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  • Day23

    Denali National Park and Preserve

    June 7, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 9 °C

    Today was spent touring Denali National Park. We took the Wilderness Tundra bus tour which was about 8 hours long.

    Denali National Park and Preserve has just one road, called the Denali Park Road, and it is the only way in and out. The road is 92 miles long, and only the first 15 miles of it are paved. That paved portion, leading from the park entrance to Savage River, is open during the summer for public vehicles to drive, which is why we did a tour so that we could go deeper in the park. The remainder of the road is packed gravel and there are no guard rails. We traveled about 2/3 of the 92 miles. Today, 100 years ago, the 1st party to set foot on the highest part happened. At this moment, there are 500 climbers on the mountain.

    In 1917, Congress created this park for one main reason: to protect Dall sheep and was called Mt. McKinley. In 1906 gold was being mined by approximately 2000 people. Dalo sheep were in abundance in this area and were hunted to provide food. In 1980 Congress expanded the park boundaries and added other reasons for its existence, including protection of North America's tallest mountain (now called Denali) and to provide a place for wilderness recreation. The word "Denali" means "the high one" in the native Athabaskan language and refers to the mountain itself. Denali is a huge park (more than 6 million acres), but has very few trails. This is intentional - to preserve wilderness recreation.
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