With around Mount Rainier National Park13 feet of snow still piled high on the ground at Paradise and along the roadsides, and Rainier Guest Services employees are working hard to get park facilities ready to open for the Memorial Day weekend – the beginning of the summer visitor season at Rainier.
This involves plowing the winter snows from the Stevens Canyon Road (east/west park connection), cleaning up the roadsides and ditches, and placing information and regulatory signs along the roadways of the newly opened areas; starting up water and utility systems at Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh Campgrounds, and the Box Canyon and White River areas; and cleaning and preparing the Paradise Inn to welcome visitors for its 97th season. In addition all the park’s housing units must be opened and cleaned for the 200+ seasonal employees, many who live in the park throughout the summer.
Listed below are the areas and facilities scheduled to be open for the Memorial Day weekend:
Paradise Inn Opening, Wednesday, May 21
National Park Inn at Longmire Open year round
Stevens Canyon Road Friday, May 23 @ 8:00 a.m.
Cougar Rock Campground Friday, May 23 @ Noon (only Loops B, D, E, roadside and group sites will open on this date.
Loops A & C will open at a later date.
Ohanapecosh Campground Friday, May 23 @ Noon
White River Road to White River Entrance Friday, May 23 @ 8:00 a.m.
Box Canyon Picnic Area & Restrooms Friday, May 23
Wilderness Information Centers at Longmire
and White River Friday, May 23
In addition to the above openings, Washington State Department of Transportation advises that State Route 410 east over Chinook Pass is scheduled to open to the public at noon on Friday, May 23.
For updates on current conditions check the park’s webpage at www.nps.gov/mora, or join the Mount Rainier community on Facebook, find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier’s Twitter feed, explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube, and share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group.” Recorded park information is also available by calling 360-569-2211.
Outside the park visitor lodging, food, gifts and activities are available year round. Check the following web pages for information on these communities surrounding the park – www.visitrainier.com, www.mt-rainier.com, www.staycrystal.com, www.minerallake.com, www.destinationpackwood.com,
NOTE: The Nisqually to Paradise Road Rehabilitation Project is underway repairing 17.6 miles of road between the Nisqually Entrance and the developed area at Paradise. The project will take place in two phases, each taking up to two years. Phase 1 includes the installation of in-road buried conduits and junction vaults, as well as improvements to the road’s substructure and drainage between the Nisqually Entrance and Longmire. This will also include paving and substructure work on Ricksecker Point Loop and Paradise Valley Road. Phase 2 should begin in 2016 at Longmire and end at Paradise in 2017.
This project is addressing deteriorating road conditions that are due to many factors including abundant precipitation, structural and design deficiencies, large traffic volumes, and normal wear. The road work is designed to protect adjacent natural and cultural resources, will replace culverts to improve aquatic conditions and will preserve the character of the National Historic Landmark District.
Park visitors may encounter traffic delays of up to 30 minutes in the construction areas throughout the summer. Motorcyclists and bicyclists should be aware that road conditions between Nisqually Entrance and Longmire will be hazardous, with numerous unpaved sections, loose gravel and mud, uneven road elevations and patches throughout the roadway. Cyclists should plan extra time into their rides, slow down, and pay close attention to road surfaces. All motorists should use caution when driving through construction areas.