A little more snow and ice-clogged culverts are awaiting crews at Denali National Park and Preserve who are scheduled to begin work Wednesday on opening the Denali Park Road for the summer.
Park officials say the heavier snow is the result mostly of the storms and high winds the area experienced in late February. Crews also are expected to encounter some overflow ice, according to reports received from overflights. The remote weather stations at Toklat and Kantishna are currently reporting 12.4 and 22 inches of snow, respectively.
In addition to removing the winter accumulation of snow and ice, to prevent road damage caused by runoff from melting snow and rain the crews must steam open culverts clogged with ice. They will also repair any damage that occurred over the winter before opening the road for use by the public.
Visitors using the road should expect to encounter snow removal equipment. Please make certain the equipment operator is aware of your presence before attempting to go by.
Updates and pictures of the spring road opening operation will be posted regularly on the park website at www.nps.gov/dena.
Depending on weather and road conditions, the park road could open for travel to the Savage River (Mile 15) by early April. The road could be open for travel to the Teklanika River Rest Area (Mile 30) by mid to late April. Visitors are advised to contact the park to confirm the opening dates before their trip.
Access to park areas west of headquarters for snowshoeing, mushing, cross-country skiing, and other seasonal recreational activities is available on the Spring Trail, which runs south of, and parallel to the park road. Due to the new alignment of the kennels access road, a temporary trailhead for the Spring Trail has been established at west end of the headquarters (flagpole) parking lot.
The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) at Mile 1.3 is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily as the winter visitor center, providing information and backcountry permits. Ranger-led snowshoe hikes are taking place on Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at least through Sunday, March 27. The walks will continue on April weekends as long as snow conditions are favorable.
The Riley Creek Campground at Mile 0.2 is open, but water and sewer services will not be available until later in the spring. A vault toilet is provided for campers, and water can be obtained at the MSLC.
Denali National Park and Preserve collects an entrance fee year-round. The entrance fee of $10 per person or $20 per vehicle is good for seven days. The majority of the money collected remains in the park to be used for projects to improve visitor services and facilities. Interagency Federal Recreation Passes such as the Annual, Senior, and Access Pass, and the Denali Annual Pass are also valid for entry into the park.
Additional park information can be obtained by calling (907) 683-9532 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily or on the web at www.nps.gov/dena.