Home News Hundreds of stranded tourists returned to safety: Denali National Park road reopens

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Associated Press Published 3:25 p.m. ET Aug. 18, 2019 | Updated 3:42 p.m. ET Aug. 18, 2019

DENALI NATIONAL PARK, Alaska – Road crews have cleared one lane in Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve, and buses returned about 300 stranded tourists to the park entrance safely.ADVERTISEMENT

The tourists became stranded Friday after heavy rains triggered mudslides and caused excess water from a culvert to damage the only road inside the vast park.

Park spokesman Paul Ollig told The Associated Press that all the stranded passengers were back at the park entrance by midnight.

“Our team did an outstanding job responding to multiple debris slides along a pretty remote section of road,” said Erika Jostad, Denali’s chief ranger. “The geohazard team monitored conditions while the road crew was clearing debris. It was a great example of teamwork.

“Park staff have done a remarkable job responding to this incident and ensuring the safety and comfort of park visitors. Folks from all disciplines have come together to safely accomplish this important task.”

Earlier Friday, Denali’s superintendent closed Denali Park Road to all traffic at Mile 30.

Similar debris flows led to daylong traffic restrictions last week. Continued heavy rains since kept the road and surrounding tundra saturated with water.

Also on Friday, the Alaska Railroad said in a release that it has halted service north of the park because heavy rainfall had caused erosion below a retaining wall.