Denali National Park road reopens as stranded tourists returned to safety:

Published on : Monday, August 19, 2019

Road crews managed to clear one lane in Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve following which buses returned with about 300 stranded tourists to the park entrance safely.


The tourists were stranded Friday after heavy rains triggered mudslides and caused excess water from a culvert to damage the only road inside the vast park.


Park spokesman Paul Ollig told reporters that all the stranded passengers were back at the park entrance by midnight.


“Our team did an outstanding job responding to multiple debris slides along a pretty remote section of road,” said Erika Jostad, Denali’s chief ranger. “The geo-hazard team monitored conditions while the road crew was clearing debris. It was a great example of teamwork.


“Park staff have done a remarkable job responding to this incident and ensuring the safety and comfort of park visitors. Folks from all disciplines have come together to safely accomplish this important task.”


Earlier Friday, Denali’s superintendent closed Denali Park Road to all traffic at Mile 30.


Similar debris flows led to daylong traffic restrictions last week. Continued heavy rains since kept the road and surrounding tundra saturated with water.


Also on Friday, the Alaska Railroad said in a release that it has halted service north of the park because heavy rainfall had caused erosion below a retaining wall.


Passenger and freight service will be suspended through the area until late Monday at the earliest, the railroad said in a statement.


The railroad added that passengers travelling north to or south from Denali Park on the Alaska Railroad or on an Alaska Railroad provided service through Holland America/Princess or Premier Alaska Tours should expect delays.

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