Welcome to the South Denali Planning and Implementation Site

 

Since the 1960s, there has been a shared vision among public land managers in the South Denali region that the area had potential for greater use and development for users. The 40+ year vision for a visitor center complex in the South Denali region includes expanded visitor facilities and recreational opportunities, while also protecting the natural and cultural resources of the park and preserving the quality of life for nearby residents. This website contains updates on the development of this exciting and one-of-a-kind park facility in our state park system.

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South Denali Visitor Center Complex Project Groundbreaking Ceremony
South Denali Visitor Center Complex Project Groundbreaking Ceremony, Denali State Park – August 2013

From left to right: Mead Treadwell (Alaska Lt. Governor), Charlie Huggins (Alaska State Senator), Bruce Bustamante (Vice President of Community and Public Affairs for Princess Cruises), Ed Fogels (Deputy Commissioner DNR), Wes Keller (Alaska State Representative), Larry Devilbiss (Mat-Su Borough Mayor), John Moosey (Mat-Su Borough Manager), Bonnie Quill (Mat-Su Convention and Visitors Bureau), Don Striker (Superintendent, Denali National Park), July Saupe (Visit Anchorage), Paul Anderson (Retired Superintendent, Denali National Park), Wayne Biessel (Superintendent, Denali State Park), Myron Naneng (Sea Lion Corporation), Ron Arvin (Mat-Su Assembly), Ben Ellis (Director of Alaska State Parks), Dave Griffin (South Denali Project Coordinator).

 


Now Open!

The long-anticipated K’esugi Ken Campground in Denali State Park, part of the South Denali project, officially opened to the public for Memorial Day weekend! Four years ago, the groundbreaking ceremony took place, and since then, the complex has grown to include tent and RV camping, public-use cabins, an interpretive center, and hiking trails for all ages and abilities.

Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Staff, former staff, and partners at the ribbon-cutting ceremony include (L-R) former Landscape Architect Bill Evans, former DPOR Director Ben Ellis, DNR Deputy Commissioner Ed Fogels, Mat-Su/Copper Basin Superintendent Wayne Biessel, Mat-Su Borough Manager John Moosey, Ranger Chris Love, Mat-Su CVB Bonnie Quill, former Chief of Design and Construction Mike Seidl, Ethan, Rys (Chief of Design and Construction), and Audrey Miranda, Project Manager Luke Randall, Holland-America Princess Steve Zadra, and DPOR Acting Director Matt Wedeking.


The ribbon-cutting took place on May 26, 2017 with about 60 attendees, despite the threat of snow and rain. Guests were treated to a barbeque lunch after the ceremony and mingled in the new interpretive center. Many thanks to the State Parks staff who have helped make this a reality and the many partners who assisted with the event, including the Mat-Su Borough, Holland-America Princess, Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, and Turkey Red.

Public Exploring K'esugi Ken Interpretive Center
People explore the new K’esugi Ken Interpretive Center.


By the end of the weekend, the campground was full of happy campers. The new LUKE II pay station recorded 55 transactions for the weekend, totaling about $2,500 in revenue. The complex is off to a great start!

South Denali Aerial View

Check out the new interpretive panels posted at the K'esugi Ken Campground!

Interpretive Panel Denali State Park Kesugi Ken Panel Moose Flats Loop Trail Panel Kesugi Ken RV and Tent Camp Sites Kesugi Ken Walk-In Camp Sites

Construction is well under way for the first phase of development! A groundbreaking ceremony took place on August 16, 2013 for the K’esugi Ken Campground. Facilities include a ranger station, 32 RV campsites, 10 walk-in campsites, a group campsite, two public-use cabins (a third cabin is available during winter months), a new hiking trail to alpine areas plus a network of trails for a range of abilities, and an interpretive center. A 34-mile power extension along the Parks Highway is also part of this project. The new campground is equipped with electric hook-ups, bear-resistant food containers, a hand pump water well, picnic tables, and most of all, the best southern views of the Alaska Range from a campsite. 

April 10, 2017 update:

The new K’esugi Ken Public Use Cabins opened for public use in December 2016. There are three cabins available to rent. Groomed ski trails are available in the complex at this time. For current snow conditions, go to this website:
http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/asp/curevnts.htm.

For cabin information or to make reservations, go to the following website:
http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/cabins/matsu.

The new K’esugi Ken Campground will officially open on Friday, May 26, 2017. More details will be available here in the next month. Campground reservations are not available at this time.

For additional information, contact the Mat-Su Area Headquarters at (907) 745-8950 or email at dnr.matsuparks@alaska.gov.

January 25, 2017 Update:

The new K’esugi Ken Public Use Cabins are now open for public use. There are three cabins available to rent. Groomed ski trails are available in the complex. For cabin information or to make reservations, go to the following website:
http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/cabins/matsu. For additional information, contact the Mat-Su Area Headquarters at (907) 745-8950 or email at dnr.matsuparks@alaska.gov.

  • Moose Flats Loop Trail
  • Kesugi Ken Campground
  • Kesugi Ken Campground
  • Ranger Contact Station in the Winter