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Mount Rainier, Olympic national parks only partially open during government shutdown

A lone worker tries to keep up with the snow in front of the National Park Inn in Longmire at Mount Rainier National Park in 2014.
A lone worker tries to keep up with the snow in front of the National Park Inn in Longmire at Mount Rainier National Park in 2014. Staff Photographer/File

You can’t get to Paradise this weekend.

The federal government began a partial shutdown early Saturday and it’s affecting Mount Rainier National Park.

The park’s road between the Nisqually entrance and Longmire remains open along with trails and the National Park Inn at Longmire.

The road between Longmire and Paradise is closed to both vehicles and recreational use, the park said.

And don’t bother looking for staff. Public information, trash collection and maintenance personnel are all sidelined. Ranger-led walks and programs are canceled. Restrooms are shuttered.

Emergency and rescue services are limited, according to what might be the last news release from the park until the shutdown is over.

Some concessionaires might be open including lodging and restaurants. The park said to check with them before making plans.

“Reservations should be confirmed by contacting the National Park Inn,” the park said.

Updates and current conditions will probably not be posted on social media and websites, the park said.

Olympic National Park’s status is very similar.

Due to recent storm damage and high winds across the Olympic Peninsula, many park roads and campgrounds were closed to vehicles and will now remain closed during the shutdown. Emergency and rescue services will be limited.

There will be no park service-provided visitor services at Olympic National Park. The Hurricane Ridge area, including the Ski, Snowboard, & Tubing area operation, will remain closed during the shutdown.

However, Kalaloch Lodge and Lake Crescent Lodge will remain open.

Because of the federal government shutdown, NPS social media and websites are not being monitored or updated and may not reflect current conditions. All park programs have been canceled, including guided snowshoe walks at Hurricane Ridge.

The NPS will not be providing services for NPS-operated campgrounds, including maintenance, janitorial, and restrooms. However, visitors in NPS-operated campgrounds will not be asked to leave unless safety concerns require such action. Kalaloch campground is currently the only park campground with vehicle access.

Some park areas, including Staircase, Lake Crescent, Kalaloch, and Ozette are currently accessible by vehicle, however, access may change without notice.

The Queets and the Hoh Rain Forest areas remain closed to vehicle access due to recent storm damage and downed trees. Vehicle access in the Quinault Rain Forest is also limited due to recent storm damage and downed trees.

The Quinault Graves Creek Road and North Fork Road are closed. Vehicle access to Rialto Beach remains closed since last Thursday’s storm surge. Hurricane Ridge Road will remain closed to vehicles until the lapse of appropriations is resolved.

Deer Park Road and Sol Duc Road are closed to vehicles for the winter season. The Elwha Olympic Hot Springs Road remains closed to vehicle access due to flood damage.

The most recent status of park roads and campgrounds is available at www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/conditions.htm.

For Department of the Interior updates on the shutdown, visit www.doi.gov/shutdown.

Craig Sailor has worked for The News Tribune for 20 years as a reporter, editor and photographer. He previously worked at The Olympian and at other newspapers in Nevada and California.

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