In an announcement that some think is too little, too late when it comes to recognizing Alaska's wilderness and scenic value, Denali National Park and Preserve will be celebrated on a quarter to be issued this week as part of the U.S. Mint's Beautiful Quarters Program.
The program, begun in 2010, is intended to "honor 56 national parks and other national sites" throughout the U.S., according to the U.S. Mint. The coins are being issued in the order in which the featured parks were first established as federal sites.
Denali National Park and Preserve was first established on Feb. 26, 1917, but was called "Mount McKinley National Park" until 1980. It will be featured in the fifth quarter design issued in 2012, and the 15th issued overall. The U.S. Mint cites "dynamic glaciated landscape," and the "awe-inspiring 20,320-foot Mount McKinley" as inspiration for Denali's coin.
Denali's quarter features a dall sheep in the foreground, with Mount McKinley rising up behind it. The design was developed in consultation with representatives of the park, according to the website. On the flip side of the coin is the standard portrait of George Washington.
The Fairbanks News Miner reports that a special ceremony in Healy will kick off the official launch of the quarter, at 10 a.m. on Thursday, in the Tri-Valley Community Center.
Check out the new quarter's design, here.
A full list of activities in Healy is available at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner's Denali Life blog.