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With around 13-feet of snow still piled high on the ground at Paradise and along the roadsides, Mount Rainier National Park 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 snow 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 - 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
For lodging reservations at Paradise Inn and the Nationa lPark Inn go to www.mtrainierguestservices.comor call 360-569-2275.
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 webpages 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 RehabilitationProject is underway repairing 17.6 miles of road between the Nisqually Entranceand 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-roadburied conduits and junction vaults, as well as improvements to the road'ssubstructure and drainage between the Nisqually Entrance and Longmire. Thiswill also include paving and substructure work on Ricksecker Point Loop andParadise Valley Road. Phase 2 should begin in 2016 at Longmire and end atParadise in 2017.
This project isaddressing deteriorating road conditions that are due to many factors includingabundant precipitation, structural and design deficiencies, large trafficvolumes, and normal wear. The road work is designed to protect adjacent naturaland cultural resources, will replace culverts to improve aquatic conditions andwill 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 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.