Thursday, April 23, 2009

Denali Park Road to Open to Mile 30 on Friday, April 24

The American Alpine Institute just received the following email from Denali National Park:

Mild spring weather has facilitated the efforts of the National Park Service road crew and other park employees to open the road and park facilities to park visitors. The portion of the Denali Park Road between the Savage River (Mile 15) and the Teklanika River Rest Area at Mile 30 will open for travel by private vehicles at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, April 24, weather permitting. Visitors are encouraged to call ahead for updated road and weather conditions before driving to the park.

Motorists should expect to encounter snow, ice, and mud on some portions of the road, particularly shaded areas. Please be alert for heavy equipment being used in road opening operations and park personnel working on the edges of the road. There are vault toilets at the Savage River parking areas and chemical toilets at the Teklanika River Rest Area for visitor use. Other facilities west of the park headquarters, including campgrounds, are scheduled to open mid-May.

The road will be open to Mile 30 through Tuesday, May 19. Beginning on Wednesday, May 20 the shuttle bus system will provide access beyond the Savage River to as far west as the Toklat River (Mile 53). The first fifteen miles of the park road will continue to be open for travel by park visitors in private vehicles throughout the summer season.

Snow conditions for skiing and mushing have deteriorated, but there is still good snow on north-facing slopes. Visitors have reported numerous wildlife sightings, including lynx, wolves, caribou, moose, Dall sheep, ptarmigan, golden eagles, and snowshoe hare.

Visitor information and backcountry permits are available at the Murie Science and Learning Center (Mile 1.3) from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. The Riley Creek Campground is open for free camping until May 15, but water and sewer services are currently not available. A vault toilet is provided for campers in the open loop, and water can be obtained at the Murie Science and Learning Center.

Denali National Park and Preserve collects an entrance fee year-round. The entrance fee of $10 per person or $20 per vehicle is good for seven days. The majority of the money collected remains in the park to be used for projects to improve visitor services and facilities. Interagency Federal Recreation Passes such as the Annual, Senior, and Access Pass, and the Denali Annual Pass are also valid for entry into the park. Visitors can pay entrance fees and purchase passes at the Murie Science and Learning Center.

Additional information can be obtained by calling the park at (907) 683-2294 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily or on the web at

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