Posted By: Sarah
October 11, 2012
There are a number of things we are proud of at Camp Denali and North Face Lodge: our fine cuisine, unparalleled views, unique lodging, our longevity (60+ years). But one of the things we are most proud of is our staff. To quote one of our guests, “Although it is impossible to beat the beauty of this place, the staff are your next best asset. Their knowledge and enthusiasm were unbeatable and most enjoyable.”
Our small community of 48 staff members live, work, and play in the heart of Denali. When you arrive at our lodges, each and every staff member is there to help and welcome you into the community. Whether it’s a staff member you see or don’t see, each person works a number of jobs to help make the guest experience a memorable one.
The first staff members you meet are our naturalist drivers, whose responsibility is to provide an introduction to Denali National Park and drive safely on the one lane, gravel road 90 miles into our lodges. Upon arrival, our hosts are waiting to welcome you. They strive to make you feel at home and offer assistance during your stay. The next morning is the first of many delicious meals; our cooks and bakers craft by hand each of our fine breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. The servers deliver these meals to you and help to satisfy your appetite. After breakfast, our naturalist guides take you out to experience the park firsthand; sharing their knowledge of the wildlife, geology, botany, or history of Denali National Park.
Behind the scenes, there are a number of staff members working. The housekeepers: who help meticulously clean and prepare your room or cabin, making it a space of comfort and retreat. The greenhouse crew: growing and cultivating greens for the meals. The operations staff: fixing, building, and checking that everything runs as it should. We all chip in with duties like washing dishes and vehicles. Each person contributes to the community, making it a well-oiled machine.
The scope of talent in our staff ranges in fields, degrees, and education from just graduated high school to those with a doctorate. The age range represented is between 19 and 70. They migrate to Denali from places as close as Fairbanks or as far away as New Zealand or Antarctica! Some staff have been returning for twenty plus summers, others are fresh faces offering a new perspective. A few of our guests have even loved their experience so much they joined our staff!
On days off you will find the staff out enjoying and appreciating this place we are privileged to call home: hiking, backpacking, rafting, canoeing, biking, socializing, berry picking, swimming, playing games, or just basking in the beauty.
Wherever our staff comes from, whatever their position, and however long they stay, they are an integral part in supporting our mission to “Provide active learning experiences and foster stewardship of the natural world through a tradition of excellence, community, and place.” We hope you have the opportunity to join our small community some summer as a guest or perhaps, one of our staff.
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It is our pleasure to present Dispatches, a journal of the goings on at Camp Denali & North Face Lodge. Written by members of our staff, Dispatches is an opportunity to peek into the special sightings notebook, brush up on Denali National Park issues, read about our ongoing projects in sustainability, and maybe get a whiff of what’s cooking in the kitchens. Dispatches will carry on through the winter, when we hope to share stories of snowy ski adventures, deep cold, and the events of a small Alaskan community.