The Murie Science and Education Center is managed by the National Park
Service in partnership with the Alaska Geographic Society and other organizations.
Located just beyond the main park visitor center, it is named for
Adolf Murie, a wildlife biologist and naturalist whose extensive study
of Denali's wolves, bears, and other mammals helped preserve the
biological integrity of these animals in the park.
When we visited here three years ago we went into the Murie Center a
couple times to learn about wolf, bear, and other research that has been
done over the years at the park. We especially enjoyed two of the free
wildlife talks that were presented at noon in a
conference room at the Center.
Today was so wet and chilly (50s F.) that it was a good day to run
errands and stay inside as much as possible -- inside the Murie
Center, main Denali visitor center, and Alaska Geographic bookstore.
I felt very sorry for tourists who were here just one day and
couldn't see much in the rain but they continued taking bus tours and
going out for hikes. You do whatcha gotta do if you have limited time at Denali.
We weren't interested in today's noon talk so we just browsed the
exhibits at the Murie Center. Since I enjoy all sorts of fiber art I was
drawn to this beautiful quilted wall hanging depicting Denali's rich
diversity of plants:
Each color represents a different type of vegetation (shrubs, trees,
aquatic) or depicts water, snow, ice, or burned areas. The colors are
grouped to show where each type predominates. The border features a
variety of leaves, flowers, other plants, water, and snow.
DENALI VISITOR CENTERS
Denali has several
visitor information centers throughout the park --
the main Denali Visitor Center, Wilderness Access Center (WAC), and Murie Science Center
in the first couple of miles, the Toklat River Contact Station at Mile 53, and the
Eielson Visitor Center at Mile 66.
There is also a ranger station located in the town of
Talkeetna that serves as the center for mountaineering
operations for those who wish to climb Denali and other mountains in the park.
Listening to a ranger at the Talkeetna
Ranger Station talk about climbing Denali (8-2-12)
The main Denali Visitor Center a mile inside the park should be the
first stop for any new visitor to the park.
In addition to dispensing all kinds of information about things to see and
do in the park, it also has an impressive two-story exhibit hall, regular
showings of the beautiful park video called "Heartbeats of Denali"
(we enjoyed it so much three years ago we bought the CD), and ranger-led walks and programs.
Photo of the visitor center on a sunnier
Rangers are happy to answer all your questions
about the park.
Looking down to the first floor of the exhibit hall
I also enjoyed looking at the Artists In Residence display featuring
different art media created by several folks who were invited to
participate in the program in 2014.
This smaller quilt is entitled, Quilt Magic: East Fork. It was
designed and meticulously hand-made by Charlotte Bird with fabric and glass beads:
This is a detail of the "East Fork" (of the Toklat River):
One thing that drew me to the piece was the depiction of the autumn leaves.
Jim and I loved all the rich colors in the park during our second visit
in late summer/early autumn of 2012 and we hope to experience that magic
again this year when we return to the park in late August.
Also in the visitor center complex are a restaurant, bookstore,
and the Alaska Railroad depot.
Park bookstore (left) and restaurant
The Alaska Geographic bookstore is a another great place to hang out on
a rainy -- or sunny -- day. You can find all sorts of quality books,
maps, guides, calendars, CDs, note cards, photographs and other artwork, clothing,
pottery, jewelry, and gift items here.
I could spend hours looking through their wide variety of books
and guides relating to Denali National Park and Alaska in general.
Their materials are also available
NENANA CANYON AKA "GLITTER GULCH"
Several hotels, an RV park, adventure companies, restaurants, and all kinds of
shops line the Parks Hwy. about a mile from the entrance to Denali National Park.
It's a whole different (commercial) world from the natural surroundings in the
park and we spend as little time there as possible. The best thing we found to
purchase there was Thai food!
Not in Kansas anymore . . . I like the sign on this liquor
mushers to park their dog teams out back!
The one thing Jim enjoys about Nenana Canyon is the paved bike path that
connects the park with Nenana Canyon. He likes to ride his bike with Casey on
the Walky Dog attachment literally "over the river and through the
woods" on this path.
And he even did it between rain storms today, taking these two pictures along the way:
I don't think rafting down the Nenana would have been much fun
today, but there are a lot of things to do indoors at Denali National Park
on a rainy day if you don't want to get wet.
Next entry: camping at Teklanika River Campground at Mile 29 in the park
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup
© 2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil