Alaska Unveils Plan for Northern Route Into Denali National Park

The Anchorage News reports Alaska plans a northern Healy to Wonder Lake road into Denali National Park despite opposition from the park.

This would create a loop in the park but the loop would still be well north of Mount McKinley.

The $5 million Stampede Road Improvement Project seeks to start with a gravel extension to the first eight miles of the road to the Savage River.

The Stampede Route was first used by Earl Pilgrim in the mid-1930s as a trail from Lignite Creek to his mining claim on Stampede Creek at the foot of the Kantishna Hills, just inside the national park boundary.

In 1961, the state spent $250,000 to build a 50-mile pioneer road along the same route. That road starts at milepost 251 of the Parks Highway, 15 miles north of the park entrance, and meanders west across the Savage and Teklanika rivers before crossing into the park 30 miles later at the Sushana River.

From the boundary, it’s 60 miles to Kantishna in the heart of the park.

Cars can maneuver only the first part of the road; after eight miles, the road becomes a rugged trail that eventually disappears into tundra.

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