NPS Seeks Comments in Scoping of Climbing Allocation for Mt. McKinley

The demand for commercial guided climbing operations on Mt. McKinley, North America’s highest mountain, is increasing.  To address this demand Denali National Park and Preserve (DNP&P) is intending to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) regarding the allocation of climbing permits between independent climbers and commercial guided climbing operators.  Each season, between April 1 and August 1, a limit of 1500 permits are available to climbers.  Of the 1500 permits, 25%  (375) are allocated to commercially guided groups per the 2006 Backcountry Management Plan.   This planning effort will review the current allocation to determine its relevance to the current demand however, the limit of 1500 permits will not be reviewed.

During the scoping phase, public comments are being sought by the National Park Service.  The public will have two opportunities to submit comments.  The initial commenting for the scoping period and again following the release of the Environmental Assessment. Written comments for the initial project scoping are due by December 6, 2010. Your comments can be submitted online at:   http://parkplanning.nps.gov/dena, faxed to (907) 683-9612 or mailed to Superintendent, Denali National Park & Preserve, ATTN: Climbing EA, P.O. Box 9, Denali Park, AK 99755.

Following scoping comments, a range of reasonable alternatives will be developed for consideration in response to the issues identified through agency and public involvement.  The EA is expected to be released in spring of 2011.

The Backcountry Management Plan can be viewed at:   http://www.nps.gov/dena/parkmgmt/backcountryplan.htm for additional information on regulations and management regarding commercial operations and backcountry use of Mt. McKinley.

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