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Home>>Collection>>Reading Program>>National Parks>>Denali National Park and Preserve

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Denali National Park & Preserve (True Books) Denali National Park and Preserve (True Books)

What I Learned Section 1 -- Answer the Following Questions:
1. What is the highest peak in North America?

Denali (also known as Mount McKinley). It is 20,320 feet (6,190 meters) above sea level. The word Denali means "The Great One." Did you know Denali is known as Mount McKinley outside Alaska?

Here are some Alaska Facts:

Alaska is the largest state in the United States
Alaska lies 200 miles (322 kilometers) south of the Arctic Circle
The average temperature in January is -7 degrees Fahrenheit or -22 degrees Celsius. This is why most people visit Denali in the summer.

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2. What was the original name of Denali National Park and Preserve?
a) Mount McKinley National Park
b) Denalistone National Park
c) Alaska Canyon National Park
d) The Coldest National Park

a) Mount McKinley National Park. President William McKinley wanted to create a national park to protect the animals from human settlement and over-hunting. In 1917, the national park was established and called Mount McKinley National Park. In 1980, the park was enlarged to its present size and its name changed to Denali National Park and Preserve.

Denali National Park and Preserve stretches across six million acres (2.4 million hectares) of Alaska. It is a beautiful and rich wildlife region in North America. Every year, more than 600,000 people visit Denali.

Did you know visitors cannot drive their cars in the Denali National Park and Preserve? Visitors can drive 15 miles (24 km) inside the park to Savage River. Here, they park their cars and ride on shuttle buses. These buses transport the visitors along Denali's single road.

Hiking is a great way for visitors to see the park. They can enjoy hiking on their own or as part of a ranger-guided walk. In the summer, rangers guide Denali Discovery hikes.

Young visitors can become a Denali Junior Ranger. The first step is to take a Denali Discovery hike. Learn more about how to become a Denali Junior Ranger at the Visitor Access Center or in the park newspaper, the Denali Alpenglow.

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3. Name ONE of the native wild animals living in Denali National Park and Preserve.
Caribou, moose, Dall sheep, grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, golden eagles, and Alaska jays

Did you know Denali is home to 37 kinds of animals and 159 species of birds?

The caribou is a large-antlered deer. It is a cousin of the European reindeer. Thousands of caribou roam free throughout Denali.

Did you know moose is the largest deer? The males weigh 1,500 pounds (680 kg) and their antlers can grow up to 5 feet (1.5 m) wide. Moose can be seen in abundance throughout the park.

Dall sheep are big and white. They are cliff-dwellers which mean they live on cliffs. They are difficult to see because they live very high in the mountains.

The grizzly bear is the most popular animal at Denali. Grizzlies can been seen along the road almost every day during the summer. Newborn grizzlies are as small as puppies. Full size grizzlies can be eight feet (2.4 m) long and weigh more than 500 pounds (227 kg). Their thick, woolly fur can range in color from light tan to almost black. Most grizzly bears try to avoid contact with people. They are the most dangerous mammal in North America.

Wolves can been seen at Denali, and their howls can be heard at night.

Denali has many birds including the golden eagle and the Alaska jay.

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4. Denali National Park and Preserve lies along which mountain range?
The Alaska Range
. This mountain range was created between 2 million and 5 million years ago. The land was pushed up by great pressure within the earth.

The Alaska Range has thick glaciers. Did you know glaciers form when more snow falls in the winter than melts during the summer? Over a long time, the snow becomes compressed into a thick sheet of ice. Glaciers gouge and carve the earth and rocks as they slowly flow downhill. This changes the shape of the land.

Muldrow is one of Denali's largest glaciers. It is 35 miles (56 km) long. It comes to within one-half of a mile (.8 km) of the park road.

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5. True or False: There are three life zones at Denali National Park and Preserve.
. Naturalists divide Denali into three life zones. Different life forms live in each zone. The first life zone is called the taiga, the second life zone is called the moist tundra, and the third life zone is called the dry alpine tundra.

The first life zone is the lowest zone. It is called the taiga. Taiga is a Russian word meaning "land of little sticks." In this zone, there are dense forests of spruce, aspen, poplar, birch, and larch trees. Beneath the trees are blueberries, cranberries, crowberries, and other wild shrubs. In the fall, animals and birds eat the food in the taiga. Grizzlies and black bears eat the berries. This food helps the bears gain weight for their winter hibernation. Hibernation is a long winter sleep.

Did you know the taiga and the tundra are separated by the timberline? Above the timberline the weather is too harsh for trees to grow. In Denali the timberline occurs at about 2,800 feet (853 m). The tundra is hilly and almost treeless. Tundra comes from a Lapp word meaning "hill." Did you know a Lapp is a person from northern Scandinavia? In the tundra, there is a short growing season, strong winds, deep snow, and intense cold.

The second life zone is the middle zone. It is called the moist tundra. This zone begins just above the timberline. There are thick growths of birch and willow. Moose eat the twigs and bark in the winter, and caribou eat these plants in the summer.

The third life zone is the highest zone. It is called the dry alpine tundra. It starts at 3,400 feet (1,036 m). Only the smallest plant life grows here. However, these plants produce flowers. In June and July, the dry alpine tundra is covered with beautiful purple, white, and yellow flowers. There are 430 kinds of plants found in Denali, including the Alaska state flower, the forget-me-not.

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What I Learned Section 2 -- Define the following words:
Arctic Circle: Cold, icy area surrounding the North Pole

Athabascan: Language of the American Indians who live in the northernmost regions of North America

Dense: Crowded together

Lapp: Person from northern Scandinavia

Mammal: Warm-blooded animal that gives live birth and nurses its young; dogs, bears, whales, and humans are mammals

Naturalist: Scientist who studies nature

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Bonus Questions (Answer 1 of the Following Questions for Your FREE Bookmark):
How many miles is the Alaska Iditarod Trail Sled-Dog Race?
1,100 miles or 1,770 kilometers. The Alaska Iditarod Trail Sled-Dog Race is held every February. It runs from Anchorage to Nome.

Fifteen minutes from the Visitor Access Center, park rangers give daily dog-sledding demonstrations. Sled-dogs are strong, hearty, and courageous. They have great endurance allowing them to pull sleds over long distances. Did you know a sled-dog team can travel 20 to 40 miles (32 to 64 km) a day?

A sled-dog team usually has three to eight dogs. Each dog is hitched one behind the other. Sometimes, two dogs are hitched side by side. The lead dog takes commands from the driver. The driver walks or runs along side the sled and hops on the back of the sled every few minutes.

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b. Use five of the words in Section 2 in a sentence.
Answers may vary. Here are sample sentences from our young readers:
The Arctic Circle is near the North Pole, and it is very cold.

I do not speak Athabascan.

Our city is very dense.

A Lapp is a person from Scandinavia.

Elephants are mammals.

My aunt is a naturalist, and she studies nature.

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c. Have a parent or friend give you a spelling test with EACH of the words in Section 2.

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More Valuable Information about Independence Day:
Denali National Park and Preserve (NPS)
Geology of Denali National Park and Preserve (NPS)
Denali National Park, Alaska
Denali National Park (
Denali (

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