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Heavy snow stalls Crater Lake road opening efforts

David Smigelski/Mail Tribune Heavy snow at Crater Lake National Park this week has put the brakes on snow-clearing efforts, leaving roads buried.

Heavy spring snows have stalled road opening efforts at Crater Lake National Park.

Marsha McCabe, the park’s information officer, said that as of Thursday the park had been blasted with six feet of new snow since Monday morning, including 12 inches in the 24-hour period that ended 7 a.m. Thursday.

On Thursday morning, the on-ground snow total at park headquarters was 87 inches, while the total snowfall for the winter season, which began Oct. 1, was 371 inches, or 85% of average.

Snow removal efforts, which had cleared West Rim Drive to the North Junction and along the North Junction Road, have stalled with the heavy snowfall. The heavy snow has resulted in closing the road from park headquarters in Munson Village to Rim Village. The road closure has also prevented Crater Lake Hospitality from operating its Rim Village concession facilities.

“Now that we are getting a break in the weather, the road crew is beginning to work on opening up the road to Rim Village,” McCabe said Thursday afternoon. “It may take a while before we are able to open it to the public. The road crew will need to make sure the developed areas are open before they resume work on spring opening.”

As one park employee quipped, the heavy snow has made it difficult to move around the headquarters area, including the parking lot. Because of deep snow, employee and park vehicles are often buried and hidden under mounds of snow. Searching for snow-buried vehicles, the employee said, is laughingly referred to “Crater Lake archaeology.”

For updated information on Crater Lake road conditions, call the visitor center office at 541-594-3000 or visit the park website at www.nps.gov/crla.