In August, the National Park Service released a long-awaited Draft Vehicle Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. Current management is based on a 1986 General Management Plan that established a seasonal cap of 10,512 vehicles. Leading up to the plan’s release was a multi-year Road Capacity Study that assessed the impacts of traffic volume on wildlife and visitor experience and began modeling traffic patterns. The final plan will guide vehicle use on the park road for the next 15-20 years.
The 318-page draft plan offers three alternatives. Alternative A–No Action would maintain the seasonal cap on vehicles and continue to offer the same transit and tour options for the majority of park visitors. Alternative B–Optimizing Access would maximize ridership on all tour and transit buses and combine a new economy tour onto the current transit buses. Alternative C–Maximizing Visitor Opportunities would promote a range of visitor activities. It would keep tour and transit functions distinct and offer a self-guided economy tour option on separate buses. The road between Eielson and Wonder Lake would be managed for the lowest traffic volume to promote its wilderness values. Both action alternatives would offer Teklanika River and Eielson Visitor’s Center as new premium tour destinations. Notably, commercial authorizations would be issued to retain the day tours operated by Kantishna lodges.
Under Alternatives B and C, the park would dispense with the seasonal 10,512 cap and put in place a system of adaptive management to help park managers determine the carrying capacity of the road. This experimental approach would entail collecting data from indicators–things such as night-time traffic levels and the number of vehicles in a viewshed–to inform the Superintendent’s decision about road capacity for the following year. Additionally, traffic modeling would be used to schedule bus departures and to manipulate the movement of vehicles to avoid crowding at rest stops and wildlife sightings.
Our written comments about the plan echo many of those of the conservation community. For example, adaptive management is complex and costly (each of the action alternatives come with an one million dollar annual price tag); will it adequately protect park resources? Read more at www.denalicitizens.org. As park visitors and our guests you have your own experience to bring to the discussion. Although the comment deadline for the draft plan has passed, we encourage you to follow the outcome.
The collective knowledge, talent, and warm hospitality of our staff are what make our guest experience so memorable.
General staff positions are available for the 2015 season, as well as professional-seasonal positions.
Registered Nurses and EMTs are encouraged to apply for any of our positions.
If you know of someone who would be a good fit in our community, encourage him or her to view the employment pages of our website.
In 1964, the Wilderness Act was signed into law. At the time it protected over nine million acres of federal land according to rigorous standards that represent the highest level of federal land protection in the United States. Fifty years later, 109.5 million acres have Wilderness designation, 52% of those in Alaska, including Denali's original, two million-acre core.
For five days in July 1963, the Executive Council of The Wilderness Society held their annual meeting at Camp Denali. In attendance was a truly impressive list of people well-known for their pioneering work in land and wildlife conservation: Olaus and Margaret Murie, Adolf and Louise Murie, Howard Zahniser, and Sigurd Olson, among others. In the Tundra Telegram from that year Ginny describes what a good show the park put on for the group:
The weather cooperated and so did the caribou migration. A highlight of the meeting was the Friday trip to Eielson Visitor's Center, from which point hikers scattered in all directions, following caribou bands or simply exploring the canyons, ridges, and the Thorofare River bar.