and Snow Observatory Network - ALISON - is a research and science education partnership between students and educators. Starting in 2005-2006, the ALISON site at Denali's Horseshoe Lake provided local students in the Tri-Valley K-12 school a chance to not only help ALISON with its research, but to get hands-on experience at doing quality field science.
closeup of cracked ice
Ecological Goldmine: The Denali Landcover Map and Denali Soil Inventory with Ecological Site Classification
Comprising over 2,200 study sites, an exhaustive field study from 1997 - 2002 laid the (figurative and literal) groundwork for a comprehensive soil and vegetation map of Denali.
tiny multi-colored map
An Ecological Overview of Denali National Park and Preserve
A quick overview of the natural history that formed what we know today as Denali National Park - and glimpses at changes that might happen in the near and distant future.
forested landscape with snowy mountains in the distance
Monitoring Dall Sheep
Discovery how and why scientists monitor Dall sheep in national parks throughout Alaska.
A group of three dall sheep walk down a dirt road
Dall Sheep and Climate Change
How might climate change impact the world's northernmost wild sheep population?
ewe and lamb on a rocky outcropping
Rutting Behavior of Moose
Weighing up to 1,600 pounds each, bull moose spar and sometimes brutally fight for a few weeks each autumn for the right to mate with females.
two bulll moose wading in a pond
Late Cretaceous Flora in an Ancient Fluvial Environment
The Lower Cantwell Formation is a late Cretaceous fluvial deposit that contains dinosaur footprints and plant fossils.
steep scree slope of a dark mountain
Busing Through Wilderness
A vast wilderness park with a road through the middle - how does that work?
people standing near a bus, looking at snowy mountains in the distance
Treeline Shifts in Denali: Influences of Climate Change and Local Site Conditions
Science summary (2011) - How is climate change affecting the treelines in Denali? Warmer temperatures throughout Interior Alaska over the last several decades have resulted in increased glacial melt, permafrost degradation, and the expansion of woody vegetation. If this warming trend continues, it will change Alaska’s ecosystems and drastically alter the physical appearance of Denali’s landscapes for decades.
tundra landscape in the fall
Monitoring Territory Occupancy and Reproductive Success of Golden Eagles
Annual Research Update (2015) - Golden Eagles are a vital sign of the NPS Central Alaska Monitoring Network and have been monitored at 90 nesting territories in the northern foothills of the Alaska Range in Denali.
two golden eagles fly at each other with their talons out
Studying the Active Boundary of Tectonic Plates
Science Summary (2012) - Alaska is well known for its rugged terrain and numerous natural hazards. It is arguably one of the most active and interesting places for geologists and geophysicists to study the Earth’s dynamics, including the processes that control plate tectonics.
domed device mounted on a tripod, sittong on a snowy mountain slope
Population Dynamics of the Denali Caribou Herd
Science Summary (2014) - Even after studying Denali’s caribou for nearly 30 years, Dr. Layne Adams still gets excited with each insight gained—whether it is caribou migrating in droves from the park, or bull caribou that die when least expected. His work continues to provide important understanding of the status and trends of Denali’s wildlife.
Young Scientists Measure Ice and Snow in Denali
Science Summary (2012) - Local students are engaged in a special program— Alaska Lake Ice and Snow Observatory Network, or ALISON. The project was designed as a 10-year research and education program to provide Alaska teachers and students with an opportunity to learn about scientific inquiry in “their own backyard.” Read how elementary school students are capable of doing good science.
Young scientist takes measurements at a frozen lake in Denali National Park.
Denali's Aircraft Overflights Advisory Council
Science Summary (2012) - Flight-seeing around Denali, mountain climbers climbing Denali, hikers in the backcountry: all want a magical experience. What about the noise of a small engine plane to those on the ground? Read about what Park managers and local flight seeing businesses do to avoid conflict.
a small airplane flies through clouds near a mountain
Glacier Monitoring in Denali
Science Summary (2012) - How is a warming climate changing glaciers at the 'roof' of North America?
vast glacier flowing past a steep mountain
Denali's Climate Change Response - 2012
Science Summary (2012) - Climate change is real. Scientists who observe Earth’s climate have documented a warming trend caused by human activity, and the consensus is that the trend will continue. How is Denali responding to climate change?
a solar panel in the tundra
Subsistence, Stories, and Place Names of the Upper Kuskokwim River Project
The Upper Kuskokwim Athabascans have traditionally used lands, now enclosed in the boundaries of the Park, as hunting, trapping and gathering grounds for thousands of years. Because these people have inhabited this land long before there was a National Park, Denali has awarded a two year grant to help them continue an Upper Kuskokwim River regional place names project.
a subsistence user fillets a fish
Understanding Change: How Communities Perceive Climate Change
How might climate change affect subsistence users? Observations collected from community members help to identify the challenges a changing climate poses to traditional lifestyles .
a group of boaters sit back and watch the Alaskan scenery
Archaeology Culture Camp and Museum Family Day
Outreach and communication is just as important as research. Learn about an exciting archaeology outreach project between Denali and the University of Alaska Museum of the North (UAMN).
a girl learns the proper way to throw an atl-atl (wooden spear)
Historic American Building Survey documentation of historic structures in the Park
What if you could add a building to the Library of Congress. Luckily through the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), we can.
a black and white photo of the Little Annie Mine
Dall Sheep in Denali
Denali's most well-known mammal, the Dall Sheep, is monitored closely to learn more about herd size and distribution of these regal animals.
a dall sheep ram lays in front of a snowy mountain
Assessing and Mitigating the Cumulative Effects of Installations in Wilderness
Many scientific studies rely on instrumentation to provide valuable information about wilderness resources. However, scientists must be vigilant about preserving the undeveloped quality and wilderness character as a whole. Over time, any effort that succeeds in reducing the incremental effects of a new activity or installation will also reduce cumulative effects.
helicopter landing on a rocky island with a lighthouse
Scientific Legacy of Denali
Denali's rich history as a place for science and research goes back over 100 years.
black and white image of a man near a small log cabin
Shallow Lakes - Microcosms of Change
Changes in shallow lakes throughout central Alaska illustrate the effects of our rapidly changing climate.
brush-lined lake reflecting a distant mountain
Understanding Moraine Formation Around Denali's Muldrow Glacier
To predict future impacts, scientists use clues about how geologic systems responded to past climate changes by examining glacial geologic records.
man standing on a boulder
Denali Provides Job Shadowing for Local Students
In late August, 2014, Denali National Park and Preserve hosted a week-long “Intensive” learning program for all 57 high school students in the Denali Borough.Students spent the week engaged – hands-on – in the complexities of how and why the National Park Service works to preserve and protect Denali.
Students watch as a park ranger crouches to show them fur caught on sticks
A Baseline Study of Permafrost in Denali's Toklat Basin
Learn about a 2003 baseline study of 160,000 acres in the Toklat River basin of Denali. Permafrost was known to exist in the area, but this study provided specific details which will benefit park managers and future scientists.
person digging next to a thick wall of ice covered by a thin layer of soil
Dinosauria and Fossil Aves Footprints from Denali's Lower Cantwell Formation
Denali's Cantwell Formation contains the first record of dinosaurs in the Alaska Range. This record consists of tracks of small, medium, large, and very large-sized theropods, as well as hadrosaurs.
three-toed fossilized footprint on a rock
Melting Denali: Effects of Climate Change on Glaciers
Comparing historic photos of glaciers to modern images provides a springboard for scientists to study the effects of climate change in Denali.
comparison photo of glaciers
Bear Management in Denali
Since a peak of bear-human incidents in 1982, Denali's effective management of food and visitor education aims to keep bears safe from humans, and humans safe from bears.
closeup of a drooling bear
Boreal Blights—What's Happening to the Forest?
