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Home for a Season: Spring Bird Migration in Denali National Park

Program Number: 18586RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/2/2013 - 6/8/2013;
Duration: 6 nights
Location: Denali National Park, Alaska
Price starting at: $1,998.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Birding; National Parks
Meals: 17; 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Low Salt    

Take in the lush Alaskan summer in Denali National Park, where resident species such as Willow Ptarmigan, Boreal Chickadees and Northern Goshawks mingle with more than 160 migratory birds from every continent. Amid continuous daylight, encounter this fantastic diversity on expeditions to taiga, tundra, riparian and mountain habitats, and learn about the astonishing annual journeys that these birds make.




Highlights

• Search for birds on a hike through the tundra alongside a glacially fed river.
• Travel the full length of the Denali Park Road as you watch for birds, bears, wolves, caribou, moose, dall sheep and other wildlife.
• On an expedition to Broad Pass, enjoy birding on the south side of the Alaska Range in low tundra and open forests.



Activity Particulars

Walking 1-2 miles on varied terrain, elevation gain up to 250 feet. Elevations up to 3,900 feet.



So you can get the most out of your experience, all of our Birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1.




Date Specific Information

6-2-2013

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival boundary of Denali National Park, 3 nights; van to heart of Denali, 1 night; van to edge of boundary Denali, 2 nights; departure.



Coordinated by Denali Education Center




Kantishna

Founded as a gold mining camp in 1905, Kantishna sits at the heart of what is now Denali National Park and Preserve. This protected wilderness features only one road, which runs 91 miles from the park entrance to Kantishna. The community is surrounded by the spectacular natural beauty of the Kantishna Hills, Wonder Lake and massive Denali itself.



Denali National Park

Established in 1917, this 6 million-acre wilderness is home to 20,320 foot Mount McKinley, and wildlife such as moose, caribou, Dall sheep and grizzly bear, and is considered one of the most intact sub-arctic ecosystems in the world.



Accommodations
Rustic cabins in a riverside spruce forest. One night in solar-powered facility in Kantishna.
Meals and Lodgings
   Denali Education Center
  Denali National Park 3 nights
   Skyline Lodge
  Denali National Park 1 night
   Denali Education Center
  Denali National Park 2 nights
 Denali Education Center
Type: Cabin
  Description: The Denali Education Center campus was built in 1990 along the eastern boundary of Denali National Park, on the banks of the Nenana River. This quiet wooded campus, consisting of 12 cabins and Riverside Hall, was the first in the U.S. built exclusively for Road Scholar programs. All facilities are on the ground floor with four steps leading into each cabin. The longest walk from your cabin to Riverside Hall is about 200 yards on a gravel walkway, and the shortest is about 15 yards.
  Contact info: Milepost 231 George Parks Highway
Denali Park, AK  99755 USA
phone: 907-683-2597
web: www.denali.org
  Room amenities: Our location is idyllic, rooms and services are simple. Each cabin at the Denali Education Center has one bathroom that may be shared by up to four people. There is no housekeeping during the week, though fresh towels are available mid-week. Rooms do not have clocks, radios, TV’s, microwaves, or hair dryers. All rooms are non-smoking. There are no phones in the rooms, though cell phone reception is fine. Emergency calls may be received in the office, as needed. An answering machine will receive calls after hours or when staff is in the field.
  Facility amenities: Laundry facilities are available for $2 per wash and $2 per dry, laundry detergent included. Internet access is available nearby.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Each cabin has two rooms with one shared bath.
  Additional nights prior: $117/room/night plus tax Please call (907) 683-2597 or contact roadscholarprograms@denali.org to reserve a room for additional nights.
  Check in time: 12:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $117/room/night plus tax Please call (907) 683-2597 or contact roadscholarprograms@denali.org to reserve a room for additional nights.
  Check out time: 10:00 AM

 Skyline Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: The Skyline Lodge is a one-of-a-kind solar-powered facility located on a private inholding near the end of the road into Denali National Park.
  Contact info: Skyline Lodge, Kantishna
Denali Park, AK 99755 USA
phone: 907-644-8222
web: www.katair.com/skyline.html
  Facility amenities: The Skyline Lodge has five guest rooms and three common rooms. For the one night that we stay here, participants may be asked to sleep 3 or 4 people to a room. The bathroom and shower facilities are located in the main lodge, which is located next to the cabins. The walk to the restrooms includes two short flights of stairs. In exchange for being so sociable, participants will enjoy world-class birding opportunities that very few people, aside from campers, get to experience.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Bathroom and shower facilities are available in the main lodge building.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Start time: 5pm. Check-in any time between noon and 5pm. You will be staying at Denali Education Center that night.
  End of Program:
End time: 7:45 am (after breakfast). Checkout 10am. You will be staying at Denali Education Center the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Participants must sign and return both the Participant Information & Supplemental forms.
  Parking availability:
Free parking is available in a public lot 1/4 mile from campus.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Denali National Park
  Nearest city or town:  Fairbanks
  Nearest highway: George Parks Highway
  Nearest airport:  Fairbanks
  From End of Program
  Location: Denali National Park
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Anchorage

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Train
Alaska Railroad
phone: 800-544-0552
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$150
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

7.5 hours 

   

Use a taxi to get from the airport or hotel to the train station in Anchorage. The Denali Education Center provides transportation from the train station to campus once you arrive in Denali. If you arrive via the Alaska Railroad, please make sure you have “Denali Education Center” and your name written on a tag on the outside of your luggage. There will be a program coordinator waiting at the Denali depot (there is only one stop in Denali) to meet you and bring you to our campus.

