DENALI, Alaska — Denali National Park and Preserve visitors will explore the park in a school bus, perhaps indefinitely. Last week, IC Bus delivered one of its hybrid units to the park.
The bus, on loan from Cascadia International LLC (IC’s dealership in Anchorage, Alaska), will serve as part of the park’s shuttle service through Aug. 30 by transporting visitors along a 45-mile route.
“This bus is for demonstration and evaluation purposes,” said Matt Gerber, statewide sales executive of Cascadia International. “The National Park Service is looking at this technology and is very interested in the feasibility and economic viability of future fleet replacements.”
The price of diesel fuel in the Denali area tops $5 per gallon, so fuel economy is a key consideration with this project, Gerber added. In addition to its environmental benefits, the bus' hybrid drive system is expected to provide better performance on the park’s steep roads and reduce engine noise to improve visitors’ wildlife-viewing experience.
The Denali National Park and Preserve is one of the world’s largest protected intact ecosystems.