The boreal forest is a dynamic place. Disturbances such as fire, flooding, fungal infection, and insect infestation regularly affect individual plant species, or entire plant communities. Learn more about the symptoms of such disturbances, as seen across the Denali landscape.
numerous brown, dead spruce trees among comparatively fewer green, healthy spruce
Bear Monitoring and Management in Denali
Annual Research Update (2016) - For many visitors to Denali, the sight of a grizzly bear is a cherished and exciting moment. But when those bears wander out of site, where do they go? Learn more about grizzly bear monitoring in Denali.
a bear walks down a dirt road
Annual Research Updates (2016) - Glaciers are the enigmatic sculptors of the mountains. They are a sensitive indicator and powerful symbol of climate change. Almost all glaciers across the globe are thinning and retreating in unison from the warming climate. Denali’s glaciers are no exception.
a group of citizen scientist measure ice on a glacier
Monitoring Wildlife and Visitor Use During Denali's Winter Road Opening
Annual Research Update (2015) - In June 2013, the NPS approved a winter plowing plan to open the Denali Park Road about one month earlier than the traditional opening date. As part of the plan, the road is opened to the Mountain Vista Rest Area by mid-February. During the trial, park staff is monitoring soundscapes, wildlife sightings and behavior, and visitor use levels.
a car sits on a snowy road
Wilderness Stewardship and Backcountry Management
Annual Research Update (2015) - In 2014, the National Park Service celebrated the 50 year anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Learn more about what it means to protect the wilderness character of Denali.
two pink flowers stand in front of a lake and Denali
Monitoring Backside Lake
Annual Research Update (2015) - Backside Lake, a lake located on the south side of the Alaska Range, is the only lake in Denali being utilized for commercial float plane landings. Learn more about how the park manages this lake and how visitation may impact it.
clouds hang low over a rocky lake
Making of "At Home in High Places"
Artist Karin Franzen describes the inspiration for a remarkable fabric art piece, "At Home in High Places," she created for Denali's Artist-in-Residence Program.
Biologists in harnesses and helmets examine eagle nest on cliff
Science Summary (2012) - By estimating moose numbers, wildlife managers can understand if the local population of animals can be considered 'natural and healthy.' The information is also used in crafting hunting regulations. Moose populations also indicate the biological integrity of an area.
a moose cow and calf in brush
Fossil Bird Diversity
Science Summary (2012) - The sedimentary rocks of the lower Cantwell Formation in Denali National Park and Preserve harbor a bonanza of fossils from about 70 million years ago. Not only are dinosaur tracks evident, but so are other animals that coexisted with dinosaurs in the Late Cretaceous Period.
three-toed footprints in rock, outlined to help identify them
Learning About Climate Change from Denali's Ice Cores
Science Summary (2011) - Deep ice cores can be a proxy for long-term climate records. Find out how scientists select sites and use ice cores to predict climate change.
Scientist pulling a sled filled with ice penetrating equipment.
Denali's Wildland Fire Ecology
Science Summary (2011) - Have you ever wonder what happens to an ecosystem after a fire? Wildland fire is one of the most influential natural processes shaping the boreal ecosystems of Denali National Park and Preserve.
bright pink flowers grow between burnt trees
Monitoring Climate Change in Denali
Science Summary (2007) - Recent climate warming has already affected Denali’s ecosystems in ways that are readily apparent. Explore this article to discover the ways that Denali has been monitoring climate change.
a climate station sits on a tundra hillside with Denali in the background
Wolf Monitoring in Denali
Denali National Park and Preserve's wolves have been studied by researchers since 1939. Discover what modern researchers are finding during this long-term study of one of Denali's most interesting predators.
a wolf trots down a dirt road
Moose Surveys and Subsistence Users
Moose are an important part of life for subsistence users in Alaska and annual moose surveys allow the park to have a greater understanding of these critical creatures.
a mother moose and her two calves graze on flowers
Mesocarnivore Response to Wolf Presence, Prey Availability, and Snow Pack
What happens in an ecosystem when the abundance of an integral species changes? In March of 2012, Denali biologists noticed an apparent increase in the coyote population as the number of wolves – top predators in the park – declined. Were these changes related? And what ripple effects, such as predation of other species like Dall sheep, might occur as a result?
coyote standing over a dead animal partly buried in snow
Critical Connections: Conserving Migratory Birds in Alaska’s National Parks
Conserving migratory species is one of the greatest challenges facing the NPS, particularly as human activities spread across areas used by migratory animals. Migratory birds nesting in NPS areas present unique conservation challenges because they are influenced by conditions and events in more than one part of the world, including along their migration routes and wintering areas that are often thousands of miles away from their protected breeding grounds.
black and white bird diving into water
Beavers Across Denali’s Hydrologic Landscape
Learn more about nature's chief engineer!
closeup of a beaver
Local Teachers Discover Inquiry-Based Learning During Field Workshop
During the summer of 2015, Alaska Geographic hosted a brand new training that invited Denali Borough School District teachers to discover inquiry-based learning during a week of intensive exploration in Denali National Park and Preserve.
two teachers use a radio antenna to search for a hidden radio collar
What Future for the Wildness of Wilderness in the Anthropocene?
Visionary as it was, the Wilderness Act did not anticipate today’s human-driven, global-scale changes. The idea of preserving wild lands challenges us with the irony that such places, untouched by humans, will only continue through our will to keep them that way. A resolute human purpose is needed to maintain the decision to have areas that are free of human purpose.
aerial view of wolves moving single-file through a snowy forest
Using Ethics Arguments to Preserve Naturalness: A Case Study of Wildlife Harvest Practices on NPS Lands in Alaska
The NPS responsibility to maintain natural wildlife populations is inherently challenging. For example, many animals migrate out of parks either seasonally or long-term. Typically, we collect and analyze data, and then publish our work. However, the answer rarely, if ever, lies solely in the data. Often the question is not even one of biology, but one of values. In these cases, nonscientific tools such as rigorous and transparent argument analyses are appropriate.
bear eating a fish in shallow water
Denali Repeat Photography Project Reveals Dramatic Changes
Discover how repeat photographs help scientists study - and share - the effects of a changing climate on the subarctic landscape of Denali National Park and Preserve.
two images showing the same glacier, which has shrunk over the last 100 years
Reclamation of Mined Lands in Kantishna
How to you restore a creek filled with debris and arsenic, legacies of gold mining from nearly a century ago? Find out with this review of the restoration of Denali's Caribou Creek.
shallow creek flowing through a rocky valley
Science on the Slopes of Denali
Learn how scientists, as well as adventurers, made their mark in learning about North America’s highest peak and the conditions that prevail there.
aerial view of a vast white mountain with numerous glaciers and smaller mountains
Integrated Monitoring of Physical Environment, Plant, and Bird Communities in Denali
How can permafrost impact bird populations?
owl perched atop a small spruce tree
The Hungers of the World: Poems from a Residency
Read three of John Morgan's poems from his poetry collection entitled "The Hungers of the World: Poems from a Residency," written after a stay at Denali.
closeup of a gray colored wolf
A Letter to Ade Murie
Read Kim Heacox's short essay, "A Letter to Ade Murie," written after his 2012 residency in Denali.
painting of a snow-covered log cabin and surrounding mountain scenery
The Questions We Ask: A Tetraptych
Four essays comprise Marybeth Holleman's donation, following her 2012 residency at Denali.
closeup of a caribou with large antlers
Read Nancy Lord's "Wolf," written after her 2010 residency at Denali.
a wolf walking along a dirt road
Long-term Vegetation Monitoring of Burnt Plots
During the summer of 2013, Denali had 14 fires including several large fires with a total of 104,850 acres burned within the park boundary. Based on the fire perimeters it appeared that several Central Alaska Network Inventory & Monitoring (CAKN) vegetation mini-grids (75 total plots) were burned by three 2013 fires in the park.
a wildland firefighter stands in a forest that was burnt 1 year prior to the photo
Creating Defensible Space Around Structures to Protect from Fires
The National Park Service (NPS) fire management program conducts hazardous fuel reduction projects around infrastructure, values at risk or near communities adjacent to park lands in order to provide defensible space and to mitigate wildfire hazards.
a log cabin amidst brush and trees
How Are Permafrost Landscapes Changing?
