Online Version 2011

Crafting a New Vehicle Management Plan

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 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.

Back to Online Version 2011

The Newsletter of
Camp Denali,
North Face Lodge,
& Parkside Guest House

November 2013

Edited by Jan Tomsen

Illustrations by William D. Berry 

P.O. Box 67
Denali National Park, AK 99755
(907) 683-2290

The enthusiasm of our staff is what makes our guest experience so memorable! 

General staff positions are available for the 2014 season, as well as the following professional seasonal positions: Dinner Cooks, Skilled Maintenance Workers, and Naturalist Guides.

Registered Nurses are encouraged to apply for any of our positions.

If you know of someone who would be a good fit for our organization, encourage him or her to view the employment pages of our website.

If What They Say Is True...

that life

begins at forty

I was premature

My second life -

not second childhood -

no- a whole, real life

began at thirty-eight

when I came here -

here to Alaska -

alien milieu

of wilderness,

strange life-styles,

different ways.

Turned forty-five,

I formalized my adaptation

in a rite-of-passage -

acquisition of

some twenty acres,

strewn with gold.

My summers there,

apprenticeship and mastery,

in part were spent

upon my knees

with chisel, dandelion pick,

trowel and spoons,

in part calf-deep

in icy water,

waders, rubber gloves.

My eyes

turned eagle-sharp to spot

one pin-point fleck

of treasure

to increase my hoard

or, more often, to assist

slow-learner tourists

to a “real” experience...

no salted dirt,

no tall, convenient trough

to stand at comfortably;

success not guaranteed,

but always found.

My forties, fifties, sixties,

early seventies

that second life flowed on.

Three decades plus

wrought changes

in the creek,

the tourists,


All things must end,

(another saying, that),

and so -

I’m on my third life now,

excepting memories.

© Louise Gallop

Used by permission of

Louise Gallop Estate

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