For those of you lucky enough to be in Denali National Park and Preserve in September, it's time to start thinking about entering the annual lottery for permits to drive the park road.
This year's road lottery will take place on September 17, 18, 19, and 20 (Friday through Monday), weather permitting. Each day, 400 vehicles using their day-long permits, obtained through the lottery system, may travel the Denali Park Road. If weather permits, the road might be open for its entire 92-mile length, offering exceptional opportunities for experiencing the heart of the park.
Beginning on June 1 and continuing until midnight (East Coast time) on June 30, an online entry form for the road lottery will be available at https://www.pay.gov/paygov/forms/formInstance.html?agencyFormId=20930258. The entry fee payment of $10 must be made by credit card. This webpage will not be active until June 1, so don't try to rush things. Users attempting to access it before June 1 or after June 30 will receive an error message.
Entries will also be accepted by mail. Please be certain that:
• A legible return address, including a first and last name (this is needed for notification) is on the envelope.
• Your desired dates, in order of preference, are on the back of the envelope. If no dates are provided, dates of September 17, 18, 19, and 20 will be assigned in that order.
• A check of money order for $10, made payable to the “National Park Service”, is included. This fee is non-refundable.
Only one entry per person is allowed, and duplicate entries will be disqualified. Entries received without the $10 fee will be returned. Entries should be sent to:
Denali National Park and Preserve
P.O. Box 9
Denali Park, AK 99755
Entries done via regular mail must be postmarked between June 1-30, 2010 and must arrive in the park by July 7 to be included in the drawing. Submit entries early to make certain they arrive in time! Entries that arrive after the drawing will be returned. The names of individuals selected for permits will be posted on the park website at www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/road-lottery.htm by July 15.
Everyone who submits an entry will be notified by U.S. mail regarding the status of their entry. Those who are selected for permits will also receive a letter confirming the day of their permit, with additional information on how to obtain the road permit and how to prepare for their visit to the park. A $25, non-refundable Road Lottery Fee must be paid on the day the permit is picked up at the park. In addition, permit holders must pay the park entrance fee of $20 per vehicle unless they have a federal recreation pass such as the Denali Annual Pass or the America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass (Annual, Senior, Access, or Volunteer).
Permits are transferable, i.e. the person who was awarded the permit can give it to someone else if they are not able to participate that weekend.
The possibility of inclement weather in September is always a factor. Some years the road has only been partially open because of snow. Lottery participants are encouraged to visit the park website for updated road and weather information the day before or the morning of their permit.
The Riley Creek, Savage River, and Teklanika River campgrounds will be open through the weekend, weather permitting. Campsites are not included in the road permit, but can be reserved in advance via www.reservedenali.com or (800) 622-7275. Information on campgrounds and accommodations outside the park is available through the Denali Chamber of Commerce at www.denalichamber.com or (907) 683-4636.
Lottery information is available on the park website at www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/road-lottery.htm or by calling park headquarters at (907) 683-2294 from 8 a.m. -4:30 p.m. daily.