Science summary (2010) - As global temperatures rise, natural landscapes are being transformed. Landscapes with permafrost soils (frozen for at least two years), such as those in and near Denali National Park and Preserve, are likely to exhibit dramatic changes because the thawing of ice-rich permafrost physically alters the environment.
woman stands in tundra and small shrubs with ground plot and monitoring equipment
Denali Wildland Fire Management and Updates
Denali National Park and Preserve has 3,359,449 acres (out of a total of 6+ million) that are covered by burnable vegetation. Learn more about fires from the previous year and projects that are planned for the upcoming year.
a plume of smoke rises from a wildfire
Wildland Fire Risk and Response in Denali: Why are you cutting those trees?
While fire is necessary for a healthy ecosystem, "Firewise" techniques are used by Denali fire technicians to protect cabins, homes, offices, and visitor centers in the park.
man chainsaws a tree with a log cabin in the background
Large Lakes and Landscape Limnology
How is climate change affecting the largest lakes in and around Denali? Limnology is the scientific study of inland waters, most commonly lakes. To understand ecosystem processes at landscape scales, limnologists have become increasingly focused on the distribution and function of lakes across large regions.
Wonder Lake with Denali in the background
Measuring Ecosystem Contaminants in Denali
Science summary (2010) - Even though Denali ecosystems are still intact, toxic contaminants enter the park from global sources every year. Over time, these contaminants can accumulate in the environment.
two researchers with gloves hold a fish on a table
How dry is it? Fuel Moisture Sampling in Denali
The amount of moisture in different vegetation can give clues to fire managers to determine how likely it is for a fire to start and how it may behave.
fire management staff collect fuel moisture samples
Museum Collections: Preserving Denali's Stories
Exploring the museum collections at Denali National Park and Preserve is like touching history. Eight disciplines, such as biology, art, and history, are represented by more than 370,000 items in the collection.
log cabin museum
Monitoring Slope Motion along the Savage River Loop Trail
Annual Research Update (2015) - The Savage River day use area is a popular destination for many visitors to Denali National Park. The trails and infrastructure in the area receive significant use and are showing signs of downslope motion, trail erosion, and damage to the wooden hiking bridge at the far end of the Savage River Loop Trail. Using GPS to survey monuments along the trail may aid in decision making about future trail maintenance.
a river runs through a valley and under a trail bridge
Toklat River Floodplain Monitoring
Annual Research Update (2015) - The Denali Gravel Acquisition Plan authorizes gravel to be removed from the Toklat River floodplain to support maintenance needs of the Denali Park Road. This requires an understanding of how sediment moves through the river and how gravel removal may affect the flow of the river.
heavy equipment collect gravel on a river bar
White Spruce Cone Production and Seed Viability
Annual Research Updates (2016) - If you turn your head to the skies while walking through Denali's boreal forest you will see clusters of white spruce cones huddled at the top of trees. But how many of those cones contain viable seeds?
two interns use binoculars to count white spruce cones
Denali Climate and Weather Monitoring
Annual Research Updates (2015, 2016) - Climate is a critical sign used to monitor long-term change across the park. In Denali climate and weather station are used to monitor temperature and precipitation patterns across the park.
a climate station stands in the middle of fall-colored tundra
Administrative Overflights Monitoring
Annual Research Updates (2015) - In 2014, administrative aircraft passing through Denali were tracked in order to determine impact on the park's soundscape.
a small plane flies over mountains
Snow Surveys in Denali
Annual Research Updates (2015, 2016) - When people imagine Denali National Park and Preserve in the wintertime, they imagine deep pristine snow covering the landscape. But how much snow does Denali actually get?
a snow covered river
Monitoring and Understanding the Active Igloo Debris Slide
After a large debris slide covered the Denali park road in 2013, park geoscientists have monitored the area to be aware not only the dynamic nature of the Earth in Denali, but also the concerns associated with natural hazards.
people stand next to a large debris slide that covers a snowy road while
2015 Denali Science School Teaches Students about Science in Parks
During the fall of 2015, the Murie Science and Learning Center is bringing Alaskan fifth and sixth-grade classes into Denali for three-day, overnight field trips. During Denali Science School, students are immersed in natural systems and stewardship through hands-on activities and journeys into the park. The program is instructed by skilled Park Service and Alaska Geographic educators working in partnership to create an optimal learning experience
an instructor holds a digital thermometer for a student to read
The Alaska Range and Denali: Geology and Orogeny
Denali is the highest point in North America and boasts one of the tallest vertical faces of any mountain in the world. Discover how this mountain rose to such prominence compared to the rest of the Alaska Range.
huge white mountain reflected in a lake
An Integrated Study of Road Capacity at Denali
A sole road provides access to the interior of Denali. Traffic on it is restricted mostly to buses, with a cap on how many total trips can occur in a summer. Though the limit hasn't been reached, visitation increases annually. In order to evaluate the traffic limits and how traffic impacts wildlife, we have designed a multidisciplilnary study. This research will inform decisions about managing traffic to protect resources and maintain quality visitor experiences.
two green buses on a grassy hill with people standing outside taking photos
Tracking the Movement of Denali's Wolves
By tracking the movements of Denali’s wolves for 30 years, large contributions have been made to the study of wolves -- specifically those within the park boundaries. The park’s wolf population is more fluid and dynamic than had been expected, and wolf numbers vary two- or three-fold, depending on food supply; and years of study have shown that wolves demonstrate their intelligence and impressive physical abilities by occasionally doing something that you least expect.
closeup of a wolf wearing a collar
Changes in the Abundance and Distribution of Trumpeter Swans in Denali
The increase in the population size of trumpeter swans is often hailed as a success story, yet many questions remain about the future of trumpeter swans. Will populations continue to increase and will their distribution continue to expand across interior Alaska? How will global climate change affect nesting habitat and food supplies of trumpeter swans in Alaska? And, how will changes on the winter range and along migration routes affect trumpeter swans in Alaska?
two white birds floating on a lake
Effects of Changing Climate on the Kahiltna Glacier
The Kahiltna Glacier in Denali National Park and Preserve is best known to mountain climbers as a starting point when summiting Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America. Visitors on flightseeing tours are fascinated by its classic moraine stripes and dramatic icefalls. To scientists, however, the Kahiltna Glacier represents a prime opportunity to examine the effects of a warming climate on Alaska glaciers.
snowy mountains behind a vast snowy field with people in it
Howard Zahniser’s Vision of Wilderness
Ed Zahniser describes his father, Howard - principal architect of the Wilderness Act.
three men standing on a mountain top
Research Fellowship Recipients: 2012
Learn about 2012 Research Fellowship recipients
woman in a red shirt and white hat
Research Fellowship Recipients | 2014
Learn about 2014 Research Fellowship recipients.
woman kneeling in water
Research Fellowship Recipients 2013
Read about 2013 fellowship recipients and the studies they chose to conduct throughout Interior and Arctic parks in Alaska.
a woman sitting in a muddy field
Researchers in Residence (MSLC)
Discover the Murie Science and Learning Center's Researchers-in-Residence
woman sitting near a computer screen showing a digitally drawn dinosaur
The Year Everything Changed: The 1972 Shuttle Bus Decision in Mount McKinley National Park
The shuttle system at Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley National Park) is the longest continuously running shuttle system in the NPS. The origins of this bus system tie directly into the big increase in visitation brought about by the 1971 construction of Highway 3, connecting Anchorage and Fairbanks via a shorter route than ever before—and traveling right past the park entrance.
two women stand near a bus on a dirt road
1972 GOP Convention at McKinley Park Hotel
The Alaska Republicans' state convention took place at the McKinley Park Hotel in May 1972, in what is now Denali National Park. At the convention, a State Senator from Fort Yukon named Don Young earned the backing of the Republican Party, and become Alaska's Representative in Congress for more than 47 years.
a man, woman and two children in parkas with heavy fur ruffs
Alaska and Indigenous Peoples Day
In 2015, Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed a declaration making the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples Day. At the time, Alaska became just the second state (after South Dakota) to honor Indigenous people in place of a date traditionally used to recognize Christopher Columbus.
a man in kuspuk holding a piece of paper with a family of alaska natives
Celebrating soils across the National Park System
First in a series of three "In Focus" articles that share insights into the near-universal and far-reaching effects of soils on the ecology, management, and enjoyment of our national parks.
