Madams, Marshals, Moonshiners, and Madmen, some of the characters that figure in the early history of Mt. McKinley National Park, the forerunner of Denali National Park.
For four long years after the park was created, the residents of two communities, McKinley Station in the east and Kantishna in the west, used the park as they always had, hunting, trapping, and prospecting without restraint. The wildlife slaughter gained national attention. Finally, the Government provided funds to hire the first park ranger: Harry Karstens, a man of courage, strength, and tenacity.
Single-handedly Karstens built a headquarters and attempted to enforce the park regulations, meeting opposition at every turn. Locals viewed McKinley Park as merely a playground for Eastern millionaires and were not about to give up their hunting and trapping rights. Karstens faced down tough, dangerous foes who threatened his reputation, life, and family.
Carving a national park out of the wilderness of Denali was a daunting task. People here lived life on the edge. Here are stories of sourdoughs, shoot-outs, and shady ladies. Stories of jousts with bitter cold and wild beasts; wilderness and wild fire. Battles with bureaucrats and bounders; poachers and prospectors.
Despite long odds, Karstens overcame nearly insurmountable challenges to develop and protect Mt. McKinley National Park, the crown jewel of Alaska.
Pictorial Histories Publishing, 2009. 6 x9, Softbound, 390 pages plus 50 b&w photos and maps ISBN: 978-1-57510-145-3 $21.95 plus postage. See STORE to order.