 

Fairbanks

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Train
Alaska Railroad
phone: 800-544-0552
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$66 train from Fairbanks to Denali
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

4 hours 

   

Use a taxi to get from the airport or hotel to the train station in Fairbanks. The Denali Education Center provides transportation from the train station to campus once you arrive in Denali. If you arrive via the Alaska Railroad, please make sure you have “Denali Education Center” and your name written on a tag on the outside of your luggage. There will be a program coordinator waiting at the Denali depot (there is only one stop in Denali) to meet you and bring you to our campus.

 

Anchorage

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Park Connection motor coach
phone: 800-266-8625
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$80 - $90
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

5.5 hours 

   

The Park Connection motor coach picks up in downtown Anchorage. The same coach stops in Denali at the McKinley Village Lodge, a three minute walk from our campus. The Denali Education Center provides transportation, on request, from the McKinley Village Lodge to our campus.

 
Driving Directions
  Anchorage or Fairbanks The Denali Education Center is located on the east side of the Parks Highway at Milepost 231, behind the McKinley Village Lodge (240 miles north of Anchorage, and 125 miles south of Fairbanks). From the highway, turn into the McKinley Village Lodge driveway, continue downhill and straight ahead. Travel down the narrow one-way drive through the hotel property until it reaches a large parking lot. The Denali Education Center is located on the far side of this lot. After you check in and unload your bags you will be asked to park your car or RV in a free parking lot in front of the McKinley Village Lodge for the duration of your stay at Denali.
Elevation Note: Up to 3,900 ft.

Equipment Requirements: Binoculars. Waterproof footwear with ankle support and proper rain gear are both highly recommended.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Independent arrivals and introductions.
(Sunday, June 2)
   
 Afternoon: Independent arrivals from noon to 5pm. Orientation begins at 5pm.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Introductions
 Evening: Birds of Denali, an illustrated overview.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Morning boreal forest bird walk
(Monday, June 3)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Walk through the tundra alongside a glacially fed river on the Savage River Trail.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Boreal forest birding at Deneki Lakes
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Guest speaker TBA.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: 8-Mile Lake and Otto Lake birding
(Tuesday, June 4)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Bird from the shore at 8-Mile Lake
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Otto Lake bird watching
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Guest speaker TBA.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Travel into the heart of Denali National Park
(Wednesday, June 5)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Travel the full length of the Denali Park Road watching for birds, bears, wolves, caribou, moose, Dall sheep, and others.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Experience the state-of-the-art Eielson Visitor Center. Watch for birds in the ponds along the western portion of the road. Explore Kantishna.
 Dinner: Skyline Lodge
 Evening: Independent bird watching at Wonder Lake.
   
Accommodations: Skyline Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Kantishna birding
(Thursday, June 6)
   
 Breakfast: Skyline Lodge
 Morning: Morning bird watching in Kantishna.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Drive east on the Denali Park Road seeking birds, wildlife, and mountain views.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Guest speaker TBA.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Broad Pass birding
(Friday, June 7)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Birding expedition to Broad Pass. Enjoy birding on the south side of the Alaska Range in the low tundra and open forests of the pass.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Visit a rural Alaskan home and view birds on a nearby pond.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Guest speaker TBA.
 Evening: Wrap-up and review of the week's bird list.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Independent departures.
(Saturday, June 8)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Independent departures. Check-out at 10am.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Naturalist in Alaska


Author: Adolph Murie


Arctic Village


Author: Robert Marshall


Coming Into the Country


Author: John McPhee


Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere With Migratory Birds


Author: Scott Weidensaul


Make Prayers to the Raven


Author: Richard Nelson


Minus 148 Degrees: The First Winter Ascent of Mount McKinley


Author: Art Davidson


Raising Ourselves A Gwich'in Coming of Age Story from the Yukon River


Author: Velma Wallis


Roadside Geology of Alaska


Author: Cathy Connor


Shopping for Porcupine A Life in Arctic Alaska


Author: Seth Kantner


The Wilderness of Denali


Author: Charles Sheldon


Two Old Women: An Alaskan Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival


Author: Velma Wallis


Two in the Far North


Author: Margaret Murie


Wildflowers of Denali National Park


Author: Verna E. Pratt


Wolves of Mount McKinley


Author: Adolph Murie




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