Fossil soils at Cabrillo National Monument reveal marine deposits
Denali Park Headquarters Historic District
Between 1926 and 1941, the expansion of the Headquarters District occurred with the development of master plans designed by Thomas Vint (chief landscape architect of the NPS Western Office of Planning and Design), park labor, Alaska Road Commission (ARC) and the contributions of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The Headquarters District is architecturally significant due to the site planning and design representative of the NPS philosophy of Rustic style.
Denali NPP Headquarters Historic District
Alaska Aviation Safety
In Alaska, small planes are often the best way to get around but flying has its risks. Aviation safety requires more than just a pilot’s skill–it takes all of us. Learn more about aviation to increase the safety of your next park flight.
An NPS pilot in a plane cockpit flying over a turquoise lake
Honoring the Unsung Heroes of the 1913 Summit Expedition: Esaias George and John Fredson
Learn about two lesser-known, but vital, members of the 1913 expedition that became the first to summit Denali! Esaias George, who was Koyukon, and John Fredson, who was Neets’ai Gwich'in, did not make it to the top of Denali, but they were skilled mushers and hunters who provided the crucial freight and basecamp support that helped the trip succeed.
two alaska native men in suits
Wolf denning dates stay constant as the climate warms
Read the abstract and get the link to an article that looks at wolf denning timing related to the onset of spring and the effects of seasonal weather on den success: Mahoney, P. J. K. Joly, B. L. Borg, M. S. Sorum, T. A. Rinaldi, … B. Mangipane, et al. 2020. Denning phenology and reproductive success of wolves in response to climate signals. Environmental Research Letters 15(12): 125001.
An adult wolf with pups.
Bridget Borg - Wildlife Biologist
Bridget Borg is a wildlife biologist at Denali National Park and Preserve where she leads wolf research.
A woman with a tranquilized wolf.
Carl Roland - Plant Ecologist
Carl Roland is a plant ecologist for Denali Park and Preserve and principal investigator for the Central Alaska Network vegetation monitoring program.
Carl Roland in the field.
Jessica Rykken - Entomologist
Jessica Rykken is an entomologist at Denali National Park and Preserve.
A woman stands on an alpine ridge with an insect net
The 19th Amendment, Elizabeth Peratrovich, and the Ongoing Fight for Equal Rights
In Alaska, women's suffrage passed in 1913—seven years prior to the 19th Amendment—and antidiscrimination legislation passed nearly 20 years prior to the major national civil rights bills of the 1960s. In the 1940s, Elizabeth Peratrovich—a Tlingit woman who was Grand President of the Alaska Native Sisterhood—led the charge to end discrimination against Alaska Natives.
gold coin of a raven, a woman's face, and words elizabeth peratrovich anti-discrimination law
Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 16 Issue: Science in Alaska's Arctic Parks
The National Park Service manages five parks that fall partially or entirely within the Arctic tundra biome. These five parks encompass 19.3 million acres of land and constitute approximately 25% of the land area managed by the National Park Service nationwide. These are undeveloped places, with free-flowing rivers and wilderness at a massive scale.
a group of muskox running across a field
Series: Dall Sheep in Alaska's National Parks
Discover the importance of Dall Sheep in Alaska's National Parks
Two sheep rest on a snowy mountain
Series: GIP Participants and Project Highlights [8 Articles]
Participants selected for the GIP program have a unique opportunity to contribute to the conservation of America's national parks. Participants may assist with research, mapping, GIS analysis, resource monitoring, hazard mitigation, and education. GIP positions can last from 3 months to one-year.
Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 10 Issue 2: Connections to Natural and Cultural Resource Studies in Alaska’s National Parks
In this issue: * Science on the Slopes of Mount McKinley * Brown Bear Activity Patterns in Katmai * Attu, A Lost Village of the Aleutians * Using Scenarios to Prepare for Climate Change ... and more!
journal cover showing a brown bear in a field
Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 12 Issue 2: Climate Change in Alaska's National Parks
In this issue: * Status and Trends of Alaska National Park Glaciers * Tracking Glacial Landscapes: High School Science Gets Real * Climate Change Scenario Planning Lessons from Alaska
a hillside overlooking a wide valley filled by a glacier, surrounded by steep mountains
Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 13 Issue 2: Mineral and Energy Development
There’s no denying that energy and mineral extraction have been and will continue to be important across the North for a long time. Mining and energy-related industries provide direct and indirect employment for thousands of people, taxes and other revenues. Our need is for science, engineering, and scholarly research; to develop safe, effective, and affordable technologies; to protect, preserve, and restore the natural and human environment; and to record and communicate our history.
aerial view of buildings and a pier sticking out into the ocean
Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 13 Issue 1: Wilderness in Alaska
This issue includes: * Economics of Wilderness * Using Ethics Arguments to Preserve Naturalness * Busing Through the Wilderness: "Near-Wilderness" Experiences in Denali ... and more!
mountains reflecting into a calm lake, the words 'alaska park science'
Series: Climate Change in Nth California and Sth Oregon
Discover how climate change is impacting national parks sites as varied as volcanoes, caves, coastline and deserts.
Klamath River enters the ocean
Series: Denali Fact Sheets: Biology
Discover the secret lives of animals in Denali!
Series: The Legacy of ANILCA
The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act impacts the National Park Service in many ways. ANILCA stipulates the designation of wilderness, subsistence management, transportation in and across parklands, use of cabins, mining, archaeological sites, scientific research studies and more.
Two men drag a harvest seal from icy blue waters across frozen ice.
Series: Geologic Time Periods in the Mesozoic Era
The Mesozoic Era (251.9 to 66 million years ago) was the "Age of Reptiles." During the Mesozoic, Pangaea began separating into the modern continents, and the modern Rocky Mountains rose. Dinosaurs, crocodiles, and pterosaurs ruled the land and air. As climate changed and rapid plate tectonics resulted in shallow ocean basins, sea levels rose world-wide and seas expanded across the center of North America.
fossil dinosaur skull in rock face
Series: Geologic Time Periods in the Paleozoic Era
During the Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago), fish diversified and marine organisms were very abundant. In North America, the Paleozoic is characterized by multiple advances and retreats of shallow seas and repeated continental collisions that formed the Appalachian Mountains. Common Paleozoic fossils include trilobites and cephalopods such as squid, as well as insects and ferns. The greatest mass extinction in Earth's history ended this era.
fossil corals in a rock matrix
Series: Copper River Basin Symposium - Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve
February 2020: With a theme of Tradition, Science, and Stewardship, the two-day symposium included keynote speakers, 26 short presentations, and a poster session. A panel discussion delved into opportunities in working with indigenous communities. Ahtna elders provided wisdom in daily welcomes, and there was a presentation by Copper River Stewardship Youth. Topics ranged widely from fisheries to archaeology to geology. As well as sharing knowledge, participants shared meals, stories, and ideas.
Copper River Basin Symposium logo by Lindsay and Elvie
Series: National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas
The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geoheritage-conservation.htm">geoheritage</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geodiversity.htm">geodiversity</a> resources and values all across the National Park System to support science-based management and education. The <a href="https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1088/index.htm">NPS Geologic Resources Division</a> and many parks work with National and International <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/park-geology.htm">geoconservation</a> communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available.
park scene mountains
Series: HFC's Digital Media
Immersive 3D Interactive Tours The NPS preserves some of Americaʻs...and objects in person.
Interior view of a saloon. A long white bar with a dark wooden top is to the left of the view.
Series: NPS Environmental Achievement Awards
Since 2002, the National Park Service (NPS) has awarded Environmental Achievement (EA) Awards to recognize staff and partners in the area of environmental preservation, protection and stewardship.
