The National Parks Service is celebrating its centennial anniversary in 2016, and this weekend, Denali National Park and Preserve will be celebrating with several fun events in downtown Talkeetna.
On Saturday, Aug. 13, the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station is hosting several activities that focus on the rich mountaineering history of Denali and Talkeetna. At 12:30 p.m., a clean-up along the Susitna River will begin from the ranger station. From 2-4 p.m., rangers will be presenting mountaineering displays, demonstrations, junior ranger activities and more.
At 7 p.m. at the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar, a special showing of "Voyagers Without Trace" will take place. The award-winning film is the work of Ian McCluskey, and details the adventure story of a trio of French travelers on the Green and Colorado rivers in 1938. The filmmaker retraces their steps in a 2012 adventure. The film is free and open to the public.
While not in Denali National Park and Preserve, Talkeetna has long been the base camp for mountaineers heading to Denali. For visitors, Talkeetna offers many Denali experiences such as fly-out hiking in the national park, flightseeing, rafting, jet boating and more. Talkeetna serves as an "unofficial" outpost to Denali National Park. The park itself is 6 million acres of untamed wilderness, with just a single road.
The park was created in 1917 and named Mount McKinley National Park and contained 2.15 million acres. In 1980, the park was renamed Denali National Park and Preserve, and tripled in size to just over 6 million acres.