Denali road lottery opens for 2015

Cassiopia Hardesty

Sun Star contributor

04/28/2015

Throughout the month of May, those with a sense of adventure have the chance to enter the Denali Road Lottery, an annual contest put on by the National Park Service.

Winners are given the chance to drive their own car, truck or motorcycle along the scenic Denali Park Road, the sole highway in the preserve. This 92 mile stretch of road is paved for the first 15 miles before turning into a more rugged dirt road.

However, contest winners can drive as deep into the preserve as the weather will permit, a privilege usually saved for park vehicles and tour buses. This year, winners will be assigned a day long driving permit for September 17, 18, 20 or 21.

“I won the road lottery twice, in 2006 and 2007,” Melanie Lindholm, a recent UAF graduate said. Lindholm received her MA in northern studies last December and plans to walk in the upcoming graduation ceremony next month. “I have entire photo scrapbooks from all the pictures we took there. The best part was getting those once in a lifetime shots, like a mama bear and her cubs walking across the road.

”Bears are not the only thing that travelers could see while exploring the six million acre park. Moose, caribou, wolves, eagles, foxes and many other animals are also known to frequent the less travelled inner areas of the wilderness.

According to the National Park Service website, 1,600 lottery winners are selected annually with the average contest entrant having about a one in six chance of winning. Lottery entries cost $10 and are limited to one per person. They can be purchased online by going to www. recreation.gov and searching for the Denali Road Lottery anytime in May. Winners are announced in early June.

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