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Free entry to Mount Rainier, Paradise snowplay area will be open this weekend

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on Jan. 13, 2012 at 11:42 am |
January 15, 2012 8:01 pm

UPDATE: The road above Longmire is expected to be closed again Monday as searchers look for a missing snowshoer.

The snowplay area at Paradise will be open this weekend, Mount Rainier National Park announced earlier today.

While the area will be open, there will be limited runs until Paradise receives some additional snow. There is currently 72 inches on the ground. The National Weather Service forecast for Paradise calls for 4-8 inches of new snow Saturday, 2-5 inches Sunday and 2-4 inches on Monday.

The area has been closed since the Jan. 1 shooting death of law enforcement ranger Margaret Anderson.

If that’s not enough incentive to visit the park, Mount Rainier will not charge admission fees for the holiday weekend. The park, as well all other National Park Service units, will waive the $15 entrance fee Saturday-Monday.

In addition to the play area and skiing, ranger-led snowshoe walks will be offered daily during the weekend. Walks start at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. and cover approximately 1.5 miles in 2 hours. Walks are limited to 25 people, 8 years old or older, on a first-come, first-served basis. A sign-up sheet is available at the Jackson
Visitor Center information desk one hour before each walk. All snowshoe
walk participants must be present at sign-up.

Snowshoes are provided by the park only for those attending the guided walks, and
only for the duration of the walk. A donation of $4 per person is asked to help defray the cost of snowshoe maintenance.

Rental snowshoes are available at the Longmire General Store or the Jackson Visitor Center.

All vehicles are required to carry tire chains when traveling in the park during the winter (Nov. 1 – May 1). This applies to all vehicles (including four-wheel and all-wheel drive), regardless of tire type or weather conditions.

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