FAIRBANKS (AP) The National Park Service says it can't afford to notify more than 14,000 losers of its annual Denali Road Lottery this year.
For the first time since the lottery's inception in 1990, the park service is notifying only those who won a chance to drive 82 miles into Denali National Park and Preserve after shuttle buses have stopped running in September.
About 16,000 lottery hopefuls submitted self-addressed stamped envelopes to be notified of results, but only 1,600 winners got them back. The rest more than $5,000 worth wound up in the trash.
The park service simply could not afford to process all the applications and notify both winners and losers, as it has in past years, said Stacey Chadwick with the superintendent's office. The park service has posted the list of winners on its Web site.
The park service has received dozens of calls from people who applied for the lottery and were expecting some kind of notice in the mail, Chadwick said.
Each fall, the park service opens the only road that leads into the 6-million-acre park to a limited number of private vehicles 400 a day over a four-day period. This year's schedule is Sept. 12-15, weather permitting
The winners are selected from a lottery of applicants who send in self-addressed, stamped envelopes with their choice of dates listed in order of preference as their entry.
In past years, the envelopes of winners were returned with a packet of information while the envelopes of losers were sent back with a letter wishing them better luck next year. But the road lottery has quadrupled in size since it began, Chadwick said.
''It has grown so significantly that we don't have the staffing to respond to each one,'' she told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
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