Vol. XXXV, Fall/Winter 2010
Greetings from frosty Denali!
With temperatures well below zero, this is the time of year when we enjoy slowing the pace down a bit, reflecting upon the year gone past, and getting in touch with all the wonderful folks who have visited our summer home on the tundra. We had a busy summer season, one filled with many wildlife sightings, outstanding hikes, happy guests, and well, downright cool rainy weather. It wasn't the sunniest summer on record, but no matter what mother nature dishes out, Denali still seems to amaze and reward those who make the effort to journey toward the end of the Park Road, settle in for a couple of days, and experience Denali from our point of view.
In addition to the coverage of ongoing issues in Denali and the events of the year, one of our favorite parts of the newsletter is the "Looking Back" section. We hope you enjoy the glimpse of Denali and Camp Denali in the early years.
2010 Season Highlights
Road Rehabilitation Project
Last year we reported on the Denali National Park road widening project between miles 73 and 86. The project began in earnest this year, widening the road in certain sections. The creation of additional intervisible passing pullouts will provide more safe places for buses to pass one another. Park visitors this summer noticed large culverts staged on the sides of the road awaiting installation, as well as heavy equipment, flagging and road cuts where expansion was taking place.
Denali’s new Vehicle Management Plan, which determines the system used to provide visitor transportation into the Park, is set be released in 2012 when the current plan expires. An Enviromental Impact Statement and the Road Capacity Study will be considered. Find out more about road issues in Denali at the Denali National Park website.
Roundup of Projects at the Lodges
The 2010 project season started early after the discovery during a winter visit that the North Face Lodge spring had frozen solid. This caused no small alarm, as it has always flowed freely all winter long, often producing frost crystals a foot long on the inside of the springhouse.
Click here to read the full story.
Fifty Years Ago at Camp Denali
Under the advice of Berle Mercer, a few Camp staff decided to try the feasibility of using pack horses to explore the park. Berle, Ginny, Woody, and Loy Mercer (along with five horses and two mules) pioneered a route from north of the Park Railroad Depot along the base of the Alaska Range to Camp Denali. The roughly one hundred mile route led them through June migrations of thousands of caribou and many river crossings. “Woody, who has waded so many glacier streams, chuckled with glee as our horses carried us dry footed…” wrote Ginny.
....And in a similar chord to current economic times, the number of visitors to Alaska overall was down that year, however, Camp Denali still saw many intrepid guests. The number of station wagon trips bringing visitors in and out of Camp was reduced from three to two per week, despite many travel agencies cautioning against it. Ginny wrote in defense of the decision, “We weren’t seeking ‘Tourists’ anyway. We wanted vacationists looking for an experience in-depth. And that, in the main, are the kind who found their way to Camp.”
Read more from the archives here.