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Contact: Linda Slater, 760-786-3279
Forty-five National Park Service staff members from various parks reported for duty today at Death Valley to renew cleanup and repair efforts after a series of rainstorms caused repeated flash flooding, resulting in one of the greatest and costliest storms in park history. The storms culminated in an October 18th event, when over three inches of rain fell in just five hours in Grapevine Canyon, resulting in a flood that ripped out utilities, deposited thick layers of mud in the visitor center and Hacienda office building, and blocked hundreds of miles of roads with flood debris.
After breaking for the Thanksgiving holiday, extra hands have returned to Death Valley to maintain the recovery momentum. Trail crews from Mesa Verde and Glacier National Parks are working at Scotty's Castle, continuing to shovel mud from around buildings and landscaping where heavy equipment can't work. Crews will be carrying in about two miles of 8-inch pvc pipe to reestablish a temporary, non-potable water line, crucial for providing minimal fire protection to Scotty's Castle and other buildings on the site. Generators are being installed to provide short-term electricity as Southern California Edison works to reestablish electrical service.
At the south end of the park, road crews are rebuilding road shoulders along Badwater Road and grading Harry Wade Road, with the goal of reopening access to the southern end of Death Valley. Miles of pavement were destroyed in the vicinity of Jubilee Pass, near the park boundary west of Shoshone. Repaving of this section has not yet been scheduled but is expected to occur early in 2016.
National Park Service engineers continue to assess damage and develop cost estimates for repairs to utilities and structures on the grounds of Scotty's Castle. These estimates will form the basis for a repair plan for this unique historic district.
The additional work crews will be working in Death Valley for the next two to three weeks with the goal of reopening additional roads, restoring utilities, and developing a solid plan for Scotty's Castle repairs.
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