When we purchased Camp Denali from its founders, we bought more than a business. We inherited a trust to live lightly with the land, so that park visitors could experience simple living without destroying the wilderness setting they had come to explore. So, when we acquired North Face Lodge, it was not because we wanted to expand.
By 1987, business opportunities within the new parkland established by the Alaska Lands Act of 1980 had caught the imaginations of a few entrepreneurs. The idea of a major resort in the Wonder Lake region in view of Denali, which had been blocked in the 1960s, reared its head once more. Trouble was that this time the most desirable plot of land didn’t belong to the National Park Service; it was for sale– a private inholding in the park’s new geographic heart. The land’s development was clearly a threat to the park’s wilderness legacy, and it lay directly below Camp Denali.
We tried to find a way to return the broken business and crumbling infrastructure to tundra. In the end, with the support of many former Camp Denali guests, North Face Lodge became ours to nurture back to health, beginning with a renovation that retained its capacity and footprint on the land. Twenty-five years later, the fellowship and values that staff and guests alike have contributed and received at this small north country inn have generated a unique following. Most significantly, the North Face Lodge story has contributed to the legacy of stewardship we inherited at Camp Denali over sixty years ago.
-Wallace and Jerryne Cole, Fall 2012
Illustrations by William D. Berry and Amanda P. Devine
P.O. Box 67
Denali National Park, AK 99755
The enthusiasm of our staff is often what makes the guest experience so memorable. 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, www.campdenali.com. General staff positions are available for the 2013 season, as well as the following professional seasonal positions:
**Registered Nurses are encouraged to apply for any of our positions.
Denali is what America was; it’s the old and new, the real and ideal, the wild earth working itself into us on days stormy and calm, brutal and beautiful, unforgiving and blessed. It’s where we came from, long before agriculture, television and designer coffee, before our goofball ideas of having dominion over all living things, before our modern, paradoxical definitions of progress and prosperity, and too much stuff; it’s the lean, mean, primal place buried in our bones no matter how much we might deny it, no matter how fancy our homes, how busy our routines, how cherished our myths. Denali resides in each of us as the deep quiet, the profound moment, the childhood lost and found again, the open space and rare chance to be observant, truly alive.