A vehicle charges at an Electric Vehicle charging station at Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Series: Denali History Nuggets
Little-known episodes from Denali's history!
a large dog pulling a woman on a sled
Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 19, Issue 1 - Below the Surface: Fish and Our Changing Underwater World
Alaska has over three million lakes, 12,000 rivers, and an estimated 6,640 miles of ocean coastline. Below the surface swim some of the world’s most abundant, healthy, all-wild fish, including salmon, halibut, and eulachon. Fish sustained Alaska Natives for millennia and continue to represent food and economic security for many people. Alaska Park Science 19(1): 2020
Red-colored salmon swim in turquoise water.
Series: Alaska Park Science, Volume 18, Issue 1, Understanding and Preparing for Alaska's Geohazards
Alaska is the most geologically active part of North America. Much of the awe-inspiring landscapes of Alaska's parks are created by geologic processes. But sometimes, these processes can be hazardous. This issue explores the state of the science to understand geohazards in Alaska national parks. Alaska Park Science 18(1): 2019.
A man jumps down a dune of volcanic ash.
Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 6 Issue 2: Crossing Boundaries in a Changing Environment
This issue covers the proceedings of the Central Alaska Park Science Symposium, held in Denali National Park. Topics include climate change monitoring, landscape and wildlife ecology, physical sciences, fisheries, subsistence, and using science as a tool for park management.
person in a canoe on a misty lake
Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 5 Issue 1: Scientific Studies in Denali
This issue includes studies of Denali's moose, wolves, soundscapes, earthquakes, and more!
huge snowy mountain reflected in a pond
Series: National Park Service Alaska Region Fire Ecology Annual Report Calendar Year 2016
This series offers the summary of the 2016 fire season, inventory and monitoring projects in both Denali and Wrangell-St. Elias National Parks and Preserves, the research and technology involved, and the communication of results.
Fire ecologists, wearing bright yellow-lime rain suits, monitor fire impacts in Denali.
Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 14 Issue 2: Birds of Alaska's National Parks
This issue includes articles exploring birds throughout national parks in Alaska. Particular emphasis is on the changing ways to study birds, and the increasing importance not just on the summer homes of birds in Alaska, but the routes between their wintering and summer breeding grounds.
a great horned own and two large owlets in a nest
Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 14 Issue 1: Resource Management in a Changing World
The following pages describe new approaches to analyzing and presenting resource data to support better informed and more transparent decision making by park managers; first-hand observations of environmental and climate change across widely separated parts of Alaska. They invite our readers to consider the effects of environmental changes, readers to consider the effects of environmental changes, both recent and future.
Canoers on a river
Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 12 Issue 1: Science, History, and Alaska's Changing Landscapes
Science, history and Alaska's changing landscapes. In this issue: * Life and Times of Alaska’s Tundra Plants * Silurian Rocks at Glacier Bay * Using Story to Build Stewardship
wide, tree-less valley leading up to a rounded mountain
Series: Park Air Profiles
Clean air matters for national parks around the country.
Photo of clouds above the Grand Canyon, AZ
Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 17, Issue 1. Migration: On the Move in Alaska
Alaska is home to many amazing animal migrations. In this issue, you will read about caribou, salmon, Golden Eagles, Swainson's Thrushes, beluga whales, and more. Human migrations have also occurred here, from ancient Beringia to the Klondike Gold Rush. You can even read about now-extinct species from the Cretaceous and Pleistocene eras. Enjoy this issue of Alaska Park Science and read about migration. Alaska Park Science 17(1), 2018.
Caribou swim across a river.
Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 10 Issue 1: Connections to Natural and Cultural Resource Studies in Alaska's National Parks
This issue delves into a variety of topics, including: Glaciers in Denali | Prehistoric Tools in Gates of the Arctic | Remnants of WWII battles in the Aleutians | A projection of fire activity based on climate change predictions; and more!
caribou wading through a river, words Alaska Park Science
Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 9 Issue 1: Monitoring the "Vital Signs" of Healthy Park Ecosystems
This issue explores the "vital signs" of parks. The National Park Service's Inventory and Monitoring (I&M) Network studies broad ecological trends throughout parks, and uses those trends, or vital signs, to gauge the health of a park's ecosystem.
man standing in a shallow creek
Series: Alaska Park Science: Volume 8, Issue 2: Park Science in the Arctic
This symposium, the third in a series focused on science and scholarship in and around Alaska’s national parks, is a joint effort with the Beringia Days International Conference. Our theme “Park Science in the Arctic – the Natural and Cultural Heritage of Greater Beringia” is focused on very special places deliberately set aside by nations to preserve their exceptional, natural, cultural, historic, and inspirational significance.
dozens of sled dogs curled up in snow near a handful of people talking to each other
Consider the source: How to build better ecological models
Read the abstract and get the link to a peer-reviewed article on the use of climate models in ecological modeling: Sardoti, G., S. A. McAfee, E. F. Nicklen, P. J. Sousanes, and C. A. Roland. 2020. Evaluating multiple historical climate products in ecological models under current and projected temperatures. Ecological Applications 0(0): e2240.
A researcher walks along a steep talus slope.
Carol McIntyre - Wildlife Biologist
Carol McIntyre is a wildlife biologist at Denali National Park and Preserve.
Carol in Denali.
Cretaceous Period—145.0 to 66.0 MYA
Many now-arid western parks, including Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Mesa Verde National Park, were inundated by the Cretaceous Interior Seaway that bisected North America. Massive dinosaur and other reptile fossils are found in Cretaceous rocks of Big Bend National Park.
dinosaur footprint in stone
Devonian Period—419.2 to 358.9 MYA
The Devonian is part of the “Age of Fishes.” Fish fossils from Death Valley National Park shed light on the early evolution of fish in North America. Tilted Devonian rocks in Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park attest to continued Appalachian Mountain formation.
During the Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago), fish diversified and marine organisms were very abundant. In North America, the Paleozoic is characterized by multiple advances and retreats of shallow seas and repeated continental collisions that formed the Appalachian Mountains. Common Paleozoic fossils include trilobites and cephalopods such as squid, as well as insects and ferns. The greatest mass extinction in Earth's history ended this era.
fossil corals in a rock matrix
The Mesozoic Era (251.9 to 66 million years ago) was the "Age of Reptiles." During the Mesozoic, Pangaea began separating into the modern continents, and the modern Rocky Mountains rose. Dinosaurs, crocodiles, and pterosaurs ruled the land and air. As climate changed and rapid plate tectonics resulted in shallow ocean basins, sea levels rose world-wide and seas expanded across the center of North America.
fossil dinosaur skull in rock face
How weather and climate effect songbirds
Read the abstract and link to an article that describes the short-term impacts of weather and the long-term impacts of climate on northern songbird species: Mizel, J.D., J. H. Schmidt, and C. L. McIntyre. 2021. Climate and weather have differential effects in a high-latitude passerine community. Oecologia.
Bear Events in the Kantishna / Wonder Lake Area of Denali in Summer 2020
The summer of 2020 in Denali National Park and Preserve presented the Wildlife Management team with many challenges, not the least of which was a bear or bears that broke into and damaged properties in numerous locations in the Kantishna and Wonder Lake areas of the park.
a large grizzly bear walking to the right in front of a gray culvert trap near several buildings
Patterns of Pathogen Exposure in Gray Wolves
Read the abstract and link to a new published article on wolf pathogens across North America: Brandell, E. E., P. C. Cross, M. E. Craft, D. W. Smith, E. J. Dubovi, ...B. L. Borg, M. Sorum, ... et al. 2021. Patterns and processes of pathogen exposure in gray wolves across North America. Scientific Reports 11: 3722.
Aerial view of a wolf pack in the snow.
