Park History

Park History


Protected to Enjoy Forever

Protected to Enjoy Forever

Deep in the Alaskan interior is over six million acres of preserved wilderness that includes massive expanses of forest, glacial lakes, frozen tundra, and towering mountains - including North America’s tallest mountain, Denali, formerly known as Mount McKinley. Originally established as Mount McKinley National Park in 1917, the park’s boundaries have pushed outward to include Denali National Monument and Denali Preserve.

In 1976 President Jimmy Carter designated the park as an international biosphere reserve, focusing on ecosystem conservation and prudent use of national resources. Finally, in 1980, Mt. McKinley National Park and Denali were incorporated to establish Denali National Park & Preserve.

Today the park attracts over 400,000 visitors annually who travels for the astounding Denali wildlife, breathtaking scenery, and an opportunity to immerse themselves in the pure, untamed wilderness of Alaska.

Learn More about Denali National Park's History

For a deeper look into Denali National Park’s history, visit the PBS / Ken Burns "America’s Best Idea" Denali website.

Another great source for an in-depth history of Denali National Park & Preserve, is the "Crown Jewel of the North: An Adminstrative History of Denali National Park and Preserve." This additional resource was published by the National Park Service in 2006 and includes information regarding Denali's history.

Looking for more information about Denali National Park & Preserve? Many of the links on this site go directly to the official Denali National Park website, which is www.nps.gov/dena.