Even as the snow continues to pile up at Paradise, the snowplay area will close and guided snowshoe walks will end Sunday.
With the forecast calling for more than a foot of new snow through the weekend, on top of snowpack measuring 183 inches deep Thursday morning, conditions should be good for playing at Mount Rainier National Park.
But maintaining the runs and having rangers lead the snowshoe walks will end so staff can turn their attention to opening other park roads and facilities for the spring, said Park Superintendent Randy King.
Also, as the calendar turns to April, King said the park sees a noticeable decline in winter recreationists visiting the park.
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“For all but the most dedicated winter enthusiasts, there’s a tapering of visitor interest in snow in April when warmer and greener options are available outside,” King said.
183 Number of inches of snow on the ground at Paradise as of Thursday morning.
A much better winter, in terms of snowfall, has attracted lots more visitors this winter, compared with last year when the lack of snow kept the snowplay area closed all season. The number of recreation visits through February was 61,441, up 30.2 percent from the first two months of 2015.
The final snowshoe walks will be offered at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., leaving from the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center. Sign-ups begin 1 hour before the walk at the information desk.
Drivers are reminded they must have snow chains in their vehicle when traveling in the park during the winter.
Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640