Denali National Park Superintendent Tells Construction Workers They Cannot Fly the US Flag: It 'Detracts'

AP Photo/Joe Rosenthal

I pray all our RedState VIP subscribers, readers, lovers, and especially our haters are having a blessed and commemorative Memorial Day weekend. In honor of those brave men and women who died in service of our country and for our freedoms, my husband and I are celebrating by traveling up north to visit a friend as well as some historic parts. We hope to check out a bit of the Appalachian wilderness before heading to Chicago for a milestone celebration with my family. When I travel by automobile, one of the things that always does my heart good is to see our American flag flying in the breeze: whether it is on a government or private building, or on the back of a truck. America's ideals, America's founding, America's talent and treasure will stay strong as long as that flag flies; which is why some have a great problem with seeing it waving boldly and freely.


The superintendent of the Denali National Park in Alaska appears to have no such feelings. In fact, she thinks the American flag detracts from the Denali National Park experience. Libs of TikTok picked up this story from a publication called the Alaska Watchman, then did her usual.

This is the Superintendent of Denali National Park in Alaska, Brooke Merrell. 

She told construction crew working at the park that they can’t fly the American Flag from their trucks or equipment because it “detracts from the park experience.” 

Sen Sullivan responded by sending a scathing letter demanding answers. 

Absolutely disgraceful 

This would be a whole other matter if Brooke Merrell were a private citizen and Denali National Park was a privately owned wilderness preserve. But the word "National" in the title kind of gives it away. Denali National Park Service and Preserve is owned by the government—which many have forgotten is you and me—Joe and Jill Taxpayer. One of the construction crew reached out to the Alaska Watchman to let them know.


Since 2023, construction has been underway to repair the road at mile 45. This spring two mobile trucks and one piece of heavy equipment had been flying standard-sized U.S. flags.

One of the contractors working on the bridge reached out to the Alaska Watchman regarding the recent order that the flags be removed. He asked that his name not be used, given that he is actively working on the project.

According to the contractor, Denali National Park Superintendent Brooke Merrell contacted the man overseeing the federal highways project, claiming there had been complaints about the U.S. flags, and notifying him that bridge workers must stop flying the stars and strips from their vehicles because it detracts from the “park experience.”

Except this park is part of the "National" Park Service, paid for by citizen donations and taxpayer funds. But contractors cannot fly the flag of our nation? Excuse me?!

“The trucks are flying these American flags, about a foot atop the trucks, about three-foot by four-foot flags, and they said they don’t want this,” the contractor explained. “They’re saying it isn’t conducive and it doesn’t fit the park experience.”

Up until this week, however, the flags were displayed without incident. It was only when the park began running tour buses that the order was given to take down the flags, he added.

“Here I am in a national park, and we’re being told we can’t fly the American flag,” the contractor continued. “I understand there are rules for contractors working in the national parks, but you wouldn’t think flying the American flag would be part of those rules.”


One need dig no deeper than the background of Brooke Merrell, who took over the superintendent role in 2022. She is one of those female "firsts" who, according to her LinkedIn profile, has spent her career in government administration of one kind or another, the last 15 of those in Alaska, working her way up the chain. Her CV is chock full of left-leaning advocacy and activist work: DNA People's Legal Services on the Navajo Nation, the City of Portland, Columbia Riverkeeper, and Gulf Islands National Seashore. As one crewman told Alaska Watchman: “When these liberals get in charge of these parks, that’s how it is.”

It reminds me of that story back in February, where Gen Zer Cameron Blasek simply loved to display his American flag, and positioned it on the back of his truck. Blasek even did his research to ensure he was honoring the flag and not displaying it in an inappropriate way.

ST. LEON, Ind. — Wherever East Central High School senior Cameron Blasek goes, so does Old Glory. The American Flag blows in the wind on the back of his blue Dodge 4x4.

“The flag itself represents this country, this beautiful country that we live in,” Blasek said. “It also represents the people who fought their lives for it. And I think that’s a really hard thing to talk about, but I think it’s a big thing."

But when his truck was parked at school all day, it caused problems for the administration, who told him he needed to remove the flag from his truck. 


On Thursday, Blasek said he was pulled aside by his counselor and vice principal. He said they told him he needed to remove the flag from the back of the truck because it was a violation of school rules.

Blasek said school officials told him it could lead to other students flying flags “that are seen as offensive."

“Honestly, I was shocked,” he said. “I read through the… 2023-2024 Handbook, and the word ‘flag’ wasn't even mentioned in the parking lot or driving section. The only section it's mentioned in is the flag-twirling section.”

Blasek kept the flag on his truck. The following day, several others showed up to the parking lot with American Flags on their own vehicles.

“There was a huge support group there that believed and stood for the same thing that I did,” he said. “I was kind of shocked by that.”

We have a generation who understands about honoring our flag and what it represents and means, and then we have people like Brooke Merrell, who would not have this particular job had it not been for the men and women who bled and died on her behalf. As Alaska Watchman and Libs of TikTok also discovered, Denali has no problem flying other flags: like the Pride flag. In fact, the National Park Service has dedicated an entire page to LGBTQ+ flags and their display.


But the American flag "detracts." <insert *eyeroll* emoji>

Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan got wind of Merrell's actions and is none to happy about it. So, he did what Congress does well: he wrote a strongly worded letter to the director of the National Park Service.

Sen. Dan Sullivan sent letter to the director of the National Park Service Charles “Chuck” Sams III, expressing his strong disapproval to the demand that workers take the American flags off their trucks and heavy equipment. Sullivan also spoke about it on the Mike Porcaro Show on Friday, saying Sullivan’s State Director Adam Trombley was on the phone trying to reach Park Superintendent Merrell.

Sullivan said that the matter was especially concerning in that it came on the eve of Memorial Day weekend.

And like the freedom-loving folks that they are, Alaskans are doing what they do well: showing up in force to make it known the American flag will fly, but this nonsense will not. On Sunday, starting at 12:00 p.m. Alaska time, Alaskans plan to gather at a Walmart parking lot to stage, then converge on Denali National Park flying patriotic flags.


America—heck YES!

A convoy with patriotic flags will meet at the Fairbanks Walmart parking lot on Sunday starting at noon, and will be rolling toward the Denali Park entrance at around 1 pm, said Keith Fons of North Pole, who is organizing the convoy. The drive to the entrance usually takes about two hours. The goal is to take a break in Healy at the Three Bears parking lot, where people can attach, reattach or adjust their flags, and arrive around 2:30 or 3 p.m. at the park entrance visitor center.

Others are organizing to come from the south, with people in Wasilla, Palmer, and Anchorage now getting in the patriotic spirit for a Memorial Day ride. Organizers said if the parking lot is full at the visitors center, they will line the road as safely as possible.

My colleague and Alaska correspondent Ward Clark will no doubt have more on this. We are the land of the free, because of the brave. Our flag represents them, and there should be no restrictions on where it is flown anywhere in America—especially at a national park.


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