Denali National Park gets first woman superintendent

Looking down the Denali Fault line, the low point between various ridges in the distance. NPS Photo

JUNEAU — Brooke Merrell has been named superintendent of Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska and is the first woman in that role in the 105-year history of the park, the National Park Service announced Thursday.

Merrell has been acting superintendent for the past nine months, the agency said in a statement. She had held prior roles with the park service and has been deputy superintendent at Denali since January 2021.

One of the challenges the park is facing is addressing a section of the road that runs through Denali that officials say has been rapidly slumping amid changes in the climate. The park service has proposed a large steel bridge in the Pretty Rocks landslide area.

The first phase of the project has not yet begun, said Peter Christian, a spokesperson for the park service’s Alaska region. He said by email that the park is “working on a design package for advertisement for Phase I. The contractor for the project should be selected by November.”

Travel along the 92-mile road has been limited to mile 43, a restriction the park has said is expected to remain in place through the summer of 2023.