CELEBRATE NATIONAL PARK WEEK – Come Visit Mount Rainier for Free! DATE: 4/18/12 For Immediate Release-_-_ Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King advises that April 21 – 29 is designated as National Park Week across the nation. In celebration of this week, the Secretary of the Interior has announced that admission to all National Parks will be free during that time. The theme for the week is Picture Yourself in a National Park , so bring your cameras and make photo memories of your visit to Mount Rainier with over 17 feet of snow on the ground at Paradise. About 10 inches is on the ground at Longmire. The snow play (sledding) area at Paradise has closed for the season and the ranger-led snow shoe walks have concluded. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are still very popular activities during the Spring season. Check with Rangers for current weather and avalanche conditions before heading out on your trip. While many of the areas and roads at Mount Rainier still remain under winter snows, the southwest area of the park (State Route 706), including Longmire and Paradise is open. The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise will be open daily during this period, offering visitor information, food service and gift shop. A special Junior Ranger program will be given on Saturday, April 21 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the visitor center. The National Park Inn at Longmire is open year round providing overnight accommodations, dining and a gift shop – a great place for a getaway in early Spring. The Carbon River area is currently snow free and provides a great opportunity for hikers and bicyclists. The road from Longmire to Paradise is closed nightly at Longmire and reopens each day after the roads have been plowed and maintained. If unusually heavy snowfall occurs or other conditions are present making the road unsafe, it may be closed to the public at any time. Through April 30 park visitors must carry tire chains in their vehicles when traveling on park roads as Spring weather in the mountains is very unpredictable and sudden snow storms may necessitate chains for safe travel. Local businesses in the gateway communities surrounding the park are also open and ready for the beginning of the 2012 visitor season. For more information visit these websites: visitrainier.com, www.mt-rainier.com, www.staycrystal.com, www.destinationpackwood.com, www.minerallake.com, or www.mtrainierguestservices.com The Skate Creek Road (Forest Service Road 52) which travels along the park’s southeastern boundary east of Ashford to Packwood is expected to open to the public on Friday, April 27. You can connect to Mount Rainier National Park through our social media pages. 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 you own photos of Mount Rainier with other visitors in the Mount Rainier Flickr group. Links used: -_ http: / /facebook.com /MountRainierNPS< /a>-_ http: / /twitter.com /MountRainierNPS< /a>-_ http: / /youtube.com /MountRainierNPS< /a>-_ http: / /flickr.com /groups /MountRainierNPS< /a> For recorded park information on roads and current conditions call 360-569-2211 and follow the menu. Road and weather conditions are updated as conditions change. Information is also available on the Mount Rainier web page – www.nps.gov /mora. Web cams showing current conditions at Paradise can be accessed from the web page – scroll down to Paradise web cameras.