Denali National Park is Born

Denali National ParkAt the end of the Park Road in Denali National Park, there is a small community known as Kantishna. In 1903, gold was discovered there. Nearly 3000 people came there to mind gold and in this total wilderness, they turned to harvesting the local wildlife for sustenance. The hunter, naturalist, Charles Sheldon visited the area in 1906-1908. So many Dall Sheep were harvested during his visit that he realized they would be hunted to extinction if the area was not protected. He return to his home in New England and lobbied for the creation of a protected area to preserve wildlife. Eventually, this lead to the creation of Denali National Park in 1917.

The Dall sheep are the true symbol of Denali. They were cut off from the relatives, the big horn sheep, during the Pleistocene, and evolved into white sheep adapted to the rigors of very severe, long winters.

This band of rams like to hang out at Polychrome Pass on the Park Road and I hike there every year trying to get a glimpse of them. So far, they have not let me down.

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