Bear Events in the Savage River Area of Denali National Park and Preserve in Summer 2020
A bear that frequented Savage River and the Primrose area of Denali posed yet another challenge in the difficult year that was 2020. Starting about mid-June, the bear interacted with visitors and staff on numerous occasions, eventually necessitating a robust response from wildlife management staff.
a large brown bear walking on a gravel road
Fire in Ecosystems: Boreal Forest
The boreal forest, also called taiga, is the largest forested habitat in the world, making up one third of the earth’s total forested area. In North America, the boreal forest spreads from Alaska, across Canada, and into the Great Lakes region of the United States. Boreal forests have burned naturally for thousands of years creating a variety of landscapes, or mosaic, with young and old trees living on the landscape.
Aerial view of flaming front in coniferous trees putting off a lot of smoke.
John Sackett: The Alaska Native Legislator Who Helped Bring "Denali" Back
One of John Sackett's many notable achievements includes being the first person to advocate for officially changing the name of North America's tallest peak from Mount McKinley to Denali.
portrait style photo of an alaska native man
Series: Park Paleontology News - Vol. 13, No. 1, Spring 2021
All across the park system, scientists, rangers, and interpreters are engaged in the important work of studying, protecting, and sharing our rich fossil heritage. <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossils/newsletters.htm">Park Paleontology news</a> provides a close up look at the important work of caring for these irreplaceable resources. <ul><li>Contribute to Park Paleontology News by contacting the <a href="https://www.nps.gov/common/utilities/sendmail/sendemail.cfm?o=5D8CD5B898DDBB8387BA1DBBFD02A8AE4FBD489F4FF88B9049&r=/subjects/geoscientistsinparks/photo-galleries.htm">newsletter editor</a></li><li>Learn more about <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossils/">Fossils & Paleontology</a> </li><li>Celebrate <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossilday/">National Fossil Day</a> with events across the nation</li></ul>
park ranger in uniform
Following in the footsteps of giants: Dinosaur tracks in Denali National Park and Preserve
Dinosaur tracks have been found in the Cretaceous Cantwell Formation of Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, since 2005, with new discoveries almost every year. One recently discovered site, “the Coliseum”, shows hundreds of tracks of several kinds of dinosaurs on rocks that are now steeply tilted.
hillside bluff with rock layers in overturned beds exposed
Two for the Price of One
Companion, assistant, confidant, ambassador, host, nurse, cook, secretary, editor, field technician, wildlife wrangler, diplomat, and social director are some of the many roles that people who marry into the NPS perform in support of their spouses and the NPS mission. Although the wives and daughters of park rangers were some of the earliest women rangers in the NPS, many more women served as “park wives” in the 1920s–1940s.
Three members of a family
Dominance dynamics among scavengers
Read the abstract and link to a paper that explores the interactions of wolves, wolverines, coyotes, and foxes for carrion resources: Klauder, K. J., B. L. Borg, K. J. Sivy, and L. R. Prugh. In press, 2021. Gifts of an enemy: Scavenging dynamics in the presence of wolves (Canis lupus). Journal of Mammalogy
A wolverine on a carcass in the winter
Living arrangements between wolves and coyotes
Read a summary and get the link to a published paper that explores how coyote and wolf share territory (or don't): Klauder, K., B. Borg, and L. Prugh. 2021. Living on the edge: Spatial response of coyotes (Canis latrans) to wolves (Canis lupus) in the subarctic. Canadian Journal of Zoology 99: 279-288.
A coyote stands by her den.
What determines the likelihood of seeing wolves in Denali?
Read a summary and link to a paper that describes the factors related to wolf sightings in Denali: Borg, B. L., S. M. Arthur, J. A. Falke, and L. R. Prugh. 2021. Determinants of gray wolf (Canis lupus) sightings in Denali National Park. Arctic 74(1): 51-66.
A tour bus and wolf
Competition and dry site conditions amplify white spruce climate sensitivity
Read the abstract and link to an article on how drought stress and crowding impact boreal white spruce: Nicklen, E. F., C. A. Roland, A. Z. Csank, M. Wilmking, R. W. Ruess, and L. A. Muldoon. 2018. Stand basal area and solar radiation amplify white spruce climate sensitivity in interior Alaska: Evidence from carbon isotopes and tree rings. Global Change Biology 25(3): 911-926.
Monitoring transect in white spruce stand.
Sixty Years in the Life of Denali's Muldrow Glacier (1952 to 2010)
The Muldrow Glacier is a long, surging glacier that descends thousands of feet on the northeastern slopes of Denali, in Denali National Park, which seems to surge, or rapidly increase its movement, roughly every sixty years. Monitoring of the glacier helps scientists understand the nature of glaciers.
huge snowy mountain with two forks of a vast glacier coming together at its toe
The High Alpine Tundra is Surprisingly Rich
Most theories expect greater plant diversity at lower elevations and less diversity in harsher high-elevation locations. We found the reverse is true--in this case. Learn why: Roland, C. A. and J. H. Schmidt. 2015. A diverse alpine species pool drives a "reversed" plant species richness-elevation relationship in interior Alaska. Journal of Biogeography 42(4): 738-750.
A lush green alpine area.
Borealization and its Discontents
Read the abstract and link to a recently published article on the drivers of biodiversity in high-latitude, high-elevation boreal forests in: Roland, C., J. H. Schmidt, S. E. Stehn, C. J. Hampton-Miller, and E. F. Nicklen. 2021. Borealization and its discontents: Drivers of regional variation in plant diversity across scales in interior Alaska. Ecosphere 12(5): e03485.
boreal forest in Denali
Mapping and Monitoring Landscape Changes Using Structure from Motion from Aircraft
Aerial SfM is an accessible tool for mapping and monitoring landscape changes for a wide range of applications and disciplines across parks in Alaska. The success of the Alaska Region aerial SfM system during the first four years of testing and deployment has demonstrated its value to park mangers to address rapidly changing park landscapes. Alaska Park Science 20(1), 2021
A split image showing two different kinds of remote sensing.
An Introduction to Some of the High-flying Technology Used to Study the Movements of Alaska’s Migratory Birds
There are many tools available to study the movements of birds and the technology is evolving rapidly. Explore how satellite telemetry, global system for mobile communications telemetry, archival light-level loggers, and GPS data loggers are used in migratory bird research and what we are learning as a result. Alaska Park Science (20)1, 2021
A gyrfalcon perched on a rocky cliff.
Repeat Photography: A Visually Compelling Tool for Documenting Natural Resource Change
Repeat photography is an effective method to qualitatively and quantitatively assess landscape change over time. From shrinking glaciers to changing vegetation to changes in the built environment, comparing historical and contemporary photos can help us identify specific features or processes that may require more intensive monitoring and research and can serve as a valuable tool for education, outreach, and resource management. Alaska Park Science 20(1), 2021
A historic photo overlaid on a modern image.
Using Aquatic Invertebrates to Measure the Health of Stream Ecosystems: New Bioassessment Tools for Alaska’s Parklands
Aquatic insects are good indicators of stream ecosystem health because they are common, reasonably well understood, easy to collect and analyze, and sensitive to the environment in which they live. We can determine the relative health of a stream by comparing what insects we find to what we would expect to find in a similar healthy stream. This straightforward approach can be used in all kinds of settings and compared across a region. Alaska Park Science 20(1), 2021
A man stands with an insect collection net with Denali in the background.
Unmanned Aerial Systems as a Tool for Natural Resource Applications
The use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) is rapidly expanding as a tool for resource management. Employing UAS to collect data can result in more accurate mapping, decreased cost, and increased personnel safety. Applications of UAS in Alaska parks are demonstrating the benefits and defining best practices for its continued and enhanced use. Alaska Park Science 20(1), 2021
A man in orange waders operates a UAS on a rocky coast.
Using GPS Units to Understand Where Backpackers Travel in Denali National Park
Visitor use in national parks is dynamic. By examining different aspects of visitor use, such as where people go, managers are better prepared to address issues such as potential resource damage and crowding. But learning where people go in a large wilderness park poses some challenges. When backpacking parties used GPS tracking devices, the data clearly showed where they went, how far they traveled, and how long they stayed. Alaska Park Science 20(1), 2021
A backpacker admires a view of Denali.
