Denali Citizens Council Member Update - November 2018

Denali National Park Winter and Shoulder Season Plan

Planners at Denali National Park are asking the public to answer several questions on how to address potential recreational uses during winter and shoulder seasons at Denali.  The plan is available on the Planning Website at the following link:

The plan defines three seasons:
The shoulder season, starting after Road Lottery and continuing until snow closes the road, then beginning in the spring when plowing activities open the road past Mt. Vista, until May 15th.  
The winter season, starting when snow closes the road at HQ and ending when plowing opens the road past Mt. Vista.
The summer season, Mary 15th until end of Road Lottery, not a subject of this plan.

The planners indicate that little if any visioning has been conducted around shoulder season and winter season recreational activities, and states that the public needs to weigh in on what may be appropriate to do, whilst protecting park resources.

When to provide your input:
You can provide your thoughts and insights by Friday November 30 , 2018 .  
Use the planning website link to provide comments.
This plan was triggered, in part, by the need to address continued winter plowing of the Denali Park Road as far as the Mt. Vista Rest Stop, an activity temporarily approved by EA in 2013.  We understand that the plowing will continue for the season or two . At that point, NPS will need to complete the NEPA process and either continue winter plowing or cancel it.

However, this visioning exercise is MUCH LARGER than the Mt. Vista plowing effort. It is being conducted  outside of the National Environmental Policy Act framework, and covers several regions, including the entrance area and Nenana River, Cantwell and Windy Creek, the Stampede corridor, Kantishna, and both plowed and unplowed portions of the park road within Denali Wilderness. It proposes desired conditions for these regions, including the potential for increased infrastructure in Denali Wilderness and snowmachine use in the additions.

What you can do:
It is important for DCC and our members to reflect on what winter opportunities you would like the park to provide, or not. Please review the questions and provide your answers.

The DCC board has been carefully considering the implications of proposals for increased winter uses of the park, especially in these times of limited funding and cuts in summer services. 
We feel that little data have been collected on current uses or future needs in most of the regions in this plan, beyond the area covered by the Mt.Vista plowing EA.

We also do not know exactly how the park will "roll out" the conclusions based on this exercise, since it is not being conducted in the NEPA framework. We are concerned regarding any policies that will further open the park during winter, especially commercial services, without a robust showing of need and absence of impairment.


Denali Citizens Council     PO Box 78     Denali Park, Alaska    99755