DATE: 3/27/09


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Donna Rahier, 360-569-2211, x2301
< /p>

Even though the calendar says it’s officially spring, snow continues to
pile up on the slopes of Mount Rainier. Just like the bears and other
animals begin their annual ritual of coming out of hibernation, park
maintenance crews are beginning the annual ritual of spring opening .
Throughout the park this involves opening up roads that have been
completely snowed in since last fall and have 10+ feet of snow
accumulation; removal of slides, boulders and rocks and fallen trees from
these roads and repairing any damage; shoveling snow from park buildings;
reactivating water, sewer and heating systems that have been shut down
during the winter; repairing damage from winter’s harsh conditions and
many other maintenance activities associated with getting the park’s public
facilities ready for another season of visitation.< /p>

The Washington State Department of Transportation also has their spring
opening underway on State Routes 123 and 410 through the park.
< /p>

Snow was a little slow in coming to the higher slopes this winter, but it
appears a spring rally is underway. Last year on February 1 Paradise had
177 of snow on the ground; this year 107 were on the ground. On March
15, 2008 Paradise measured 211 (17.5′) on the ground; this year 152 (12.5′). Last winter snow continued to accumulate into spring and a cool, wet spring kept it on the ground late into summer. We’ll have to wait and
see what this spring will bring.< /p>

SNOWPLAY AND SNOWSHOE WALKS ENDING FOR SEASON< /p>

Mount Rainier Acting Superintendent Randy King advises that the public snow
play area at Paradise will close for the season on Sunday, April 5. The
area will be staffed through Sunday, March 29, and will remain open but
unstaffed March 30 through April 5. Beginning April 6, inner tubing runs
will no longer be available as equipment will be redirected to other areas
of the park to assist in spring opening.< /p>

The ranger-led snow shoe walks will also end on Sunday, March 29.< /p>

The new Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center will be open weekends only
until May 4, when it will begin 7-day-a-week operations.< /p>

PROJECTED OPENING DATES FOR PARK ROADS, CAMPGROUNDS, AND OTHER FACILITIES
FOR 2009 ARE LISTED BELOW:< /p>

APRIL< /strong>< /td>< /tr>
State Route 410 /Cayuse Pass < /td> April 24 (tentative)< /td>< /tr> State Route 123 @ park boundary < /td> April 24 (tentative)< /td>< /tr> MAY< /strong>< /td>< /tr>
Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center (7 days /week) < /td> May 4< /td>< /tr> Paradise Inn < /td> May 15< /td>< /tr> White River Road to Campground parking lot < /td> May 20< /td>< /tr> State Route 410 /Chinook Pass < /td> May 22< /td>< /tr> Cougar Rock Campground & Picnic Area (noon) < /td> May 22< /td>< /tr> Wilderness Information Center – Longmire < /td> May 22< /td>< /tr> Ohanapecosh Campground (noon) < /td> May 22< /td>< /tr> Paradise Valley Road < /td> May 22< /td>< /tr> Ohanapecosh Visitor Center < /td> May 23< /td>< /tr> JUNE< /strong>< /td>< /tr>
Paradise Picnic Area < /td> June 19< /td>< /tr> White River Campground (noon) < /td> June 26< /td>< /tr> Sunrise Road < /td> June 26< /td>< /tr> JULY< /strong>< /td>< /tr>
Mowich Lake Road < /td> July 3< /td>< /tr> Sunrise Lodge < /td> July 3< /td>< /tr> Sunrise Visitor Center < /td> July 3< /td>< /tr>
< /table>(NOTE: These dates are projected based on current conditions and
schedules, but are subject to change.)< /p>

PLAN FOR SPRING ROAD REPAIR DELAYS< /p>

Severe conditions this winter damaged the road to Paradise. The road damage
occurred on Glacier Hill, which is susceptible to avalanches and snow and
rock slides, has very narrow shoulders, and is on a steep grade.< /p>

If you are traveling between Longmire and Paradise this spring expect up to
20 minute traffic delays along approximately 0.1 miles of roadway. Delays
are expected to be minimal until construction repairs begin. Repair work
will start when weather and snow conditions permit.< /p>

For up-to-date information and conditions, visit the park’s web page
www.nps.gov /mora< /a> or call 360-569-2211 for recorded information.< /p>

Businesses in the gateway communities surrounding the park are open daily
to accommodate park visitors. Information on these businesses is available
on the internet at visitrainier.com, www.mt-rainier.com,
www.destinationpackwood.com or www.minerallake.com. < /p>

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