Interior Secretary Haaland announces $25 million for Denali Park Road

A slumping section of a gravel mountainside road
The Pretty Rocks landslide on Sept. 16, 2021. The displacement of approximately 14 vertical feet seen below the person standing on the stable road surface (for scale) occurred over two weeks following the cessation of maintenance and road use on September 2, 2021. (NPS photo)

Twenty-five million dollars have been set aside for repair work to address landslide issues with the Park Road in Denali National Park and Preserve.

An area known as Pretty Rocks, about forty-five miles in on the Park Road, has seen an accelerating landslide in recent years. By last summer, shifting earth was causing the road to move more than half an inch per day.

Park officials have tried to keep up with maintaining the road. In 2019, there were a few short-term closures for maintenance. In 2020, the road was able to stay open all season. But in 2020, the deteriorating situation led the National Park Service to close the road in late August for the remainder of the season.

Last fall, the Park Service set up a page detailing the issues at Pretty Rocks. That page says climate change is a likely contributor to the current problems, and continued use of the Park Road west of Pretty Rocks would require new, more expensive methods.

Now the National Park Service is looking at building a bridge over the landslide.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced that $25 million from the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure bill will be used to make the needed changes. All three members of Alaska’s congressional delegation applauded the funds being dedicated to Denali National Park.

Before bridge construction can begin, the project must go through an environmental assessment process. That assessment allows for a public comment period, which is open until Feb. 13.

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