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Chico
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PostThu Dec 18, 2014 7:26 pm 
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Mount Rainier National Park News Release

December 18, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tracy Swartout, 360-569-6502

MOUNT RAINIER WINTER ACCESS SCHEDULE

Acting Superintendent Tracy Swartout advises that Mount Rainier has transitioned to winter hours of operation and service.    Warmer than average temperatures, several flood events, and high winds marked an interesting end to November and start to December.  Winter recreation demand will be increasing as temperatures cool and the holidays approach.  The entire Mount Rainier Team, including its concessioners, partners and scores of volunteers, is preparing for winter operations and visitors.

PLEASE NOTE:  The Paradise snowplay area is not open due to insufficient snow depth on the ground.  A minimum of 5 feet of snowpack is needed to avoid resource damage to the fragile meadows as well as for visitor safety.  Until there is significant snowfall and winter snowplay staffing is on board, there is no snowplay available in the park.

The entire park is open for visitor use throughout the winter, including overnight winter camping with a valid permit. However access may be dependent on road conditions. Campers should plan their travels with an understanding of nightly gate closures.  Overnight camping in vehicles is not permitted in the park.  Backcountry travelers are encouraged to get updates on current and projected snow, avalanche and weather conditions before coming to the park, heed warnings, and come prepared to survive winter conditions.  For winter camping reservations call 360-569-6575 between 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

As in past years, the main gate at the southwest entrance to the park (Nisqually) will remain open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week unless hazardous conditions require a temporary closure.  The higher elevation gate, located on the road between Longmire and Paradise is closed nightly to ensure visitor and staff safety.  Rangers and Roads staff evaluates road, weather, avalanche and staffing conditions daily when making a decision on whether it is safe to open the road above Longmire. The target open hours for the road above Longmire will continue to be 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., with the uphill gate between Longmire and Paradise closing at 4:00 p.m. to allow time for visitors and staff to exit safely.  When the Paradise gate is closed, access to Longmire is still open through the Nisqually Entrance.

State Routes 410 and 123, Stevens Canyon and the Mowich Lake Roads are closed for the winter.

On December 12, park staff began sending out projected upper gate opening time via Twitter at approximately 7:30 a.m.  Due to changing conditions or new information, it may be necessary to revise this time.  In general, and unless updated, the target opening time for the road above Longmire during the winter will be 9:00 a.m. and the closing time will be 5:00 p.m., with the uphill gate between Longmire and Paradise closing at 4:00 p.m. to allow time for visitors and staff to exit safely.

Two snowplow operator vacancies have recently been filled and winter seasonal employees will be coming on board soon.  The goal is to provide seven day a week access to Paradise. However, access is subject to change based on weather and road conditions, unexpected staffing levels or extenuating circumstances such as search and rescue incidents, vehicle accidents, flooding, tree falls, etc.

Visitors are reminded that all vehicles (including 4WD) are required to carry tire chains when traveling in the park.  Tire chains are available at the Summit House in Ashford and at the National Park Inn in Longmire.  Road conditions can deteriorate quickly at any time and mandatory chain use may be required even for 4WD vehicles.

The Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center is open weekends and holidays only.  Operating hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.  From December 20 through January 1, the JVC will be open daily.  During this “winter break/holiday period”, the Longmire Information Center will be closed with staff reassigned to Paradise.

Ranger guided snowshoe walks are scheduled to begin December 24 at Paradise.  Walks begin at the Jackson Visitor Center at 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.   Sign-ups begin one hour in advance of each walk at the JVC information desk.  Participants should dress warmly (layers), have warm hats and gloves and wear adequate footwear for snowshoes. Sunglasses and sunscreen are also advised.  Beginning January 3, reserved group snowshoe walks will begin.  These walks are from 2:00 p.m. – to 4:00 p.m. on weekends and holiday periods when the visitor center is open.  Group reservations can be made by calling 360-569-6575 between 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.  If the gate opening between Longmire and Paradise is delayed, snowshoe walk times may be adjusted or led from the Longmire Information Center.

