The US National Parks Service has published a series of 2 page information bulletins on various issues. One concerns the economic impact of Park visitors.
Denali is six million acres of wild land, bisected by one ribbon of road. Travelers along it see the relatively low-elevation taiga forest give way to high alpine tundra and snowy mountains, culminating in North America’s tallest peak, 20,320’ Mount McKinley. Wild animals large and small roam unfenced lands, living as they have for ages. Solitude, tranquility and wilderness await.
The sled dogs of Denali have been important to the park for so long that they have become a part of the resource, and a cultural tradition worthy of protection. The dogs and the kennels where they live represent important pieces of American history - cultural and native significance, the pioneer experience in the far north and the history of Alaska’s first national park. These are the only sled dogs in the United States that help protect a national park and the wildlife, scenery, and wilderness therein, and it has been this way since the park’s beginning.
The pattern of visitors to Denali looks like a perfect bell curve, with the peak of the curve in July of each year. The 400,000 annual visitor figure is large and important to Alaska’s economy for direct and indirect employment.
The Park is run very inexpensively, measured by direct cost or cost per visitor. The volunteer hours, over 50,000 in 2011, are very significant.
Denali Park is a huge draw for the State obviously. Few know about the winter dog sled activity in the Park or the Winterfest celeration - a signature event across interior Alaska, that is set for Friday, Feb 22 and Saturday, Feb 23, 2013.