2010 Season Opening Delayed by Winter Conditions
Contact: Teri Saa, 435 586-9451
Winter is maintaining its tight grip on the high country of Cedar Breaks National Monument causing the traditional Memorial Day weekend opening day to be delayed by at least one week. The snow level this year, although half of what it was during the unusually big snow year of 2005, is double what it normally is at this time of the year. Efforts to open the Cedar Breaks Scenic Drive, also known as Utah Highway 148, are underway but snow drifts of four to eight feet hamper the progress.
The National Park Service reports that snow plows from UDOT are working to clear the road. “Extensive work remains to widen the road to allow for two-way traffic, and to open the Visitor Center parking lot and scenic overlooks,” said Park Superintendent, Paul Roelandt. “Although opening for the Memorial Day weekend is very important to us, visitor safety is even more important. At this point, we do not anticipate opening the road until at least June 5th or until the ice and snow thaw enough for safe passage.” The Cedar Breaks Visitor Center will open for the season after the road through the park re-opens. The campground normally opens by mid-June, but with the unusually high amount of snow, campers should call the park ahead of their visit and check on the status of campsites as well as other visitor facilities
With all the additional moisture this winter, it should be a spectacular season for wildflowers, which usually begin to bloom in early July and may run a bit later this year due to the late snow season. In addition to the wildflower festival and daily ranger programs, the park will be hosting a series of night sky parties throughout the summer, celebrating their 77th anniversary in August, and a Fall Color Festival in September.
As is the case every year, when Cedar Breaks opens, weight restrictions will be in place prohibiting vehicles over 26,000 gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) from using the road through the park. “Signs are in place on all the approaches to Cedar Breaks alerting drivers to the fact that the Cedar Breaks road is closed to all traffic exceeding 26,000 GVWR because the of the damage heavy vehicles cause to the road” Roelandt said.
Questions regarding the status of the Cedar Breaks Scenic Drive may be directed to the park’s headquarters office in Cedar City at 435 586-9451. Once the park opens, visitors can call the park Visitor Center directly at 435-586-0787 to inquire about park events and recreational opportunities.