Native Athabascans have always referred to Mount McKinley as Denali, or "The High One." The mammoth mountain is the centerpiece of Denali National Park Wilderness, which comprises about one-third of Denali National Park and Preserve. Formerly known as Mount McKinley National Park, the name changed with its Wilderness designation and tripled in size. The entire unit is now bigger than the state of Massachusetts.
The Wilderness encompasses the high heart of the Alaska Range, including Mount Denali. At 20,320 feet, Denali is the highest point in North America and the tallest mountain on Earth when measured from base to summit. Mountaineers have long been irresistibly drawn to this fabulous land of perpetual snow and danger. The upthrust of the range creates its own weather, usually frigid and windy, with clouds that hide the mountains as much as 75 percent of the time. On the northern slopes of the Alaska Range, the Wilderness drops to tundra, a world of dwarf shrubs and miniature wildflowers adapted to the short growing season. Tundra gives way to taiga, a Russian word for "land of little sticks," and here scant tree growth lines many miles of river.
Tundra and taiga provide homes for 37 recorded species of mammals, including Dall sheep, caribou, grizzly bears, and moose. Smaller mammals include foxes, weasels, lynx, martens, marmots, pikas, voles, and lemmings. Flowering plants number more than 430 species, and 159 species of birds have been sighted, including the ptarmigan, which changes from brown to snow-white. Denali remains a subarctic Wilderness of unparalleled proportions.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Denali Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 - Public law 110-229 (5/8/2008) A bill to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior, the Forest Service, and the Department of Energy, to implement further the Act approving the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States of America, to amend the Compact of Free Association Amendments Act of 2003, and for other purposes.