DRIVERS, CRITTERS TURN OUT FOR DENALI ROAD LOTTERY
Buffeted by strong winds, hundreds of anxious Alaska drivers got a chance to stare down wolves, moose and even grizzly bears through the windows of their vehicles during the annual Denali National Park road lottery.
Thousands of Alaskans apply each year, but only 1,600 permits -- 400 vehicles a day -- are awarded for the four-day weekend. Denali National Park spokeswoman Kris Fister said 350 permits were actually issued Friday, 361 Saturday, 343 Sunday and 312 Monday.
Until the lottery, the only access to the 89-mile road that stretches from park headquarters near to Wonder Lake near Kantishna, a former gold mining camp, is by park bus.
Occasionally, snow or other bad weather can prompt partial road closures during the September public opening. On Monday, for instance, the road opening was delayed until 10 a.m. to allow ice that had formed in high passes to melt.