Denali-Highway-wildlife

The Denali Highway – Wildlife Watching and Birding

Denali-Highway-wildlifeThe alpine tundra and lake districts are home to a fabulous diversity of wildlife. Moose, black and grizzly bears, and caribou roam the open spaces and forests. Bald eagles, gyrfalcons and long-tailed jaegers circle overhead. Trumpeter swans, ptarmigan, loons and more birdlife are common.

The BLM, which administers the highway, recommends several spots for wildlife watching. Mud Lake just out of Paxson is a clear shallow lake frequented by trumpeter swans, bald eagles, and moose. Sockeye salmon can be seen in the waters. Fiftymile Lake is another good place for spotting swans, bald eagles and moose, along with grizzly, caribou and beaver. Caribou migrate through an area west of the Susitna River.

Denali-Highway-history

The Denali Highway – History and Prehistory

Denali-Highway-historyThe Tangle Lakes area contains some of the earliest and most continuous evidence of human occupation in North America, extending back more than 10,000 years. At least four cultures occupied the area: the Denali Complex from 10,500 to 7,000 years ago; the Northern Archaic Tradition from 7,000 to 1,000 years ago; the Late Prehistoric Period from 1,000 years ago to 1770, and the current Athapaskan Tradition.

Over 400 archaeological sites dot the area. About 225,000 acres are officially designated as the BLM’s Tangle Lakes Archaeological District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The District is wide open to exploring and recreation. But remember the area is covered by the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, which prohibits collecting or damaging any artifacts or sites.