Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



Healy, the gateway community to Denali National Park and Preserve, has experienced an increasing deluge of visitors. During the past twenty years, the number of annual visits increased from approximately 42,000 to 1.5 million. Different settlement patterns and the role of tourism in Healy are revealed through three epochs: Old Healy, Middle Healy, and Current Healy. The Old Healy townsite was located on the banks of the Healy River. It existed as a railroad camp and functioned to service the Alaska Railroad which transported coal and provide residents access to larger communities. During this epoch, the tourism industry began with the establishment of Mount McKinley National Park (renamed

Denali National Park and Preserve) in 1917. Middle Healy was located west of the original townsite. The George Parks Highway, completed in 1972, provided increased access and visitation to the National

Park and the Healy area, which allowed Healy to become a tourism destination zone. Healy evolved into a gateway community during the Current Healy epoch. The number and scale of tourism services increased during this epoch. The tourism impacts in Healy have increased, while unmanaged growth has created a dispersed settlement pattern with scattered subdivisions.

Key Words: historical geography, Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, gateway community

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Healy (Alaska) -- Historical geography

Denali National Park and Preserve (Alaska)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University