The National Park Service is currently considering ways to provide and support additional recreational use in the Kantishna and Wonder Lake areas of Denali National Park. The agency has extended the public comment period for these plans to Oct. 31.

A range of proposals covering infrastructure, management, visitor experience, guided services and visitor capacity are described in the Kantishna and Wonder Lake Area Plan: Range of Proposals for Public Feedback. A copy of the planning document can be found online at bit.ly/345uw1H.

The agency held two public meetings regarding the plans earlier this month. According to Park Planner Emily Buhr, these meetings were “rich with discussion and debate.”

“There was a lot of experience in those rooms, a lot of love for this park, and a lot of ideas on how the Kantishna and Wonder Lake areas should be managed,” Buhr said in a news release. “This is exciting as a planner because I honestly don’t know what the result of this effort will be. The public’s feedback is so key at this point.”

As such, Buhr said, that the agency received requests to extend the comment period beyond its original deadline of Sept. 17.

“The extra weeks should benefit everyone as they allow time to thoroughly consider the proposals and offer feedback beyond the rush of the busy season,” she said.

The agency reminds the public that offering comments that specifically raise, debate or question a point of fact will drive the park to action more than comments that merely agree or disagree with an action. Park staff believe the following questions can assist the public in crafting effective input:

• Are the park’s assumptions and facts correct? Details about why or why not are helpful.

• Are there areas of analysis not mentioned that need to be considered in a future compliance document?

• Is there a concept/alternative that hasn’t been proposed that should be considered?

• What is your stance on classifying heavily used, informal trails in Kantishna as formal, class 2 trails until the plan is complete?

• Comments will be accepted through Oct. 31 and may be submitted online at bit.ly/2Zn5Kvb or mailed to Denali Park Planning, P.O. Box 9, Denali Park, AK 99755.

In combination with the public feedback, park staff intend to complete an operating cost analysis, visitor capacity study, cultural and wetland studies and transportation model to shape alternatives for a future compliance document.

For more information and updates about the Kantishna and Wonder Lake Area Plan, contact Emily Buhr, outdoor recreation planner, at 907-683-6242.

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