Denali plans to offer commercial winter tours

JUNEAU — Denali National Park and Preserve plans to begin allowing commercial winter vehicle tours into the park as a way to help increase visitor access during the slower season.

Starting in February, the National Park Service plans on a trial basis of three to five years to plow the 92-mile Denali park road as far as mile 12, the Mountain Vista Rest Area. In the past, the road has been plowed to mile 3, or park headquarters, during winter.

The park service is seeking applications to provide commercial vehicle tours between mid-February and May 10.

Denali spokeswoman Kris Fister expects park officials somewhere within the trial period will evaluate visitation numbers and budget considerations in determining whether to make the change permanent.

Additional road clearing is estimated to cost about $25,000.

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