The Longmire area will remain open seven days a week, barring major storm events.  At the historic National Park Inn, lodging, food, gifts, snowshoe and ski rentals are available.  For reservations call 360-569-2275 or visit http://www.mtrainierguestservices.com/

General park information, including winter activity guidance, backcountry permits, and books and maps from Discover Your Northwest are available at the Longmire Information Center (historic Longmire Administration Building) when it is open.

Businesses in the gateway communities are also open throughout the winter and offer great get-away opportunities during the holiday period.  Check these websites for contact information:   http://www.visitrainier.com/http://www.mtrainier.com/http://www.mtrainierguestservices.com/ , http://www.minerallake.com/http://www.staycrystal.com/ ,  or  http://www.destinationpackwood.com

There is plenty to do in and around Mount Rainier, any day of the week!  Visitors are encouraged to obtain up-to-the-minute updates on road conditions and restrictions by calling the park at 360-569-2211 for recorded information. Information is also available through the park’s official website http://www.nps.gov/mora and social media pages.  Mount Rainier webcams can also be viewed at this website.

Join the Mount Rainier community on Facebook http://facebook.com/MountRainierNPS - find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed http://twitter.com/MountRainierNPS - explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube http://youtube.com/MountRainierNPS and share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group http://flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS.

-NPS-

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Chico
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PostThu Dec 21, 2017 12:03 pm 
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Mount Rainier National Park News Release
December 21, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: 360-569-6510

Mount Rainier National Park Announces Winter Operating Hours
Snow play area remains closed due to insufficient snow

Recent storms have set the stage for winter recreation at Mount Rainier National Park, with enough snow at Paradise for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding. However, the Paradise snow play area remains closed due to an insufficient snow depth to open. A minimum of five feet of snowpack is needed throughout the area to create the run and containment berm, and to prevent resource damage from the grooming equipment and sledding activity. The Paradise snow play area is the only location in the park where visitors are allowed to use soft-sided sliding devices, such as 100% plastic sleds and discs.
Beginning Friday, December 22, the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise is open throughout the winter on Fridays through Sundays, from 10:00 am to 4:15 pm. In addition, this visitor center will be open December 25-January 1, January 15, and February 19.

Ranger guided snowshoe walks at Paradise are scheduled to begin Saturday, December 23, 2017 through March 25, 2018.  The walks will be offered on weekends and holiday periods at 11:00 am and 1:30 pm, and last two hours each.  Sign-ups are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and begin one hour in advance of each walk at the Jackson Visitor Center information desk.  Participants should dress warmly (layers), wearing warm hats, gloves, and waterproof footwear suitable for snowshoes.  Sunglasses, sunscreen, and water are also advised.  On January 6, snowshoe walks for organized groups of 15 to 25 visitors begin. Group snowshoe walk reservations can be made by calling 360-569-6575 between the hours of 9:30 am and 4:00 pm.  If the gate opening between Longmire and Paradise is delayed, snowshoe walk times may be adjusted or led from the Longmire Museum.

The Longmire area is open seven days a week, unless major storm events require closure.  Open daily from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, the Longmire Museum provides general park information, winter activity guidance, backcountry permits, and Discover Your Northwest books and maps for sale.  The historic National Park Inn is also open daily and provides lodging, food, gifts, and snowshoe/ski rentals.  For reservations, call 360-569-2275 or visit mtrainierguestservices.com.

The main gate at the southwest entrance to the park will remain open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week unless conditions require a temporary closure. The higher elevation gate, located on the road between Longmire and Paradise is closed nightly to ensure visitor and staff safety, with uphill access closing at 4:00 pm to allow for visitors and staff to exit safely. Each morning, rangers and road crew staff evaluate road, weather, avalanche, and equipment conditions to determine when it is safe to open the road above Longmire. Unexpected staffing shortages due to illness or injury can also impact projected opening times. While park staff understand that visitors are disappointed when the gate is opened later than projected, in all cases, public and staff safety is the highest priority. Webcam viewers should note that a clear parking lot at Paradise doesn’t mean road conditions between Longmire and Paradise are safe. Standard open hours of this road are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm with daily road opening and closing updates posted to Twitter. Follow the feed at twitter.com/MountRainierNPS.

