Citing low staffing, Mount Rainier park reduces access to Paradise to weekends this winter

Access to the rest of the park remains unchanged.

Public access to Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park will be restricted to Saturdays and Sundays only for the winter 2022-2023 season, the park announced Nov. 29, a change the park said is due to staffing limitations.

“Making this access change will help visitors make plans knowing that weather permitting, the road to Paradise will be open on weekends when the most visitation typically occurs,” Greg Dudgeon, park superintendent, said in a prepared statement.

The change was effective Nov. 29. Recreational visitors won’t be able to access Paradise during the weekday for the rest of the season, unless circumstances change.

Snowplow operators will try to plow the 12 miles of road to Paradise throughout the week, and while this will make the roads accessible enough for park staff to get in-and-out during emergencies, it won’t leave them safe enough for public access on Mondays through Fridays.

The sledding runs at Paradise will not open this year, and sledding is not permitted elsewhere in the park. Winter camping at Paradise will be available Saturday nights only, conditions permitting, according to the park.

Daily snowplowing will continue seven days a week between the Nisqually entrance and Longmire, according to the park, and the Longmire area will remain open seven days a week, barring any major weather events. Winter recreation access on the east side of the park remains unchanged. SR 410 and 123 are closed to vehicles at the northeast, east and southeast park boundaries.

The east side of the park is open for visitor use, and the park reopened the Carbon River area to parking recently after finishing road repair. The National Park Inn and Longmire General Store remain open daily, and SR 410 from the north park boundary and White River Road are open to snowmobiles up to the White River Campground.

The park will revisit the Paradise access schedule if staffing levels change.

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