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Crater Lake rim road open, but not for cars

It’s already May and nice outside, finally. Makes me wonder what’s open at Crater Lake National Park and what can I do at Oregon’s only national park.

— John, Medford

Despite this year being a relatively light snow year, the National Park Service crews at Crater Lake National Park are still in the process of digging out the snow to make room for its regular compliment of visitors.

“The spring opening process takes a couple months to get everything done,” park spokeswoman Marsha McCabe said.

To date, the south entrance of Highway 62 is open and visitors can drive to the rim, McCabe says. Recently the one-mile road to Discovery Point has been plowed for vehicle access.

As of Friday, another roughly 3.3 miles of road there has been plowed but not open to vehicle access, McCabe says. That opens up some interesting spring recreational options, she says.

“People can hike that section of plowed road or ride their bikes,” McCabe says. “It’s kind of a fun thing to do. There’s usually big walls of snow around you.”

Visitors, however, need to steer clear of snow-removal equipment, McCabe says.

A new park service report shows the park’s almost 712,000 visitors in 2017 spent nearly $60 million in communities within 60 aerial miles of park boundaries, and that includes Medford.

About a third of that money was spent on lodging and camping, followed by food (27.5 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (10.1 percent), according to the report.

Park entrance fees accounted for 10 percent of overall spending by park-goers, according to the study.

That report also suggests that spending supported 981 jobs in the local area, benefiting the local economy.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.