ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The only road in Denali National Park is open to travelers for the first 12 miles, allowing additional winter recreation opportunities while testing how often it's used.
Park spokeswoman Kris Fister said in an email to The Associated Press that the road had been open to as far as the Savage River in the 1980s.
However, she assumed low use and the costs to plow that led the park service to end that service. For many years, the road was closed during the winter at the park headquarters, just off the Parks Highway.
However, requests from the Fairbanks North Star Borough and winter tourism advocates has led the park service to plow the road to mile 12 during a trial period that will last three to five years.
The park is monitoring how many winters users there are, and if those numbers justify the additional costs.
The road is considered a low priority for snow clearing, and she says people should call ahead after storms to make sure it's open.
"We will start our usual spring road opening operation in mid-March, so the road could be open as far as the Savage River by early April, and to Mile 30 (Teklanika River Rest Area) by late April," she said.