A classic mining time of days of old, McCarthy and Kennicott now do a thriving business as the unofficial headquarters of tourist traffic in the Wrangell/St. Elias National Park. The two towns, one of a handful of inholdings left over when the park was created, still have a year-round population of about 50 (that increases dramatically during the summer seasons) and the population retains many of the old trappings of bush life in Alaska. Getting there is though is one reason why these two towns are not over run by tourists, as many of Alaska’s small towns are during the summer seasons. As of 2003, the road is much improved. In fact 2005 will see even more upgrades to a road that use to be long and very difficult, causing many flats. These days the road is well graded. It will now take 2 hours from Chitina instead of 5 hours, and you are unlikely to get a flat, but like anywhere, have a spare tire just in case. As of 2004, the winter population is now around 80 within 20 miles of McCarthy. Both towns have been restored to some degree, the NPS has spent millions (with millions more to be invested). McCarthy is the more relaxing and real destination to stay at, but you must see both towns.