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denali facts

Superintendent: Don Striker

 

Established:

Feb. 26, 1917 (as Mount McKinley National Park)

Dec. 2, 1980 (increased in size and name changed to Denali National Park and Preserve)

Aug. 28, 2015 (name of mountain officially changed from Mount McKinley to Denali)

 

Size

Park              4,704,911.16 acres              7,407.7 sq. miles                      1,917,808 hectares

Preserve       1,334,117.80 acres              2,084.5 sq. miles                      539,896 hectares

                     6,075,028.96 acres              9,492.2 sq. miles                      2,457,704 hectares

 

For comparison, New Hampshire = 9,351 sq. miles and Massachusetts = 10,555 sq. miles

 

Wilderness Designation (99 percent of original Mount McKinley National Park):

• 2,146,270 acres

• 3,353.6 sq. miles

 

Visitation

2017: 642,809

2016: 587,412

2015: 560,757

 

Effects of 2017 Spending:

$632 million Visitor Spending

Jobs: 8,154

Economic Output: $924 million

Base Budget: $14.8 million

 

NPS Staffing

Permanent: 124 Term: 16 Seasonal: 126 Volunteers: 772 Youth Conservation Corps: 7

 

Campgrounds RVs or tents: 3 campgrounds (232 sites) Tents only: 3 campgrounds (42 sites)

 

Roads and Trails Length of Denali Park Road 92 miles / 148 kilometers

Paved section 14.8 miles / 23.8 kilometers

Constructed trails 35.5 miles / 57.1 kilometers

 

Landmarks and Elevations

 

Denali Visitor Center                                                      1,746 feet      532 meters

Polychrome Overlook                                                      3,700            1127

Highway Pass                                                                 3,980            1213

Eielson Visitor Center                                                      3,733            1138

Wonder Lake Campground                                               2,055            626

Mount Foraker                                                                17,400          5303

Lowest point (Yentna River at boundary)                           223              68

Denali South Peak                                                           20,310         6190 

North Peak                                                                     19,470         5934

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Wildlife Species

  • Amphibians: 1 (wood frog)

  • Mammals 39

  • Birds 160 species recorded, 123 documented as breeding, and 15 recorded as accidental

  • Fish 14 (including three salmon species)

  • Reptiles None

 

Flora

  • Vascular plants: 758 species documented

  • Tree species: 8

  • Approximately 600 species of mosses, lichens and liverworts currently listed Erioderma pedicellatum, a lichen discovered in 2007, was previously known only from limited areas in Scandinavia and southeastern Canada. It is currently classified as Critically Endangered.

 

Paleontology

  • Paleontologists found the first dinosaur bones in Denali National Park and Preserve during an expedition in July 2016.

  • Thousands of trace fossils (tracks, foot or body prints) have been found since the first discovery of dinosaur prints in 2005, all dating from 65-72 million years ago. They include theropods, hadrosaurs, ceratopsians, and pterosaurs.

  • Myirospirifer breasei, a species of extinct marine brachiopod that has been found only in Denali, is named after Phil Brease, park geologist from 1986 until his death in May 2010.

 

Lakes and Streams

  • There are approximately 12,206 lakes and ponds in the park and preserve; and 18,679 miles of streams

  • Largest is Chilchukabena Lake: 2.6 miles long, 2 miles wide, 2,056 acres

  • Wonder Lake: 2.7 miles long, 1/2 mile wide, 649 acres, 280 foot maximum depth

 

Glaciers

  • 15.5 percent of park’s land area is covered with glaciers

  • Largest: Kahiltna Glacier on the south side of Alaska Range (45 miles/72.4 km long)

  • Largest on north side of Alaska Range: Muldrow Glacier (34 miles/54.7 km long)

  • Deepest measured glacier: Ruth Glacier, 3,805 feet or 1160 meters

 

Permafrost

  • Permanently frozen soils underlie about 50 percent of the park's landscape, and most of the low elevation northern portions of the Park and Preserve host continuous permafrost.

  • Recent modeling (Panda et al. 2014) suggest that a warming climate over the next 100 year will reduce the extent of permafrost coverage to less than 1 percent of of the landscape.

 

Weather

  • Average annual precipitation = 15 inches / 380 mm (park headquarters)

  • Wettest months are July, August, and June (in that order)

  • Average annual snowfall = 79 inches/201 cm (park headquarters)

  • Coldest temperature recorded at headquarters: -54° F/-48º C, Feb. 5, 1999 Coldest year on record: 1956

  • Highest temperature recorded at headquarters: 91° F/33º C, June 22, 1991

  • Warmest year on record: 1926

  • Average January temperature: 2.0° F/-17º C Average July temperature: 55° F/13º C

  • Shortest day (Dec. 21): 4 hours, 21 minutes of daylight

  • Longest day (June 21): 20 hours, 49 minutes of daylight

Earthquakes

  • Average number per year within park boundaries: about 3,000

  • Depth: 60 percent between 0-20 km — the deepest are at approximately 200 km Largest recent earthquake is magnitude 5.2 (Jan. 23, 2011)

  • A 7.9 magnitude quake on Nov. 3, 2002 is the largest recorded earthquake in the interior of Alaska

  • Most events occur within the Kantishna seismic cluster, in the foothills north of Denali

Sled Dog Kennels

  • Total number of dogs: 31 (15 males and 16 females)

  • Miles patrolled by sled per winter: 3,000

  • The kennels building was constructed in 1929, and sled dog demonstrations began in 1939

  • Summer 2017 kennel visitation: 71,021

 

  • Denali Mountaineering Statistics 2017

  • Number of climbers: 1,189

  • Number that reached top or summit: 498

  • Summit percentage: 42 percent

  • Rescues: 14 Fatalities: 1 (total number since 1932 = 126)

 

Notable Ascents

  • First summit of South Peak (true summit): W. Harper, H. Karstens, H. Stuck, R. Tatum, June 7, 1913 First summit of North Peak: Pete Anderson and Billy Taylor, April 3, 1910 First woman to summit: Barbara Polk Washburn, June 6, 1947

  • First solo ascent: Naomi Uemura, Aug. 26, 1970

  • First winter ascent: Dave Johnston, Art Davidson and Ray Genet, Feb. 28, 1967

  • First successful winter solo ascent: Vern Tejas, March 7, 1988

  • Oldest person to summit: Tom Choate (age 78), June 28, 2013

  • Youngest person to summit: Galen Johnston (age 11), June 17, 2001

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