Denali National Park & Preserve – Alaska

Denali National Park & Preserve
Junior Ranger – Senior Friendly

Completed: April 19, 2020

When I visited Denali National Park and Preserve in June 1998 I was not doing Junior Ranger programs, nor were they possibly available at that time. We camped at Riley Creek campground and took the tour bus into the center of the park. My husband and I drove up to Alaska, spent 5 weeks on the road, and overall the weather was wonderful. During our visit to Denali it was cold and rainy, which prevented us from seeing the full view of Denali, which is is fairly common. It is reported that only 30% of visitors see the top of the peak. The pictures posted are scanned from snapshots I took with a film camera and appear sharper than the originals do now.

A couple of years ago a friend of mine visited Denali and sent me their Junior Ranger booklet. I put it away, while cleaning up my files during #StayHome April 2020 I decided I would complete the booklet. Luckily I could complete enough of the activities, over 20 years later, to earn the badge.

The program is Senior Friendly as the upper age group is listed as Ages 12+. All ages groups need to complete 2 Park Explorations and either 5, 7 or 9 Book Activities depending on your age. My Park Explorations included; ride a bus into the park, attend a ranger program, visit the sled dog kennels and explore the Denali Visitor Center.

The book activities I completed were; Denali Natural World Bingo, Big Five, Your Five, Denali’s Dinosaurs, The Athabaskans, What Type of Ranger, Go Sled Dogs, Go!, Leave No Trace, Detecting Denali’s Changes, Poetry in the Park, Wilderness Word Search and Measuring Up.

By going back and reading my travel journal and looking at my photos I was able to confirm that I saw all 5 of the Big Five mammals while exploring the park; grizzly bear, wolf, dall sheep, caribou and moose. I enjoyed writing a poem about camping in the park. Doing the math to determine the height of the White House, Old Faithful, Statue of Liberty, a redwood tree and the Washington Monument in relation to Denali at 20,310 feet was interesting.

I mailed my completed booklet to the park and soon received the booklet back with a nice letter and their attractive wooden badge. While I always prefer to complete a Junior Ranger program during a visit to the park, I really enjoyed looking at my photos from the visit in 1998, as well as reading my travel journal and reliving the trip. Great memories and now they have been extended by completing their Junior Ranger program.