The remote nature of our lodges allows for plenty of time to get to know coworkers. We eat, sleep, and play in the midst of our guests and in the company of our fellow staff each day.  

In our living environment, there is not much personal space and there is virtually no privacy; it quickly becomes clear that everybody knows everything about everyone. Some staff feel like they are in a fishbowl, where every move is being watched. In this same environment, others feel like they are living in a supportive family surrounded by a friendly small town.

Among the 30+ staff will be at least one town gossip, who will revel in telling you everyone's business and at least one person who will pretend they don't know everything about you, although they probably do. Within a few weeks, most of us find a personal balance point between knowing all about our fellow staff and being known by them. It is crucial to allow others to have different balance points. 

At the end of the season our time together generally results in a tight-knit community that is loathe to say goodbye for a long off-season, and full of invitations for cross-country visits throughout those months and beyond.  

Our staff come from all corners of the United States and represent a broad spectrum of past experiences and interests. The thread we have in common is a belief in the mission statement: To provide active learning experiences and foster stewardship of the natural world through a tradition of community, excellence, and place, although each of us contributes to it and prioritizes the various parts of it differently.

Members of our community range in age from eight years old to 65, with the average age being around 30. Some individuals have extensive hiking and outdoors experience before arriving, while others have never been hiking or camping in their life. Interests include reading, learning, dance, fiber arts, woodworking, painting, music, writing, playing games, and much more.

Each season's activities are determined and shaped by the community participating in them. There is at least one company-sponsored non-alcoholic staff party each month of the season. Past parties have included a talent show, murder mystery, white elephant gift exchange, scavanger hunt, and field day. Other favorite activities in recent years have included a triathlon, karaoke night, and a weekly writer's club. Each year one of these parties entails a homemade gift exchange with fellow staff.  

The staff room, made cheery by silly staff.

Wondering what to do on your days off?

Get to know someone who has the same day off as you

Go for a local hike

Borrow a bird book and binoculars; go down to Wonder Lake or Ranger Pond to see what's there

Canoe on Wonder Lake

Bike to the McKinley Bar Trail and hike to the McKinley River

Get dropped off by a bus and bike home.  Stop along the way to go for a hike

Go fishing or take a quick, cold swim in Wonder Lake, Moose Creek, or Nugget Pond

Get a backcountry permit and do an overnight backpacking trip

Hunker down and read, write, sketch, paint, or watch a movie

Pick berries and make a pie, jam, or sauce

Harvest spruce tips, arnica, or labrador tea and see what you can make from them

Get caught up on sleep and "chores"

Poke around the resource room admiring pelts, plaster casts, skulls, and maps

Eat guest dinner and attend an evening program

Gather a group of friends and play a game

Host an event of your own for staff - writing club, movie night, dance party, gam tournament - the opportunities are endless!

Make something - learn a new craft or skill

Dream up winter travel plans and destinations; draw on the wealth of knowledge from our well-traveled staff to make planning easier

An artist at work (Bill Berry) with a moose looking on

It was our camp. It wasn't the staff's or the management's, it was our camp together that we were building...It became sort of an extended family, because now we have kids all over the world! Anyone who has ever worked at Camp Denali can go and visit anybody else who worked there. It's a fraternity; it's family, you have to take 'em in."

– Wood, Ginny. Boots, Bikes, and Bombers

Megan Meyer, Personnel Manager
PO Box 67, Denali National Park, Alaska 99755
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