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Denali National Park

Denali National Park






Description of Denali National Park

Location: Healy, Alaska

Area: 6,075,107 acres (24,585 km2)


Denali National Park and Reserve is located in inland Alaska and covers an area around Mount Denali (McKinley until 2015), the highest mountain in North America. The park covers an area of 24,585 km². Christopher McCandless is famous for having lived in it for 4 months, surviving completely alone, before dying. The Alaska mountain range runs through the park and comprises several of Denali's ecosystems. It lodges the Denali mount, the highest of the United States with 6194 meters above sea level, and is therefore one of the Seven Summits. Due to its proximity to the Arctic Circle, its ascent poses extreme difficulties for climbers, despite not being one of the 100 highest peaks in the world. Due to its different altitudes, the park presents several plant zones. Forested areas are rare, with the exception of some southern flat areas near Wonder Lake. In fact, most of the park is composed of tundra. The most frequent trees are spruces and willows, which due to the mineral conditions of the place do not usually develop fully. Cranberries and bison cherries are not rare, and are the basis of the diet of the park's bears. There are also 450 species of flowers, which can be seen mainly in summer, such as the goldenrod, the epilobium, lupine, scilla or gentian.




Fees and permits
Individuals entering the Denali National Park must pay a $10 fee, good for seven days. A vehicle entrance fee is $20, also good for seven days.

There are several passes for groups traveling together in a private vehicle or individuals on foot or on bike. These passes provide free entry at national parks and national wildlife refuges, and also cover standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. These passes are valid at all national parks including Denali National Park:

The $80 Annual Pass (valid for twelve months from date of issue) can be purchased by anyone. Military personnel can obtain a free annual pass in person at a federal recreation site by showing a Common Access Card (CAC) or Military ID.
U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over can obtain a Senior Pass (valid for the life of the holder) in person at a federal recreation site for $80, or through the mail for $90; applicants must provide documentation of citizenship and age. This pass also provides a fifty percent discount on some park amenities. Seniors can also obtain a $20 annual pass.
U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities can obtain an Access Pass (valid for the life of the holder) in person at a federal recreation site at no charge, or through the mail for $10; applicants must provide documentation of citizenship and permanent disability. This pass also provides a fifty percent discount on some park amenities.
Individuals who have volunteered 250 or more hours with federal agencies that participate in the Interagency Pass Program can receive a free Volunteer Pass.
4th graders can receive an Annual 4th Grade Pass that allows free entry for the duration of the 4th grade school year (September-August) to the bearer and any accompanying passengers in a private non-commercial vehicle. Registration at the Every Kid in a Park website is required.
In 2018 the National Park Service will offer four days on which entry is free for all national parks: January 15 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), April 21 (1st Day of NPS Week), September 22 (National Public Lands Day), and November 11 (Veterans Day weekend).

Fees can be confusing for Denali National Park. First of all, there is no park entrance station. As you begin to drive the Park Road, you are greeted by a gigantic sign that says "Denali National Park," but you will not be stopped until the staffed gate at mile 15 which is the limit people can drive with their private vehicle. If you drive up to that gate, you will simply be asked to turn around.

Fees within the first 15 miles of the park, while required, are done pretty much on the honor system. If you stop in the visitor center and ask, "Do I need to pay an entrance fee?" The answer is, "Yes." However, if you had kept driving, nobody will check to see if you've paid.

"How then," you may ask, "does the park collect its entrance fees?" Well, if you buy a bus ticket (the only way to get on the park road past mile 15), or if you stay in a campground, you will automatically be charged an entrance fee. More than 90% of the visitors who enter Denali take a bus at one point or another.




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