Visitors are reminded that all vehicles (including 4WD) are required to carry tire chains or other state-approved traction devices when traveling in the park from November 1 – May 1. Road conditions can deteriorate quickly at any time and mandatory chain use may be required even for 4WD vehicles. Tire chains are available for sale in Ashford and at the National Park Inn in Longmire.

Overnight winter camping is allowed in many areas throughout the park with a valid permit; however, access is dependent on road conditions and snow depth, as follows:

· In the Paradise Day Use Zone (surrounding Paradise, outside of Wilderness), camping is permitted when snow depth exceeds 5 feet at the campsite. All Paradise Zone camping must be at least 300 feet from buildings, roads, established winter trails and the designated sledding area. The maximum party size is 12 persons.

· Elsewhere the park, camping is permitted in undeveloped areas, where snow depth is at least 2 feet. Campsites must be more than 200 feet from roads and at least 300 feet from lakes, streams and wetlands. The maximum party size is also 12 persons.

Campers should plan travel with gate closures in mind.  Overnight camping in vehicles is not allowed in the park. For camping reservations, call 360-569-6575 between the hours of 9:30 am and 4:00 pm.

Backcountry travelers are encouraged to get updates on weather conditions, current and projected snow, and avalanche conditions before coming to the park.  Additionally, backcountry travelers must heed warnings, and come prepared to survive winter conditions.

Vehicle access to other areas of the park is closed for the winter, but the following areas remain open for recreation. Please note that temporary closures may become necessary due to changing conditions:

Carbon River Road
Mowich Lake Road
Paradise Valley Road
Ricksecker Point Road
SR123 (Cayuse Pass)
SR410 (Chinook Pass)
Stevens Canyon Road
Sunrise Road
Westside Road
White River Road
Information on current park road closures and weather conditions can be obtained by calling the park at 360-569-2211 for recorded information that is updated regularly.  Park information, announcements, and the Mount Rainier webcams are available on the park’s official website, nps.gov/mora.

Get additional information and updates by joining the Mount Rainier community on Facebook facebook.com/MountRainierNPS
Find out breaking news and road status updates through Mount Rainier's Twitter feed twitter.com/MountRainierNPS
Explore the park and behind-the-scenes operations with our videos on YouTube youtube.com/MountRainierNPS
Share your own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group flickr.com/groups/MountRainierNPS

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Just_Some_Hiker
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PostTue Jan 02, 2018 11:04 am 
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Quote:
Unexpected staffing shortages due to illness or injury can also impact projected opening times. While park staff understand that visitors are disappointed when the gate is opened later than projected, in all cases, public and staff safety is the highest priority.

So if Ranger Rick calls out because of a sore throat, 100+ people waiting at the gate -- who have paid money to be there -- are SOL. Isn't that nice.

I wish they'd stop treating the park like Disneyland.
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Foist
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PostTue Jan 02, 2018 12:18 pm 
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Pretty sure even Disneyland would not delay opening because someone was sick.
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Just_Some_Hiker
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PostTue Jan 02, 2018 1:16 pm 
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Foist wrote:
Pretty sure even Disneyland would not delay opening because someone was sick.

Good point. Nor would most other privately operated recreation spots. Can you imagine Alpental or Timberline refusing to open because someone called out? They'd just call in another employee or have some unlucky person do double-duty.

My Disneyland remark was more about the mentality of needing an army of staff to babysit visitors and operate what is essentially a very basic sno-park. What's up there? They've got a sledding hill. Big whoop. There are no snowmobile trails, ski lifts, rope tows or groomed ski trails. Why do they need armed mountain cops, medics, ambulances and support staff in order to run a sledding hill and gift shop? This is just bureaucracy run amok.

Take a look at the Marble Mountain Sno-Park at Mt. St. Helens. It's open 24/7, is not actively staffed, and it has motorized and non-motorized users. And yet people aren't dying left and right without government babysitters present.
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