Dante’s View closed for upgrades

Dante’s View closed for upgradesPictured: Hiker overlooks Badwater Basin from Dante’s View. — Courtesy photo

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DEATH VALLEY – Death Valley National Park will soon be improving parking and viewing platforms at Dante’s View. Because of the construction project, the scenic viewpoint will be closed temporarily to public access through early April.

Perched more than a mile above the valley floor, Dante’s View provides some of the most expansive views of Death Valley. The site was used as a part of the 1977 movie “Star Wars: A New Hope.”

According to Death Valley National Park Superintendent Mike Reynolds, “Dante’s View is one of the most popular sites in the park, and every year over half a million people make the drive up to the 5,475-foot-high overlook!

“ However, the site is in desperate need of stabilization. We are very excited to work with a contractor so familiar with Death Valley’s unique needs and landscape.”

The National Park Service awarded the contract to S.T. Rhoades Construction, which also rehabilitated parking and the overlook at Zabriskie Point in 2015.

In addition to parking, new viewing areas will be constructed in order to provide the best views while protecting the native landscape. A new bronze tactile model of the area is also being constructed by artist Bridget Keimel and will be located at the overlook.

The project was made possible through private donations and park entrance fees. The Death Valley Natural History Association and the Fund for People in Parks have made significant contributions that were matched by federal funds to facilitate this project.

“So much effort has gone into repairing flood damage at Scotty’s Castle recently that other important projects have been in danger of significant delays.

“Without partners like the Fund for People in Parks and Death Valley Natural History Associa-tion, this work would have been pushed back indefinitely. Their contributions are invaluable to protecting park resources and enhancing visitor experiences,” said Reynolds.

Death Valley National Park is the homeland of the Timbisha Shoshone and preserves natural and cultural resources, exceptional wilderness, scenery and learning experiences within the nation’s largest conserved desert landscape and some of the most extreme climate and topographic conditions on the planet.

About two-thirds of the park was originally designated as Death Valley National Monument in 1933. Today the park is enjoyed by about 1,300,000 people per year. The park is 3,400,000 acres – nearly as large as the state of Connecticut. Learn more at www.nps.gov/deva.

Story First Published: 2018-02-02