Just as important as the participation of the owners in the day-to-day operation of the business, is the tremendous effort of 42 summertime staff and four year-round staff that the lodges require for their smooth functioning. Our seasonal staff comes from throughout Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawai'i, and abroad. In the off-season, they may be found on the local pond hockey rink, at the South Pole, and anywhere in between in the pursuit of travel, education, work and fun. Working at Camp Denali and North Face Lodge is not for the faint of heart; it requires a commitment to work hard and be a participatory member of a small, close-knit, self-sufficient community. We find ourselves grateful year after year to work alongside of such a diverse, interesting, and dedicated group of individuals.
Hannah grew up with a special love and respect for national parks, having grown up in the small town of Gustavus, Alaska. Spending winters at Lewis & Clark College in the city of Portland, Denali offered an opportunity to escape the busy city life, and the chance to follow in the footsteps of her grandparents, who worked at Camp some 50 years ago. Like her grandparents, Liz & Bill Berry, Hannah came to work at Camp Denali for both her own enjoyment and to aide in the wilderness experience of others. Inspired by the artwork of her grandfather Bill Berry at a young age, Hannah herself became an artist. Where Bill found his muse in the critters that roamed the tundra, Hannah became fascinated with the faces that surrounded her. She recently graduated from college with a degree in Studio Arts, and finds life at Camp Denali to be a good chance to reflect on her future endeavors. On her days off she can be found out in the park hiking with fellow staff members, or on the porch of her cabin with watercolors and pencils, thriving on the inspiration she gets from the beautiful landscape and the simple lifestyle.
We are fortunate to work with a hardy few who have committed to brave the cold, dark days and nights of winter to work with us year-round. These four are essential to our business, and the people whom you will most likely speak with when calling our office. On any given winter morning, you would see them out at -20F, bundled beyond recognition, as they bike, ski or walk their way to our winter office in the protracted darkness. As business owners, we feel extremely fortunate to be able to attract a few good people to work with us year-round who, like we do, feel privileged to live and work in the heart of the Alaska Range, on the edge of this magnificent wilderness park.
Growing up in Minnesota was neither remote nor cold enough; Katherine has always felt the draw of the Far North. After seven summer seasons at Camp Denali and North Face Lodge, she has now joined the year-round staff as Program Coordinator to enjoy the sub-arctic winter months as well. With an academic background in Soils Science from the University of Minnesota, Katherine has a fascination with permafrost and northern ecosystems. During the summer she enjoys working as a naturalist and bus driver, sharing her enthusiasm for natural history with guests while leading hikes through the wilderness of Denali.
Jan joined the year round staff in 2009, after six summers of working a variety of roles at Camp Denali and North Face Lodge. She might be the friendly voice who greets you on the phone, replies to emails, or, while working as a naturalist in the summers, volleys a wide range of questions about her favorite subject, waterfowl. Jan grew up in Alaska, and studied wildlife biology as well as teaching at the University of Alaska. She has also studied and skied around Svalbard, but prefers the wilderness of her backyard in Denali, with rugged peaks, peaceful valleys, chickadees, and spruce trees.
Sarah "settled" down in Alaska in 2011 after a summer experiencing and appreciating all things big and small in Denali. She graduated college with a Business Degree in 2007, and since then has set out to see the world outside of a cubicle. Living the life of a seasonal wanderer and working in places like Yellowstone, the North Cascades, Lake Tahoe, and the Sonoran Desert. In summer, you will find her frolicking barefoot in the tundra, picking berries, or relaxing in the bask of the mountains. When life slows down in winter, she enjoys exploring new hobbies like photography, painting, knitting, learning an instrument, or enjoying a fine cup of tea.
Martha McPheeters arrived in Alaska for the first time in February 2006 for an interview, and returned shortly thereafter to fulfill the Personnel Coordinator position. Her various experiences in academia, instructing for adventure challenge organizations, and administration of outdoor programs come in handy as she pieces together the staffing and scheduling puzzle for the lodges. In the summers, she guides guests on day hikes in addition to filling the Personnel Coordinator job responsibilities. Paddling canoes and kayaks on any available water continues to improve her enjoyment of the ice-free season in Alaska. During the long, cold, dark winters, Martha thoroughly enjoys the introspective time provided as well as getting outdoors regularly for cross country skiing, ice-skating, and skijoring.
Each May when we swing into high gear, one of the great joys is always the opportunity to welcome back returning seasonal staff, as well as the chance to meet the newcomers in person, and introduce them to this park that we all call home for part or all of the year.
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