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Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Russell Berry

Russell Berry was interviewed on March 5, 1992 by Bill Brown in Russ Berry's office at Denali National Park Headquarters in Denali Park, Alaska. In this interview, Russ talks about the issues he faces as the park's superintendent in terms of managing climbing on Denali. He discusses access and transportation, rescues, overcrowding on the mountain, regulating guiding, and possible impacts from development on the south side of the Alaska Range.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 1993-02-01

Project: Denali Mountaineering
Date of Interview: Mar 5, 1992
Narrator(s): Russell Berry
Interviewer(s): Bill Brown
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
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Sections

1) Personal background and career development

2) Climbers and National Park Service response with glacier flying

3) To rescue or not to rescue

4) Crowding on the mountain

5) Flight-seeing over and around Mount McKinley (now Denali)

6) Freedom versus responsibility

7) Denali National Park's South Side Development Plan

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Transcript

Section 1: education\ NPS -- career|

Section 2: NPS\ flying -- glacier\ Kahiltna Glacier -- landing strip\ Sheldon, Don\ landing strip -- maintenance\ NPS -- history of presence\ helicopters -- military, Chinook\ helicopters -- cost efficiency, criticism\ helicopters -- Lama\ helicopters -- on base argument|

Section 3: NPS\ rescue -- responsibility\ rescue -- NPS\ rescue -- prevention\ rescue -- education\ Deaths -- record 1991\ rescue -- operation\ Okonek, Jim\ Geeting, Doug\ Hudson, Cliff|

Section 4: mountain -- crowding\ high altitude -- camp limitation\ Experience -- consideration\ environment -- consideration\ safety -- consideration\ guiding -- permits\ environment -- damage|

Section 5: legislation\ aircraft in the Parks Act -- Alaska's exemption\ aviation -- aesthetic concerns\ Ruth Glacier\ flight seeing -- safety\ flight seeing -- collision\ Grand Canyon\ flight-seeing -- rules\ ANILCA\ Sheldon Amphitheater\ Ruth Amphitheater|

Section 6: freedom\ responsibility regulation|

Section 7: South Side -- development\ development -- Talkeetna\ Matanuska Valley\ Talkeetna -- lifestyle\ Talkeetna -- visitor center\ Talkeetna -- attitude to NPS\ Talkeetna -- tourism\ Talkeetna -- incorporation\ Visitor Center -- mitigation|