Today for National Park Week we are highlighting Denali National Park! Home not only to North America’s tallest mountain, Denali also miles of tundra, boreal forest, glaciers, and yes, a whole lot of wildlife.
While over 39 species of mammals are in the park, the “Big Five” take the spotlight: moose, caribou, dall sheep, grizzly bears, and wolves. Many of these animals can be seen right from the tour buses, and great care is taken to protect the wildlife. Areas of the park are routinely closed for denning, and AFW has been working with others to enact a buffer zone on the park’s eastern boundary to protect wolves from traplines.
The Athabaskan people have been living in and around the park for 500 years, and the name Denali comes from the Koyukon Athabaskan name for the mountain, “Dinale”, meaning “the tall one”. The land still holds a rich history and culture for Alaska natives, and many still rely on the lands in and around the park for subsistence.
The first ascent of the mountain itself happened in 1913. Denali is one the the Seven Summits of the world, and every year hundreds of people attempt to climb it, spending upwards of three weeks living on the glaciers and the mountain itself.