Making Sound Decisions Using Bioacoustics in Alaska’s National Parks
Animals are continuously immersed in acoustic signals. Acoustic recording devices allow us to extend our sense of hearing to remote places, times, and even frequencies we normally cannot access. By studying the sounds animals make, and the sounds in their environment, we can better understand their conservation needs. Presented here are examples from bats, birds, frogs, and whales. Alaska Park Science 20(1), 2021
A man sets up acoustic recording equipment in the backcountry.
Clues from Glacier Debris: Dating and Mapping Glacial Deposits Since the Last Ice Age in the Western Alaska Range
Moraines are the footprint of past glacier positions and, if the age of the moraine is known, they can record the timing and rate of glacier change. Carefully reconstructed glacier histories are used as archives of past climate change. Cosmogenic isotope exposure dating is a new technique being used in the Revelation Mountains that could tell us about glacier and climate history of the Alaska Range. Alaska Park Science 20(1), 2021
A glacial moraine.
High-definition Laser Scanning for Documenting Cultural Resources
High-definition laser scanning is a recently adopted technology to collect highly accurate and detailed spatial data that can be processed into a three-dimensional digital model. It is a powerful tool to quickly and accurately document historical buildings and sites, which can facilitate conservation and restoration of these cultural resources. Alaska Park Science 20(1), 2021
A scanned image overlaid on a photo.
Series: Alaska Park Science Volume 20 Issue 1 - Parks as Proving Grounds
Parks in Alaska pose special challenges to researchers: they are large, remote, and less is known about them. This makes it all the more important that tools and techniques we use here are practical, effective, and impactful. While researchers often focus on sharing the findings from their work, here we shine a light on the devices and approaches used by researchers with attention to the innovation needed to work in Alaska. Alaska Park Science 20 (1), 2021
A scientist uses a probe on the top of a mountain.
A Tale of Two Spruce
Read the abstract and get a link to a recently published paper: Nicklen, E. F., C. A. Roland, R. W. Ruess, T. Scharnweber, and M. Wilmking. 2021. Divergent responses to permafrost and precipitation reveal mechanisms for the spatial variation of two sympatric spruce. Ecosphere 12(7): e03622.
A boreal forest landscape.
Exploring & Cataloging Denali's Microwilderness
While most visitors don’t come to Denali to see bumble bees or spiders, arthropod species make up more than 90% of wildlife in the park. Grizzly bears, moose, and wolves may get the attention of bus travelers on the park road, but hidden from view in the shrubs, trees, wildflowers, gravel bars, alpine tundra, and snow patches are an amazingly diverse multitude of invertebrate creatures, many of which have yet to be discovered.
iridescent green beetle
Bumble Bees of Alaska: A Field Guide
This field guide to bumble bees will help you identify these abundant and conspicuous pollinators, which are found across most of Alaska. They are well-adapted to cold, harsh climates and live in every habitat where there are flowers offering up pollen and nectar, including forests, shrublands, tundra, wetlands, riparian areas, beaches, and gardens.
a bumble bee perched on tiny pink flowers
How climate changes the timing of wood frog calls
Read the abstract and get the link to a published article on what we learned from monitoring the timing of wood frog calls: Larsen, A. S., J. H. Schmidt, H. Stapleton, H. Kristenson, D. Betchkal, and M. F. McKenna. 2021. Monitoring the phenology of the wood frog breeding season using bioacoustic methods. Ecological Indicators 131: 108142.
Betty Ivanoff Menard's Historic Summit
Celebrating Betty Ivanoff Menard's historic achievement as the first Alaska Native woman to summit Denali!
a woman standing on a snowy mountaintop
Fossil Footprints Across Our Parks / Huellas Fósiles a Través de Nuestros Parques
Join us on a virtual hike to see fossil footprints across our national parks! As we travel back in time, we’ll discover stories of fantastic pasts and learn that fossil footprints are worthy of protection for the future. <br><br> ¡Únase a nosotros en una caminata para ver huellas fósiles en nuestros parques nacionales! Mientras viajamos a través del tiempo, descubriremos historias de pasados fantásticos y aprenderemos que las huellas fósiles merecen ser conservadas para el futuro.
Two primitive tetrapods, looking something like giant lizards walking through desert sand dunes.
The Ruth of the Ruth Glacier
The truth - or something like it - about the name of Denali's Ruth Glacier is tied to Dr. Frederick Cook, a notorious mountaineer who lied about being the first person to summit Denali.
aerial view of craggy mountains overlooking a vasty, snowy glacier
Ynes Mexia, Denali's First Botanist
In the summer of 1928, an unlikely person emerged as Denali's first botanist. At the time, Ynes Mexia had only recently started her journey as one of the great plant collectors in the world.
sepia toned photo of a woman carrying a wooden box of some kind while standing under a tree
Black Spruce Resilience After a Fire
How do fire-adapted species such as black spruce respond after a fire with hotter and drier conditions? Read the results of this recent study: Baltzer, J. L., N. J. Day, X. J. Walker, D. Greene, M. C. Mack, ... J. Barnes, ... C. Roland, ... S. Stehn, et al.. 2021. Increasing fire and the decline of fire adapted black spruce in the boreal forest. PNAS 118(45): e20248721
A boreal forest with black spruce.
Collaboration between NPS Alaska Region Fire Management staff and BLM Alaska Fire Service bolsters national fire response, provides staff opportunities
Successful management of wildland fire is a team effort. National Park Service (NPS) staff in Alaska have formed a unique partnership with the Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service (AFS), which has helped to turn challenges into opportunities, and increased operational efficiency in utilization of helicopters for fire suppression. This partnership has benefited not only Alaska, but also the wildland firefighting effort in several western states.
Helicopter module with BLM, USFS and NPS crew. (Ryan Nessle, NPS)
How Tree Density and Wildfire Impact Ecosystems on the Forest-Tundra Edge
Read the abstract and link to a new paper that looks at ecosystem changes on the boreal-tundra edge due to wildfire and spruce density. Walker, X. J., B. K. Howard, M. Jean, J. F. Johnstone, C. A. Roland, B. M. Rogers, E. A. G. Schuur, K. K. Solvik, and M. C. Mack. 2021. Impacts of pre-fire conifer density and wildfire severity on ecosystem structure and function at the forest-tundra ecotone. PLOS ONE 16(10): e0258558.
Spruce trees and burned trees.
Reducing fire risk – treating, burning, and monitoring fuels treatments in Denali and Wrangell-St. Elias headquarters
Winter or spring is the time to burn piles in Alaska. NPS Alaska Eastern Area fire staff burned woody debris in April that was removed from a fuels treatment site at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Headquarters and Visitor Center thinning project.
Winter or spring is the time to burn piles in Alaska.
Denali National Park and Preserve Wilderness Character Narrative
The Denali Wilderness is a land of paradox. It is inviting and it is terrifying; accessible and remote. Welcoming and isolating. It is an essentially undeveloped wilderness with a road corridor through the middle that brings millions of people to its edge. It is untrammeled, yet managed. Some of the land within its boundaries is well known and studied, but much of it is full of mystery.
Dog sled travel in Denali.
Connecting large ecological datasets and complex models to improve ecological inference
Read the abstract and link to an article that looks at vegetation modeling to understand changes in boreal forests. The paper discusses methods of combining models and datasets. Raiho, A. M., E. F. Nicklen, A. C. Foster, C. A. Roland, and M. B. Hooten. 2021. Bridging implementation gaps to connect large ecological datasets and complex models. Ecology and Evolution 11(24): 18271-18287.
A black spruce forest.
Women in Fire Science - Jennifer Barnes
Jennifer Barnes, regional fire ecologist for the Alaska Region of the National Park Service realized that a job as a fire ecologist combined the best of two worlds – the excitement of wildfire and love of science and ecology.
A woman in a hardhat and fire gear measures a chunk of earth with vegetation on top (duff plug).
