I glanced at the nominating petition for someone running for local office last week and noticed that everyone who signed on the first page had the same physical address — Mile 230 Parks Highway.
That’s because there is no address system in the Denali Borough. But that is about to change.
A Denali Borough Assembly work session scheduled for tonight might finally narrow down the choice to one addressing system. Initially, the borough turned the selection over to the Denali Borough Planning Commission, but that group punted back to the borough assembly, leaving the choice up to the assembly. The panel said they would support either system.
Then when the assembly chose one system, some dissent was voiced. That was in July 2019. In an effort to be all inclusive, the process has continued.
When the addressing system is eventually chosen, everyone in the borough will have a street address.
Meanwhile, the borough has been collecting names of the hundreds of roads in the Denali Borough and not surprisingly, there are a lot of duplicates. That will have to change once addressing is instituted.
Borough code requires that there be no duplicate street names, contributing to a uniform system. These street names will not be changed arbitrarily, according to the borough. Public meetings will be held to collect feedback from local residents. That process will be announced soon.
Here are examples of some of the duplicates: There is a Park Circle, Park Way and Park Avenue in Anderson. There is a Park Way in Cantwell and a Park Lane in Healy. And of course, there is the Park Road in Denali National Park. Some suffixes will have to change.
There is a Toklat Drive in Cantwell and a Toklat Drive in McKinley Village.
There is a Spruce Street and a Spruce Road in Anderson, and a Spruce Drive at Rex Bridge.
There is both a Jack Street and a Jack River Road in Cantwell.
There is a Denebola Way and a Denebola Avenue in Healy.
The list goes on and on.
The addressing project is the result of a request by emergency responders to improve emergency response to fire and ambulance calls, by providing dispatchers with a specific address for their destination.
Not everyone in the borough wants an address, so there has been some contentious discussion over the prospect as well.
A popular hiking trail just south of Healy is slated to undergo some changes, including a new parking area in a new location and trail enhancement.
Bison Gulch, at Mile 245 Parks Highway, is a project supported by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, the Denali Borough and the National Park Service.
The proposed plan is to move the parking area from its current spot on the east side of the road to a new spot on the west side of the road, so hikers don’t have to cross the busy Parks Highway at this dangerous spot that has poor visibility for drivers. The Bison Gulch Trail goes up Mount Healy.
“By relocating the parking lot onto the west side of the Parks Highway, closer to Antler Creek, trail users will have direct access from a parking area to a new trailhead location,” according to DOT.
An online public hearing opened Sept. 18 and will continue until Oct. 9.
“We think it’s a great plan,” said Denali Borough Mayor Clay Walker. “We think longterm, it’s going to be a great asset for residents and visitors to recreate.”
Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @FDNMKris.