Park staff have started removing snow from the two-lane road leading up to the Paradise area, which closed during the partial federal government shutdown.
With several feet of snow covering traffic signs and roadways at Mount Rainier National Park, staff there warn it may take some time to return to regular operations after the partial government shutdown.
After a short-term deal to fund the government was reached last week, park staff began removing snow from the two-lane road leading up to the Paradise area, which closed during the shutdown. The Paradise parking lot is covered in about four feet of snow, said Tracy Swartout, the park’s deputy superintendent.
“We’re digging out Paradise right now,” Swartout said. “I would love to think we can open by the weekend, but that probably isn’t going to happen.”
Park staff should have a projected opening date in the coming days, but Paradise may be closed until next week, Swartout said.
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In the meantime, visitors can access the park from the Nisqually entrance and drive as far as the Longmire area, where the National Park Inn, restaurant and gift shop reopened several weeks ago using diverted federal funds. The Longmire Museum reopened on Sunday.
People visiting the park should remember that vehicles are required to carry tire chains from November to May, Swartout said.
The Carbon River and Mowich areas are also open depending on snow conditions, as they are not maintained in the winter, according to a statement from the National Park Service.
Those hoping to sled will have to wait, though, as the designated snowplay area is in Paradise and it may not reopen right away due to a lack of snow, Swartout said.
On the peninsula, Olympic National Park staff are working to clear downed trees and storm debris from roads and campgrounds, according to a statement from the National Park Service. The Staircase, Lake Crescent, Kalaloch and Ozette areas are accessible by car, but most of the park remains closed due to storm and flood damage.