How Wolves Respond to Changes in Climate and Prey
Read the abstract and get a link to a paper that describes the dynamics of wolf populations in relationship to caribou populations and snowfall. Borg, B. L. and D. W. Schirokauer. 2022. The role of weather and long-term prey dynamics as drivers of wolf population dynamics in a multi-prey system. Frontiers in Ecological Evolution 10: 791161.
Plan Like a Park Ranger - 10 Tips for Visiting Alaska's National Parks
Planning a visit to the National Parks of Alaska? Check out our top 10 tips and plan like a park ranger.
two people camp next to a glacier
Pillow basalts are named for the rounded shapes that form when lava cools rapidly underwater.
photo of golden gate bridge
The Prescience of Desired Future Conditions
Landscape restoration goals must intersect with deeply imagined park planning to realize the future we want.
Imaginary landscape of blue circle with white, puffy clouds, surrounded by white wispy clouds.
How an Insect Became a National Park Service Superhero
Through the power of partnerships, the Dragonfly Mercury Project elevated the importance of a commonly found insect. It also showed that citizen science can be a potent research tool.
A group of young people surround a man in an NPS uniform holding a net next to a stream
National Park Service hosts first all-women fire crew in Alaska
The 2022 all-women conservation corps fire crew, hosted by NPS in Alaska. The crew is pictured here in Katmai National Park in June 2022.
A group of 7 young women smiles at the camera, with a lake and mountain in the background.
Insect Larvae Identification with Genetic Barcoding
Read the abstract and get the link to a published science article on how genetic barcoding was used to identify an undescribed larvae: Sinclair, B. J., T. Simmons, M. B. Cole, J. M. Webb, and S. Sullivan. 2022. Confirmation and description of the larva of the aquatic dance fly, Proclinopyga Melander (Diptera: Empididae: Clinocerinae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 123(4): 852-861.
A small creek in a boreal forest.
The McKinley Park Hotel Fire
Fifty years ago, during one of busiest weekends of the year, a fire blazed through the old McKinley Park Hotel burning most of the structure to the ground. While all guests and personnel were safe, unfortunately the hotel itself could not be saved.
Black and white photo of the McKinley hotel, with people standing outside
Highways and Hotels: A look at development at Crabbie's Crossing
Mile 231 of the Parks Highway, often referred to as Crabbie’s Crossing, has two major resorts and is a popular starting point for rafters and hikers, and is getting a major face lift with the addition of turning lanes and other enhancements. This has always been a popular area with people; including long before the park existed.
A road sign that reads Crabbie's Crossing.
Central Alaska Glacier Surveys 2022
Preliminary data from spring 2022 measurements of glacier mass balance.
Researchers extract an ice core from a glacier.
Lake Area Change in Interior Alaska Parklands
Read the abstract and link to the paper published in PLOS Climate on the changing lakes in Interior Alaska. Rupp, D. L. and A. S. Larsen. 2022. Surface water area in a changing climate: Differential responses of Alaska's subarctic lakes. PLOS Climate 1(6): e0000036.
A drying lake from above.
Using archival light-level tags to describe the migration corridors and wintering ranges of Denali’s Arctic Warblers
Read the abstract and link to a recent article that describes migratory patterns for the Arctic Warbler: Adams, E. M., I.J. Stenhouse, A. T. Gilbert, J. Boelsma, G. Gress, C. S. Weidensaul, C. Grigsby, E. J. Williams, L. Phillips, and C. L. McIntyre. 2022. The first documentation of the Nearctic-Paleotropical migratory route of the Arctic Warbler. Ecology and Evolution 12(9): e9223.
map of bird migrations
Taking the Pulse of U.S. National Parks
How do we know if parks are healthy? We measure their vital signs, of course! Across the country, there are 32 inventory and monitoring networks that measure the status and trends of all kinds of park resources. We're learning a lot after years of collecting data. Check out these articles written for kids and reviewed by kids in partnership with the international online journal Frontiers for Young Minds.
A cartoon of a ranger taking the pulse of the Earth.
NPS partners with Project Learning Tree for fire ecology workshop
In June 2022, NPS Alaska regional fire ecologist Jennifer Barnes taught at an educator workshop at Denali National Park and Preserve hosted by Project Learning Tree (PLT). It was one of the many educator and continuing learning series opportunities that Barnes has led in Alaska throughout her career. The workshop, held at the Murie Science and Learning Center Field Camp, brought together educators from across the state to learn about the unique fire ecology in Denali National
Several people stand outside in a forested area.
Series: Geologic Time—Major Divisions and NPS Fossils
The National Park System contains a magnificent record of geologic time because rocks from each period of the geologic time scale are preserved in park landscapes. The geologic time scale is divided into four large periods of time—the Cenozoic Era, Mesozoic Era, Paleozoic Era, and The Precambrian.
photo of desert landscape with a petrified wood log on the surface
Guide to the Thomas J. Allen Photograph Collection
Finding aid for the Thomas J. Allen Photographs in the NPS History Collection.
Natural High Points of States in Parks
We all strive to reach new heights whether taking on the physical challenge to climb to the top or armchair-exploring from the comfort of our own home through virtual experiences. Discover the highest natural points in each state that are located within the National Park System, many of which can be visited by hikers, climbers, mountaineers, and drivers who are often rewarded by breathtaking views. Find photos, virtual tours, fun facts, and more on park websites.
Snow-covered mountain elevation
Sledding for Science: Denali's Sled Dog Kennels Celebrate 100 Years of Operation
In 2022, this far north arm of the National Park Service marks a century of patrols, wilderness preservation, and science support.
Denali kennels' centennial litter of puppies
Kantishna Roadhouse History
The Kantishna Roadhouse is the oldest standing building in Denali National Park and Preserve. The Kantishna Roadhouse represents the social history of Kantishna’s 1920s revival as a mining community and is one of the few intact buildings remaining from the historic mining era.
Color photograph of the Kantishna Roadhouse, a two-story log building, in its present-day condition.
How vegetation has changed along subarctic river floodplains
Read the abstract and get the link to an article about how subarctic floodplain vegetation cover has changed over time: Frost, G. V., C. A. Roland, and J. H. Schmidt. 2023. Dynamic disequilibrium: Recent widespread increases in vegetation cover on subarctic floodplains of Interior Alaska. Ecosphere 14(1): e4344.
Comparison imagery of riparian area.
Landslide Risks Along Park Roads Increase in a Warming Climate
Read the abstract and get the link to an article on how climate change is impacting park roads in Alaska: Lader, R., P. Sousanes, U. S. Bhatt, J. E. Walsh, and P. A. Bieniek. 2023. Climate indicators of landslide risks on Alaska national park road corridors. Atmosphere 14(1): 34.
A grade displacement on park road.
50 Nifty Finds #14: Fine Lines
Although Olaus J. Murie never worked for the National Park Service (NPS), his biological research and conservation advocacy had significant impacts on the protection and management of NPS lands, wilderness, and species. His half-brother, Adolph Murie, did work for the NPS and it was their connection that resulted in a small collection of Olaus Murie's sketches becoming part of the NPS History Collection.
Sketch of the side view of a wolf
The McKinley Park Hotel
The 1972 fire at the McKinley Park Hotel occurred at the end of a busy summer that saw a substantial jump in visitation due to the new highway (Highway 3) linking Anchorage to Fairbanks, with Denali being one of the key attractions on the route.
a building on fire
Outside Science (inside parks): Picturing a Changing Climate
Follow us to the backcountry of Denali National Park where a group of young scientists document changes in the landscape.
A group of students backpacking in Denali National Park
Assessing the Effects of Traffic on the Behavior and Viewability of Grizzly Bears
A new study on grizzly bears in Denali will assess changes in bear movement and habitat use along a 30-mile segment of the Denali Park Road. The two-year closure of the western half of the park road provides an unprecedented opportunity to study the before and after effects of high traffic volume on grizzly bears. The study aims to provide park managers with a deeper understanding of how traffic patterns affect wildlife viewing opportunities, animal behavior, and habitat use.