Alaskans are gonna Alaska. Part of that is a strong tendency towards patriotism among most of the population; it’s pretty common in summer to see pickup trucks and SUVs flying American flags on local highways and byways.


Another part of that is a stubborn insistence on not being told what to do – for instance, workers in Denali National Park being told to take American flags off of their equipment, as my colleague Jennifer Oliver O’Connell reported on Sunday.

Previously on RedState: Denali National Park Superintendent Tells Construction Workers They Cannot Fly the US Flag: It ‘Detracts’

Now, the National Park Service is trying to walk that statement back:

As drivers gather in Fairbanks and Big Lake, Alaska to convoy to the entrance of Denali National Park, the National Park Service has responded to the accusation that the superintendent at Denali National Park ordered construction workers to not fly the flag in the park.

“Reports that a National Park Service (NPS) official ordered the removal of an American flag from a Denali bridge construction worker’s vehicle at Denali National Park are false. At no time did an NPS official seek to ban the American flag from the project site or associated vehicles. The NPS neither administers the bridge project contract, nor has the authority to enforce terms or policies related to the contract or contractors performing the work. The American flag can be seen at various locations within Denali National Park – at park facilities and campsites, on public and private vehicles, and at employee residences – and we welcome its display this Memorial Day weekend and every day.”


I have been in the park and can confirm that the flag was, last time I was there, indeed flying at the park’s visitor center.

Meanwhile, speaking of Alaskans being Alaskan, on Sunday, a convoy sped south out of Fairbanks towards the park, flags flying proudly, while 20 or so more vehicles headed north from the Matanuksa-Susitna Valley. And the construction workers are doubling down on their version of events: [emphasis added]

A good time was had by all on Sunday at Denali National Park, which some Alaskans are now jokingly referring to as “Denial National Park,” after the National Park Service denied ordering construction workers to remove American flags from their vehicles as they transit the park to and from the Pretty Rocks Landslide bridge project.

The workers stand by their statements that they were ordered to remove their American flags. The order came by a message relayed through the Federal Highway Administration project manager at the bridge construction site but was from Park Superintendent Brooke Merrell, who said there had been a complaint about a truck flying the American flag as it transited the Park Road.

About 100 Alaska cars and trucks, decorated with American flags, converged on Denali National Park on Sunday to complete their mission of sending a community message to the National Park Service: An American flag mounted on a truck does not detract from the park experience.


That’s as it should be; this is how one runs a protest, cheerfully, proudly, cleanly, with no buildings set ablaze, no rocks thrown at cops, no automobiles overturned, just a lot of proud, patriotic Alaskans showing up at Denali to say, “This is our flag, we love it, and we’ll fly it proudly no matter what anyone thinks.”

The convoy participants would seem to have made their point.

They don’t call Alaska the Great Land for nothing. It’s a vast, wild place, full of beautiful scenery, wonderful hunting and fishing, and stubborn, proud, patriotic folks. If nothing else proved that, the great convoys out of Fairbanks and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley sure have.

When the convoy arrived, the park employees were embarrassed to find the flag that normally flies from the park headquarters had somehow gone missing:

Apparently the maintenance crew takes it down every night and put it up every morning. Our team leaders asked them to put the flag back up. They went to the box that it’s always in and the flag was not there. They were very embarrassed and apologetic. They said they couldn’t believe this was happening.


We can probably expect that situation to be rectified, with Alaska’s eyes on the issue. Summer is nearly here, and people are coming, not only from all over the United States but all over the world, to see Alaska. It’s important that we put our best foot – and our best flag – forward. And if anyone doesn’t like it, the airport is right down there in Anchorage, and don’t let that metaphorical door hit you on the way out.

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Alaska Man Monday – Spelling, Swan Diving and Safety

What this affair all seems to boil down to is this: A new park superintendent from Portland, of all places, overstepped. Alaska has now shown her what’s what. The National Park Service seems to have listened. A peaceful demonstration by a few dozen great Americans was all it took, and now Old Glory will be flying at Denali again.