Ptarmigan Tracks

The Newsletter of Camp Denali

Online Version 2023

An Opportunity for Citizen Science

In 2023, Camp Denali worked with the Road Ecology Crew at Denali National Park (DNP) to collect wildlife observation data along the western portion of the Denali Park Road. Naturalist guide staff used NPS-developed software and an iPad to record wildlife observations, including species, behavior and distance from the road. Camp hopes to continue this partnership in 2024, engaging guests in data collection and discussion of wildlife monitoring and ecology.

Additionally we partnered with the Forest Health Program at the State of Alaska Division of Forestry and Fire Protection to deploy two spruce bark beetle traps on-property in Kantishna. As evident in Southcentral Alaska, spruce bark beetles are proliferating further northward as our climate warms. Specimens collected in the traps will be analyzed by Forest Health staff over the winter and can provide a snapshot of conditions in our area. We look forward to monitoring again next year and having conversations with our guests about the tangible impacts of climate warming in Denali.

For decades, Camp Denali has kept an informal record of phenological events such as when the ice goes out on Nugget Pond, when the first wood frogs are heard in the spring, and when the Sandhill Cranes fly over in the fall. One of our winter projects is to begin cataloging these observations in order to build a more formal long-term record and create a database for future observations. Additionally, we plan to use a NPS repeat photography database, as well as Camp’s collection of historic photos, to identify locations that we can revisit and add to the photo record, helping to
document landscape change in Denali.

Particularly while the Park Road remains closed at Pretty Rocks, we are well-positioned to assist with such monitoring. The opportunity to support ongoing research in the park has been rewarding for staff and guests alike. It’s also providing a catalyst for us to tap into our own archives and
to institutionalize some monitoring efforts of our own.

Back to Online Version 2023

© Jenny Golding