by Phillip Manning ~ July 11th, 2013
The Park Road in Denali National Park will be open for part of the upcoming winter. According to the National Park Service, the road will be plowed beginning in mid-February as far as Mile 12. Currently the Park road remains closed past Mile 3 until around the beginning of April.
The Park Service says that the earlier plowing will allow visitors the opportunity to view Mt. McKinley as well as experience more of the winter landscape of the Park. Kris Fister, spokesperson for Denali National Park, says that the Park had received inquiries about opening the road earlier, including from commercial tour operators. She says the change in the snow removal schedule is estimated to cost $25,000 in additional fuel and vehicle maintenance, and that no additional staff will be required.
With the National Park Service experiencing budget cuts as a result of sequestration, Fister points out that the early plowing is contingent on the availability of funding.
The new road schedule will begin with a three to five year trial period, during which the Park Service will determine whether interest and additional revenue warrant making the plan permanent.