Denali celebrates 100 years of the National Park Service

Today is the National Park Service’s 100th birthday. The agency celebrated at 413 parks nationwide, including Denali National Park. Denali National Park centennial coordinator Lynn McAloon said the event was one of many held throughout the year, to mark the anniversary but also connect with the next generation of park users.

The colorful Polychrome Mountains emerge from the clouds on July 22, 2016, in Denali National Park. The mountains get their color from volcanic rock. The U.S. Geological Survey released the first updated geochemical atlas of Alaska in nearly 40 years. (Photo by Rashah McChesney, KTOO - Juneau)
The colorful Polychrome Mountains emerge from the clouds on July 22, 2016, in Denali National Park. The mountains get their color from volcanic rock. The U.S. Geological Survey released the first updated geochemical atlas of Alaska in nearly 40 years. (Photo by Rashah McChesney, KTOO – Juneau)

“Using things like a Pokemon hike, for instance, that we just had over this last weekend to reach out to people that are interested in accessing the park in a different way,” McAloon said.

McAloon said centennial events will continue in 2017, when Denali marks its own 100th birthday. She says that will include a centennial themed version of the park’s annual “Winterfest” including attendance by a descendent of the man known as the father of Denali.

“We actually are expecting to have Charles Sheldon’s grandson, Charles Sheldon, come and celebrate with us in February on our actual, real birthday,” McAloon said. “The date that the historical documents were signed to make Denali a Park.”

McAloon notes that the park recently hosted the descendants of another famed Denali figure, 1940’s era Park wildlife biologist Adolf Murie, whose pioneering wolf and sheep studies, helped change the way the park service viewed predators.

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Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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