ANCHORAGE - The National Park Service has temporarily closed one campground inside Denali National Park and Preserve and banned tent camping in a second after reports that wolves were stealing shoes or pots and pans.
Park officials closed the Igloo Creek campground, 34 miles inside the park, two weeks ago. That campground has about 10 spaces for backpackers.
On Tuesday, park officials also decided to ban tent camping in the larger Teklanika River campground about 30 miles inside the park. Campers and recreation vehicles will still be allowed in the 53-space campground because vehicles provide a buffer between people and wildlife.
"It will be somewhat of a disappointment, but I hope people will understand that we're doing what's best for wildlife management," said Denali National Park superintendent Steve Martin.
Both campgrounds could be reopened within a few weeks.
The wolves belong to the nine-member Toklat or East Fork pack, which has become increasingly accustomed to humans.
Denali park officials have for decades kept humans and bears at safe distances from each other. But this is the first time park managers can remember closing a campground because of wolves.
"The wolves are not being shy and that's a concern to us," said Gordon Olson, chief of research and resource preservation. "These are wild animals."
Juneau Empire ©2013. All Rights Reserved.