TRAVEL-UST-ALASKA-DENALI-DMT

An Alaskan roadway leads to Denali mountain. (Dreamstime/TNS)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Denali National Park and Preserve officials announced their plan to give people in private vehicles more access to sections of the park than usual in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting May 20 and extending until mid-September, the park will offer private vehicle access to the Teklanika Rest Stop, 30 miles in, via a $25 Teklanika Road Permit, park officials said in a statement. That’s 15 miles past the cutoff for private vehicles in a typical year.

The park offered a version of the Teklanika Road Permit last year, when fewer visitors flowed into Alaska and traveled to Denali National Park. Private vehicle access was also offered on select weekends from July until September last year, and those permits granted access all the way to the Eielson Visitor Center — at Mile 66 — though a similar option doesn’t appear to be available for this summer.

“This plan allows unique access to the park during this summer season while we all continue to manage the impacts of the ongoing pandemic,” acting superintendent Brooke Merrell said in a statement.

The Teklanika Road Permit will be available for reservations through recreation.gov beginning April 20 at 10 a.m. There are a limited number of daily scheduled entries to the road by private vehicle, officials say.

Vehicles without the permit can go as far as the Savage River Check Station. The reservation system is separate from the longstanding road lottery the park offers every year.

May 20 is when service starts for tour, transit and camper buses, and those seeking bus service farther into Denali National Park this summer can make reservations at reservedenali.com.

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