PORT ANGELES — Olympic National Park officials hope to re-open the Hurricane Ridge sometime this summer but the number of vehicles will be limited and the road may be closed some days for debris removal.
No firm date or timeline has been established, said park spokesman Amos Almy on Thursday afternoon.
“Not yet, no. There’s a few details we need to work out before we can give a date. We just wanted to give an update on where we are at,” he said.
Hurricane Ridge has been closed since a May 7 fire destroyed the 70-year-old Hurricane Ridge Day Lodge, which had been undergoing a renovation project. After a ranger found it engulfed in flames, firefighters arrived to see that the building had collapsed onto its foundations.
The cause of the blaze has not been determined, park officials said.
The fire destroyed not only the building itself but also the power, water and communications infrastructure. It also left behind a large amount of hazardous debris. The fire’s cause remains under investigation.
Almy said establishing a firm reopening date requires getting portable restrooms delivered, establishing 24-hour security and developing a system to manage the parking given that the available parking area has been reduced.
“We most likely will have fewer parking spaces with the burn site fenced off. We also will have limited visitor capacity because of the need to use portable toilets,” he said.
Park officials had said earlier that the building site would have a restroom building instead of portable toilets. But Almy said all the utility infrastructure is within the closed-off burn area and unable to be used. So park officials narrowed down multiple options to portable toilets as the best option, he said.
When they get the logistics figured out, interpretative rangers will be available and other rangers will patrol through on occasion, Almy said.
The Hurricane Ridge area will be open with access to the trails, including Hurricane Hill trail, but there will be no indoor spaces or drinking water, he said.
The burn site is fenced. Two trailers that were part of the renovation project are up and it is unclear when they will be removed, Almy said.
Park Superintendent Sula Jacobs said in a press release that investigators are at the site looking into the cause of the fire. Park officials also are working with Clallam Transit to continue offering shuttle service once the area is safe to re-open.
We ask that visitors keep an eye on our website for any alerts,” she said.
Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.