Early opening for Sunrise; other features will follow
April 30, 2009 · Updated 11:32 AM
The Sunrise area in Mount Rainier National Park opened for the season Friday morning, earlier than usual.
Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga said the area traditionally opens the weekend prior to the Fourth of July. However, because access to some areas of the park remain closed due to the severe damage from the November 2006 storm, the Sunrise area was opened early.
Interpretive programs will begin Friday at the Sunrise Visitor Center and the snack bar at Sunrise Lodge will open on Saturday.
In other park news:
White River Campground will open for the season June 29. The White River Road to the campground opened in May providing early season access for climbers.
The Mowich Lake Road is also scheduled to open on June 29. At this time, snow remains on the roadway in some areas.
Due to extensive storm damage, the Carbon River Road will not be accessible by vehicles. Access will be by foot or bicycle only.
State Route 410 is open from the north park boundary east to Yakima.
State Route 123 remains closed for repairs. A contract was recently awarded for repair of SR 123 and construction will begin soon with an anticipated completion date in early October. Consequently, a 10.9-mile long segment of SR 123 from just south of Cayuse Pass (intersection with SR 410) to just north of the intersection with the Stevens Canyon Road will be closed to both public and administrative traffic for the duration of the contract, which will prevent visitors from driving north and south through the park.
The November floods damaged sections of the Stevens Canyon Road that connect the east and west sides of the park. Barring any unforeseen problems, Stevens Canyon Road will reopen on Friday. At present, the Stevens Canyon Road is open on the west side to Reflection Lake and on the east side to the Grove of the Patriarchs. Once opened, traffic will need to alternate through a very short one-lane section located approximately three miles west of SR 123. Visitors will be able to access Stevens Canyon from the southeast via SR 123/US 12 and on to the west side of the park.