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Inspiring Diversity in the Outdoors

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April 22, 2013

In June of this year, nine mountaineers will attempt to become the first all-African-American expedition to climb Denali (a.k.a. Mount McKinley) in Alaska run by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Camp Denali is partnering with NOLS during the expedition. Not only is this team unique in regards to the color of their skin, their goal goes way beyond summiting North America’s highest peak. Their ultimate objective is to inspire people of all colors, young and old, to get more engaged in the great outdoors.

The expedition is hoping to produce a documentary on the team’s journey to the top of North America’s loftiest, most iconic summit. The documentary will increase awareness of the importance of exploring natural environments and make clear that it’s time to invite all races, all ethnicities—all people—to inspirational outdoor playgrounds.

As our nation’s demographics change and our next generation—comprised mostly of people of color—take the reins, their comprehension of the benefits of outdoor recreation to their quality of life and to the stewardship of our wilderness is vital, making Expedition Denali an unprecedented opportunity not only make history, but build a legacy.

For more information, visit Expedition Denali or Kickstarter.


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The Passing of Ginny Wood

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March 09, 2013

Camp Denali founder Ginny Wood, 95, died peacefully last night (around 1:00 am) in her Fairbanks home. Friend Susan Grace sat with Ginny, whose eyes had been closed for days, and noted that in her last moments Ginny opened her eyes suddenly, smiling through them, she took a few more breaths and exited this life. What a long, full adventure for a remarkable woman!

“The wilderness that we have conquered and squandered in our conquest of new lands has produced the traditions of the pioneer that we want to think still prevail: freedom, opportunity, adventure, and resourceful, rugged individuals. These qualities can still be nurtured in generations of the future if we are farsighted and wise enough to set aside this wild country immediately, and spare it from the exploitations of a few for the lasting benefit of the many.” –Ginny Wood


Many stories and episodes from Ginny's remarkable life are recorded in Boots, Bikes and Bombers: Adventures of Alaska Conservationist Ginny Hill Wood by Karen Brewster.

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A Touch of Poetry

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December 10, 2011

This poem was sent to us by Marlene Ruthen.  Her grandson, Neil Garret Ruthen, wrote it recently reflecting on his stay at North Face Lodge two years ago, when he was twelve.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Awakening at the first light of dawn,
breathless with delight  
I stare through the window,
with unbelieving eyes,
for through unveiling curtain of clouds,
natures most treasured jewel
stands for all to see,

I scramble outside,
feeling the
excitement build in my soul
for here I found indescribable beauty,

A gigantic, majestic
behemoth of rock
two towering sky scrapers of shining ice,
gleam with the pinkish glow of early morning light.

I gasp and
take in a breath,
a breath of the crisp spice of conifers,
that warms my body.

I smile at the landscape,
for sharing the secret of natures beauty.

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Denali Dispatch

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.