Denali's Green Buses
One of the things I was taught during my AP days was to fight the urge to write that something is "the first," "the best," "unequaled anywhere else," or words akin to those, unless you know damn well know whether what you're about to write is 100 percent accurate.
And so when I was writing about Acadia's shuttle system expansion the other day I smartly stuck in an "I believe" qualifier when writing that Zion had the Park Service's first shuttle system.
Good thing, because it didn't take long for the Park Service folks up in Alaska to set me straight: Denali National Park and Preserve has offered shuttle service via its ubiquitous green buses since ... 1972.
"The shuttle system was started when the main highway between Anchorage and Fairbanks was completed, and the park anticipated a crush of cars on the narrow, 90-mile, dead-end park road. The Alaska Railroad had been the historic access," John Quinley, the assistant regional director in charge of communications for the NPS's Alaska Region, said in breaking the news gently to me. "Today, the railroad again provides transportation for a high percentage of visitor arrivals, so since they come without cars the bus systems are their main way of moving around."
And we're not simply talking about a shuttle bus that takes you from point A to point B. Denali offers "camper buses" if you're heading to a campground or backcountry trek, entrance area shuttles, interpretive shuttle buses, and buses for hikers.
Some of these bus rides are free, others require a small fee. To bone up on these options before your next trip to Denali, check out this page.