by Sue Deyoe ~ December 7th, 2010
The National Park Service has extended the public comment period for the environmental assessment considering the allocation of mountain climbing permits for commercial guiding operations.
The comment period now ends December 13th. The park website was undergoing server maintenance and it left the site inaccessible for several days. NPS public spokesperson, Kris Fister, wrote in an email that they wanted to ensure that the public has adequate time to comment.
The environmental assessment will examine the level of commercially guided climbs on Denali versus independent climbers and what impacts there would be if amount of guided climbs would increase. The backcountry management plan provides for an exact number of guided groups versus those that go up the mountain on their own. Guided climbs have grown in popularity over the years and the park service, by law, in order to change the backcountry plan, needs to examine the rules and open it for comment before the plan changes