12
Jul
2005

National Park Service drafting management plan for Denali National Park & Preserve

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National Park Service drafting management plan for Denali National Park & Preserve -- your comments needed.

As pure symbol of remote, wild beauty, few places on the planet equal Denali National Park in Alaska. Here is our nation's highest mountain. Here is safe haven for 38 mammal species, including wolves, moose, caribou, Dall sheep and grizzly bears. Here, simply, is magnificent wilderness enjoyed by climbers, hikers, berry pickers, wildlife watchers and birders.

The National Park Service is now drafting a management plan that will govern the Park's backcountry for the next decade and beyond. The agency has proposed opening 4 million acres of the Park to snowmobiling and increased airplane tours which will destroy the natural quiet and alter the wilderness experience. Click here to tell the Park Service to manage Denali as the natural treasure it is. The deadline is this Friday, July 15th: http://ga1.org/campaign/denali/

What's At Stake

Denali is the oldest and most famous National Park in Alaska. Congress set it aside in 1917 to protect its extraordinary wildlife populations. In 1980 Congress expanded the Park to 6 million acres and formally designated the original 2 million-acre core as Wilderness. The National Park Service (NPS) is now accepting public comment on a backcountry management plan that will determine the future of this matchless place.

We're encouraged by the Park Service's continued commitment to safeguard the 2- million-acre Wilderness core of Denali, also known as "the Old Park." The designated Wilderness of Denali has been closed to snowmachines since it was established in 1917.

But we adamantly oppose the Park Service's proposal to allow recreational snowmobiling and increased scenic tour airplane landings in the other 4 million acres of Denali. The Denali we treasure today would not survive such uses.

A Motorized Invasion or Quiet Beauty?

Recreational snowmobiling is flatly incompatible with the purposes for which Denali was set aside and shouldn't be in the Park. Anywhere. Period. The physical impacts of recreational snowmobiling are severe and well documented: unacceptable air and water pollution and disturbances to wildlife. Just as real are the impacts on the intangible but fundamental values of wilderness: solitude, natural quiet and natural sounds, the unhurried pace of human-powered recreation obliterated by the noise and stink of motors.

Growing demand for airborne sightseeing tours has driven up dramatically air traffic over the Park's wilderness. By some estimates, Denali is second only to the Grand Canyon now as the Park with the most congested airspace. The swelling use has increased conflicts with hikers, climbers and local property owners. Natural quiet and the opportunity to hear and enjoy natural sounds are rapidly disappearing on nearly all of Alaska's accessible public lands. Denali is no exception, but it ought to be. The Park Service should do whatever it takes to establish meaningful overflight regulations and limits on landings within the Park.

Denali National Park and Preserve is, in fact and in law, a wilderness park. The 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act declared the Park's purposes to be preservation of those wilderness values. The National Park Service has found that virtually all 4 million acres of the 1980 additions qualify for wilderness designation. But the agency is now proposing uses incompatible with wilderness designation. The agency must protect all inventoried suitable wilderness until the Congress has acted on the wilderness recommendation

How You Can Help: Take Action Today to Demand a Wild Denali!

The deadline for public comments to the National Park Service is Friday, July 15, 2005. Please take a few moments today to let the agency know how you want this splendid National Park managed. You can send your comments immediately from http://ga1.org/campaign/denali/

If you'd prefer to send your own comments, a sample letter below includes the major points. Increasingly in these comment processes, your own words are the best ones and personalized letters are likely to have the greatest impact. If you've visited Denali and can speak first-hand about your experiences there, all the better.

Contact Information Paul Anderson, Superintendent Denali National Park and Preserve P.O. Box 9 Denali Park Alaska 99755 Email: dena_bc_plan_comment@nps.gov

For More Information Learn more about the Denali Plan at: http://www.nps.gov/dena/home/

Sample Letter

Dear Superintendent Anderson:

I appreciate the opportunity to comment on the Denali Backcountry Plan. Denali's wilderness character, world-famous wildlife, spectacular landscapes, clean air and water, natural sounds, and opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation must be protected. Only the People for the Parks Alternative promises to do so and to do so by complying with existing policy and law. I strongly support that alternative.

Denali's wilderness and wildlife face an unrelenting siege of human demands and uses. Recreational snowmobiling is incompatible with the purposes of the Park and should not be allowed in Denali.

With the demand for scenic air or "flightseeing" tours growing, Now is the time for the National Park Service to establish meaningful overflight regulations and limits on landings, not to casually open Denali's backcountry to even more landings. Natural quiet, and the opportunity to hear and enjoy natural sounds, is rapidly disappearing from our public lands. Denali is no exception. But it surely ought to be.

The Park Service must complete the wilderness review and recommendation process that the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act mandates before it makes other management decisions. NPS management policies and the Wilderness Act of 1964 clearly direct the Park Service manage suitable wilderness lands as though they were designated wilderness until the Congress acts on a wilderness recommendation. I strongly urge you to do so.

Sincerely,
(Your name and address)

Words to Inspire

"It is imperative to maintain portions of the wilderness untouched so that a tree will rot where it falls, a waterfall will pour its curve without generating electricity, a trumpeter swan may float on uncontaminated water-and moderns may at least see what their ancestors knew in their nerves and blood."

-- Bernard DeVoto

http://www.wilderness.org 1615 M St, NW Washington, DC 20036 1.800.THE.WILD action@tws.org
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