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Olympic NP announces winter schedule

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on Oct. 27, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
October 27, 2008 2:35 pm

This just in from Olympic National Park:


Winter Schedule Set for Hurricane Ridge 2008 – 2009; Tire Chain Requirement to Take Effect November 21


Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge winter schedule has been announced for the 2008– 2009 season.


"I’m eager to experience my first winter in Olympic National Park and look forward to a safe visitor season at Hurricane Ridge," said Karen Gustin, Olympic National Park Superintendent. "Although it’s close to town, Hurricane Ridge is at the top of a mountain and nearly a mile above sea level – planning and preparation for winter conditions are always vitally important."



Details about the Hurricane Ridge winter season are provided below.


New Tire Chain Requirement

To improve public safety, all vehicles will be required to carry chains when traveling above the Heart O’the Hills entrance station on the Hurricane Ridge Road between November 21, 2008 and May 1, 2009.


This requirement applies to all vehicles (including 4-wheel drive), regardless of tire type, and applies to all road and weather conditions.

Additional requirements, such as traction tires or chains on vehicles may also be enacted when conditions warrant. Drivers must comply with posted traction requirements.


"Having a set of chains in every vehicle that travels to Hurricane Ridge will provide a greater margin of safety when sudden storms arrive or road conditions worsen during the day," said Superintendent Gustin. "In fact, this requirement may give us greater flexibility in keeping the road open during times when conditions are marginal."


This regulation is included within the Olympic National Park 2008-09 Superintendent’s Compendium, which may be reviewed under "Management" at the Olympic National Park website, http://www.nps.gov/olym.


Hurricane Ridge Road

Barring heavy snows or winter storms, the Hurricane Ridge Road is scheduled to be open 9 a.m. to dusk, Friday through Sunday, November 21, 2008 through March 29, 2009. The road will be closed Monday through Thursday during the winter season, except for Monday holidays and an extended period during the Christmas-New Year’s holiday.


During the holiday period, the road is scheduled to be open daily from Friday, December 19, 2008 through Sunday, January 4, 2009, except for Thursday, December 25.


The road is also scheduled to be open on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Monday, January 19) and Presidents Day (Monday, February 16).


Winter conditions such as storms, drifting snow, or avalanche danger may

delay or prohibit the road from opening or may force an early closure.

Human safety is the most important consideration.


The Hurricane Ridge Road may also close temporarily if the parking lot becomes completely full. All vehicles must park within the Hurricane Ridge parking lot; roadside parking is only permitted at the Sunrise Snowplay Area.


To make best use of the available parking spaces, park staff urges Hurricane Ridge visitors to carpool whenever possible and pay extra attention to making the best use of parking spaces.


"Ride-sharing and carpooling will conserve the limited parking spaces at Hurricane Ridge and we ask all our visitors to help in this effort," said Superintendent Gustin.


Recorded information about Hurricane Ridge Road and weather conditions is available 24 hours a day at (360) 565-3131 or 530 AM in Port Angeles.


Entrance fees are collected at the Heart O’the Hills entrance station whenever the road is open. Olympic’s seven-day entrance pass, which allows a private vehicle to enter any of the park’s roadways, costs $15. The Olympic National Park Annual Pass, good for one year after the purchase date, costs $30.


Olympic National Park Visitor Center

The Olympic National Park Visitor Center, at the base of Hurricane Ridge

Road, is open daily throughout the winter from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The

Visitor Center will be closed on Thursday, November 27 (Thanksgiving Day) and Thursday December 25 (Christmas Day.)


Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and Ski Shop The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will be open with restrooms and a warm seating area whenever the road is open. Beginning on Saturday, December 27, the information desk will be staffed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through March 29. The desk will be staffed on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 19) and Presidents Day (February 16) as well.


The snack bar and ski shop, with ski and snowshoe rentals will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from December 13 through March 29; along with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Monday, January 19) and Presidents Day (Monday, February 16) and during the holiday period from Friday, December 26 through Sunday, January 4.


Snowshoe Walks

Snowshoe walks for individuals and families will be offered at 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and Monday holidays, beginning on Saturday, December 27 through March 29. Snowshoe walks will also be offered at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, December 26, Thursday, January 1 and Friday, January 2, 2009. The walks last 90 minutes and are less than one mile in length. Space on walks is limited, so people should register at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center information desk 30 minutes before the scheduled walk.


A $5 donation from each snowshoe walk participant helps the park provide snowshoe walks and repair and replace snowshoes.


Organized groups such as youth or school groups must make advance reservations for snowshoe walks. Group walks are scheduled for 10:30 a.m.

on Saturdays and Sundays and last 90 minutes. Space is limited, so groups should call Olympic National Park at (360) 565-3136 for reservations and more information.


Tubing and Sliding

Because of the potential for serious injury, tubing and sliding are only permitted at two designated areas. Each area will be managed and monitored for safe use. The Sunrise Family Snowplay Area is located about one mile north of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and is managed for use by children and families. The Small Children’s Snowplay Area at Hurricane Ridge is designated and managed for children eight years of age and younger. If at any time during the winter season, conditions become too dangerous for sliding or if adequate staffing is unavailable, one or both of the tubing areas will be closed to all use.


Downhill Skiing

Weather permitting, the downhill ski tows will operate from 10 a.m. to 4

p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from December 13 through March 29. The ski

tows will also be open Friday, December 26, Friday, January 2 and the Monday holidays of January 19, (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) and February

16 (Presidents Day). For more information about downhill skiing at Hurricane Ridge, people may call 360-457-2879 or visit www.hurricaneridge.com on the web.


Overnight Wilderness Camping

Overnight camping is permitted in the Hurricane Ridge area on Friday and Saturday nights, and on Sunday nights before a Monday holiday. Winter camps must be at least one mile from the Hurricane Ridge parking area.

Overnight parking is not permitted at Hurricane Ridge; parking and shuttle options are explained at the time of registration.


Anyone planning a winter camping trip on Hurricane Ridge must first register at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center to obtain a wilderness camping permit and must also check in and out with a ranger at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center.


Avalanche Information

Up-to-date information about weather and avalanche risk is available from the Northwest Avalanche Center on the web at www.nwac.noaa.gov/ or by calling 206-526-6677. Anyone planning to venture beyond the maintained downhill ski area or the immediate Hurricane Ridge area should always check with the Northwest Avalanche Center or a ranger for current weather and snow conditions.


Hurricane Ridge Webcam and Weather Station Hurricane Ridge weather conditions are available online at the park’s website at www.nps.gov/olym and clicking first on "Photos & Multimedia" and then on "Webcams". The webcam image is updated every 15 minutes (although severe weather can cause webcam outages); weather station information is provided hourly.


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