Park crews push to open Sunrise area by Friday

Staff reportJune 22, 2014 

Assuming there is no major snowstorm before then, the road to Sunrise is slated to open Friday.

Just don’t expect a lot of amenities for the first week or so.

The Sunrise area is located at 6,400 feet elevation and is off the power grid.

The park’s road crew has been working since May 27 to remove snow, rock and other material from Sunrise Road. They reached the Sunrise parking lot last week.

The next phase of reopening the area was re-install signs along the road and checking the facilities for damage done during the winter.

Park managers said it take crews two weeks to dig out, test and activate the power, water and septic systems, and prepare buildings for summer use. That should be done by Friday, as long as the weather cooperates and no major damage is discovered.

Full visitor services, including the Sunrise Day Lodge and Sunrise Visitor Center, are expected to be open and staffed by July 4. Visitors should be prepared, however, for snow on the ground that typically persists into July.

Superintendent Randy King explained that before an area can be opened, a number of criteria need to be met:

 • No safety conflicts with snow removal or opening operations.

 • A clear road and shoulders, parking available.

 • Regulatory road signs in place.

 • Functioning toilets and accessible trash cans.

 • Staff presence in the area, including emergency response capability.

Westside Road: The road is open again, although there is a temporary parking area.

The road was closed May 16 after a large rockfall damaged the parking area, including a parked pickup truck.

A temporary barricade is in place until the parking area is permanently relocated to better protect visitors from rockfall.

Ohanapecosh Visitor Center: Closed last season by budget cuts, the center will open for the season Saturday.

King said budget limitations mean the center will not operate on a full schedule. On Saturday and June 29, the center will be open from noon-4 p.m. From July 2- Aug. 3, the center will be open Wednesdays through Sundays from noon-4 p.m.

Morning Junior Ranger programs will take place Wednesdays through Sundays. Evening campground programs will be offered Wednesdays through Saturdays.

From Aug. 7-Sept. 7 the center will be open Thursdays through Sundays from noon-4 p.m. Morning Junior Ranger programs will be held Fridays and Saturdays. Evening Junior Ranger programs will be on Sundays and Thursdays. Evening campground programs will be presented Thursdays through Saturdays.

Additional programs for children and families will be offered at various times. Check at the center desk for details.

Mowich Lake: That area of the park still has several feet of snow on the ground, including the last 2 miles of roadway. Park staffers hope to have it opened by early July.

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